Facts About Demeter The Greek Goddess

 Demeter is Goddess of the harvest and is most notably linked to the growing, preserving and harvesting of grain. 

As the grain Goddess she also became the patron Goddess of millers and bakers.

She not only represented the fertility of the land but as a Mother Goddess she was worshipped by woman hoping to have a child.

Demeter was also known as a mare Goddess hid among the horses to escape the attentions of the God Poseidon. He caught her by disguising himself as a horse. Afterwards she gave birth an immortal horse named Arion. 

The God of the underworld kidnapped her daughter, and Demeter searched everywhere for her, taking on the form as a mortal old woman. She was given shelter by the king of Eleusis and repaid the favour by teaching his son the secrets of agriculture.

Her struggle to save her daughter, Persephone from the underworld led to the creation of the seasons.

This was because when Persephone was allowed to join her mother, this Deities influence encouraged the crops grow and Spring arrived.

When her daughter returned to Hades, Demeter fell into a deep depression, the plants stopped growing and Winter returned.

Birth and Genealogy Daughter of Cronus and the earth Goddess Rhea and mother of Persephone. This Goddess had five siblings all of whom played important roles in Greek mythology, they included: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, and Hera.

Strengths: Loving mother, persistence and empathic.

Weaknesses: Depression, lived her life through her daughter.


As Goddess of the harvest she is usually shown with a cornucopia or sheaves of wheat.

She often carried a torch to guide her in the search for her daughter. 

Sacred Animals: Pigs and Horses. Snakes were also symbols of this Goddess as her chariot was pulled by two winged serpents they are also symbols of feminine wisdom.

Sacred Birds: The screech owl.

Sacred Plants: In addition to the grains wheat and barley the penny royal (a type of mint) and the poppy were sacred to this Goddess. The mint was part of a drink consumed at her temple in Eleusis where her priestesses wore poppies as her emblem.

The chaste tree, frankincense, myrrh and sunflowers are also linked to this Goddess.

Demeter's Temple and Festivals

Her temple was founded at Eleusis where according to Greek Mythology she stopped to rest in her hunt for Persephone.

The teachings of her cult are known as the Eleusinian mysteries, they celebrated the cycles of death and rebirth.

Sacred rites were held at Eleusis in March and September to coincide with the sowing and the harvesting of the grain.

Roman equivalent: Ceres

Demeter's Archetypes

The Mother

The Mother Archetype is a life-giver and the source of nurturing, devotion, patience and unconditional love. The ability to forgive and provide for her children and put them before herself is the essence of a good mother.

In its shadow aspect the Mother can be devouring, abusive and abandoning. The shadow Mother can also make her children feel guilty about becoming independent and leaving her.

Demeter is a very devoted mother who deeply loves Persephone, falling into a deep depression, when her daughter is taken from her. 

She is additionally an Earth Goddess, bringing fertility to the plant kingdom and land each spring. It is this role as "mother earth" that she abandons when she goes off to search for her daughter. She is unable to fulfill to perform this function every time Persephone has to return to her husband in the underworld.

The Rescuer

The Rescuer provides strength and support to others during a crisis or perhaps frequent assistance in daily living. They act out of love, providing service to others with no expectation of a reward.

The shadow Rescuer expects the rescued party to be grateful and will often try to keep that person needy.

Demeter is distraught when Persephone goes missing and does not rest until she has found her. She is angry as she is unable to save her daughter and is forced to compromise her own needs as a mother.

Please follow this link to the Archetypes page to discover which other Goddess Archetypes resonate with you.

How To Work With These Archetypes

The Mother

It is not necessary to be a biological mother to have this Archetype. It can refer to anyone who has a lifelong pattern of nurturing and devotion to living things.

You are exhibiting the features of the shadow Mother if you smother your children and are over protective.

Encourage independence and allow children to make mistakes but be available to give care and advice when it's needed.

The other shadow Mother is the one that abandons her children, or is so busy that she has no time for nurturing her young.


The Rescuer is one of your Archetypes if you are always trying to save and help people.

What you need to ask yourself is what motivates you to act this way? Are you expecting a reward for your trouble or do you love helping others?

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