Monday, June 27, 2011

Archetypal relationships: Persephone & Hades

This is a grown-up blog. I will be dealing with grown-up material in this post (this is the Underworld we're dealing with, after all). The following contains some possibly uncomfortable content - be sure you actually want to continue before going any further.

You've been warned.



Hades ruled the underworld, the realm of the dead. He was wealthy beyond counting, but was a recluse. Hades wore a cap of invisibility when he left the underworld. The Romans knew Hades as Pluto.

Emotional Control Systems

Hades symbolizes the psychic pain of sorrow, grief, and loneliness - and the psychological insights this can lead us to.


A dysfunctional Hades man may make people connect to deep feelings, but not help them move to higher states of consciousness.

Sex and Marriage

Hades servants can be invisible to women. A Hades man may not be good at flirting or dating. He may have elaborate, deep fantasies rather than relationships with real women. If he tries to make a relationship real, the woman may accuse him of abduction - perhaps only because he lacks social skills.

Hades men can deeply love women, in committed, faithful relationships. Marriage can draw a Hades man out of reclusion, and into participation in family and community.



Persephone was the young daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She was picking flowers one day on the plain of Enna. She pulled an especially beautiful narcissus, the earth split open. Hades, ruler of the dead, came out of a gap in the earth and thundered up in his golden chariot pulled by four black horses. He grabbed the screaming girl and carried her down to the underworld. When this happened only Zeus and Helios, the sun god, saw it.

As Demeter searched for her daughter, her despair caused crops to die. Helios told her what he had saw and Demter became furious. She would not let anything be fertile until Persphone came back. Zeus could no longer let this go on so he sent Hermes to fetch Persephone.

Hades allowed Persephone to go back to her mother, even though he did not want her too, so before Hermes came to fetch her, he gave Persephone a pomegranate. When she ate the seeds of the delicious fruit she was then bound to the underworld forever. Demter was furious but could do nothing about it. Persephone from then on spent 1/3 of the year in the Underworld with the King and her cold blooded husband, Hades. Eventually she began to love him more and more. Demeter still did not like this so she spent the time that her daughter was gone, sulking and would not let anything be fertile. This time is known as winter.

As Queen and Goddess of the Underworld, Persephone guided mortals who descended to the realm of the dead on a quest. When the musician Orpheus came looking for his dead wife, his song was so beautiful that Persephone granted his wish and restored his wife's life. When Aphrodite sent Psyche to the underworld for cosmetics, Persephone filled Aphrodite's box (the word psychology derives from Psyche's name). When Heracles (a.k.a. Hercules) descended to Hades for his 12th labor, Persephone helped the hero bring Hades' three-headed dog Cerberus to show the king of Mycenae.

The Romans called her Proserpina. Persephone as the innocent maiden was Kore (the Romans called her Cora), to distinguish her from Persephone as Queen of the Underworld.

Emotional Control System

Persephone symbolizes separation distress, from one's mother or, more broadly, from one's old life to a new life. Separation distress is the basis of anxiety and panic attacks.

Life Purpose

A Persephone woman's life purpose is to separate from her past, and transform into a new person. She then guides other individuals through personal transformations. Ideal professions include counselor, psychologist, lawyer, or social worker.

A Persephone psychologist sees depression and mental illness not as symptoms to be medicated or eradicated, but as profound journeys. The sojourner goes through pain and suffering, but sooner or later reaches a greater level of consciousness. Just as Persephone guided Odysseus, Heracles, Psyche, and Orpheus in their journeys to the underworld, a Persephone psychologist guides a patient to find his life's treasure, and then return to the world of the living. Hades, which was the name of both the underworld and its king, had uncountable riches. This symbolized that personal growth can lead to great rewards.


A dysfunctional Persephone woman is passive, compliant and uncommitted to goals. She may escape into a fantasy world. She may be psychically gifted, but suffer from psychiatric illness or anorexia. Depression makes her "fade away" quietly, as opposed to forcing her depression onto others (as Demeter did.)

A Persephone woman tries to please her mother and be a "good girl." She expects teachers or supervisors to hold her hand through each step. But Persephone lied to her mother about the pomegranate. A Persephone woman will use deviousness, lying, and manipulation, while maintaining a guise of innocence.


An advice columnist received the following letter:

My friend is the most wonderful, caring, loving person I've ever met, but also the most naïve. I know from personal experience that she has an unusually large sexual appetite, little if any interest in foreplay, and cannot seem to reach orgasm, ever. I am sure that I'm not her only current partner, as much as she assures me I am. In the past, she has given herself away so many times, I can't count them. For all her goodness, I've seen her lie to other people so convincingly they wouldn't believe she was lying, even if you told them. My concern now is not me, but her....Even if I never touched her again, I really do care about her and would like to help her.

The Hades-Persephone Relationship

A Hades-Persephone marriage is transformational. A couple that successfully uses this energy guides each other through life-changing experiences. They separate (possibly painfully) from the past. They mature to higher stages of personal growth.

In a Hades-Persephone relationship, the Hades partner forces the Persephone partner to change. He loves her without loving her present or past self. He sees her emerging new life stage and loves her for that, but without projecting his own issues onto her.

He forces her to experience pain and suffering. He maintains a close, supportive relationship until she's through her painful transformation.

The Hades partner must do two, contradictory actions: 
  1. Care about his partner more than cares about himself.
  2. Not what he's told, but what must be done.

An example is that favorite movie theme: an individual putting himself in harm's way to help another individual, while at the same time rejecting orders from an authority figure. A hero takes decisive action, and takes responsibility for his action.

Caring about another person more than yourself is a feminine trait. Doing not what you're told but what you must is a masculine trait. Combined, the Hades partner uses masculine and feminine behaviors at the same time. He transcends gender roles. The relationship transforms him, as well as transforming his partner.

The wrong masculine response is to selfishly do what you want to do, ignoring what you're told, caring only about your own needs. The wrong feminine response is to do what another person requests, against the other person's best interests, or against your own best interests (i.e., self-sacrificing behavior).

A Hades-Persephone relationship demands deep, immediate commitment. Such a relationship takes place right here, right now. You're committing to the relationship until your partner reaches the next stage of her personal growth. This could be years, or could be hours. Don't be afraid to enter a Hades-Persephone relationship.

A Hades-Persephone relationship is a moral dilemma for the Hades partner. If he does what she tells him to do, he fails to care about her. If he does what must be done, he's acting against her will (and possibly against the law). Sexually, our culture associates Hades-Persephone relationships with BDSM (bondage, domination, sadomasochism). But BDSM is a stuck Hades-Persephone relationship. If your goal is personal growth and transformation, keep the relationship non-sexual. If a Hades man is having sex with a Persephone woman, he might focus on his needs instead of hers.

This is not always so. Please keep in mind that the very foundation of this relationship is sexuality. The expression of sexuality here is mutual, where both partners gain something that instigates the transformation of both of the souls involved. If done properly sexual expression can lead to deep spiritual and psychological transformation as well as emotional. It gives the Hades/Persephone archetype something to "chew" on so that both are rendered free from the "bond" that binded them in the first place. Things such as fear, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, are common here. Also, repressed sexuality based on any of these things can hinder a true Persephone from growing and becoming sexually ripe. With the right Hades she can move across the stifling dimensions of past lives, break down emotional barriers and find herself fully awakened by the process of being reborn.

The right Hades man will take pleasure in her submission, because it is a gift. Persephone is not weak by nature, she is seeking something greater than being the bringer of spring. She represents true change and deep psychological growth and requires restriction in order for it to be felt, integrated, sifted through and truly transformed. Letting go, allowing Hades to shape her, mold her, seduce her, and take her into realms beyond her wildest mind is what allows her to renew and thus see and accept herself as she truly is. Hades will love her the more she submits, releases, and integrates parts of herself she would not have found had she not surrendered. She comes out empowered, whole, powerful, and wields that power in her walk, her sexuality and her treatment of others. Hades feels stronger,capable and is allowed to push her limits, to find himself, to love himself and to find greater parts of himself that needs to dominate. Not to control her every being or to change who she is but to mold her, to assist in her birthing process as he releases her bondage, her chains her self misunderstandings. Hades role is just as powerful because he's the one who has to exercise self control and commitment, giving attention to detail in every facet of her life. Hades is an instrument of the mundane in life that requires order, attention and lessons to be executed. Sexually he is her slave as he finds her most deepest desires and seeks to transform her through experience them, and yes, this also includes her fears. This is no small order. It takes a man that is in control of himself, self mastery, his emotions, his vision, his desires. In everything he puts Persephone first. The true Hades man is not selfish - he will focus more on his Persephone's needs than his own.

With a Dionysus partner (e.g., a cult leader), a Persephone woman gets madness. With an Ares partner, she gets physical abuse. With a Poseidon partner, she gets emotional abuse. With Zeus, she gets cheated on. Hermes and Apollo talk with her endlessly (with and without jokes, respectively). With Hephaestus, she gets useful electronic gadgets. But with a Hades partner, a Persephone woman goes through pain and suffering with her partner's attention and support. She's transformed to a new stage of personal growth.

Artemis, Athena, and Hestia women don't need men. A Hera woman needs a husband, but he can be absent or even dead. A Demeter woman needs only a sperm donor. Aphrodite women enjoy men, but are happy with fun, shallow relationships.

Persephone women exasperate men, but they're the only women who need intimacy with men. A Persephone woman needs a strong, loving man to support her through painful but necessary transformation. Persephone women need a strong man who has self mastery, who can also be a natural dominant so that they both can transform. Any relationship in which the man man is "vanilla" or static in representation will die a needless death (disappointment or abandonment which is a recurring theme in Persephone's life) because he can't handle her energy, her spiritual goal or her sexuality. There are many men who act dominant but who are not true dominants.

Musings on the Persephone/Hades Relationship

I've finally figured out the reason Persephone is to dominant men. She's living out the myth. Duh!

Last night, while pulling together the Hades archetype page, I was obsesed with a Hades/Persephone image I found on the web. And afterwards I found my feelings towards sexuality and relationships changing from Persephone's typical masochistic attraction to the wrong kind of guys to something cleaner, but still very dark and passionate. Not pretty or romantic but powerful.

My few relationships had the exact weaknesses... and strengths... written in the Wikibooks description above; I tend to create incredible beautiful intimacy and union with my partners but can I never get enough from them. I always thought it was just that I was too needy, or I blamed my poor partner for not loving me enough, but it turns out that I was just with the wrong man. Men will often enjoy the merging and flooding intimacy of a Persephone woman but can't handle it for long. Probably a Hades is the only one who can.

While I long for this kind of relationship it also scares me. Which makes sense - it's a scary kind of relationship! But even beyond that, the vulnerability and openness required for this is terrifying to me... but at the same time what Persephone longs for.

Another Persephone/Hades relationship


  1. Thank you so much for sharing all this information, I appreciate it! :)

    1. Thanks! That's the purpose of this blog, so it's great to hear it's reaching people and doing good!

  2. Thank you so much for your posts. You don't have idea about how much Hades and Persephones there are in the world looking for each other and how your writings are useful for us.
    Thank you very much.

  3. I have the Perspehone archetype so an Hades man is just exactly what I need even tho right now I have´t met him yet but I know he is on the way. Thank you so much :)

    1. Hi Katherine, you're most welcome! I'm so glad this blog has been of help! :)


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