I am always surprised by how many of you actively worship or ask after Haides; while Persephone features in my daily prayers, I would never dream to add Haides to those. That said, I enjoy the myth of Persephone joining the Underworld court, and seeing as no less than three of you asked after it, I think it's time to dig deeper into the myth of Haides' abduction of Persephone; as Jasmina wrote me:

"The Hades and Persephone myth (because there's a lot of people saying a lot of different things, like Persephone plucked a particular flower, which opened up a hole to the Underworld, and others say that Hades came to the surface and took Persephone with him to the Underworld..)"

It's not surprising that over the years, the myth of Persephone's abduction became one of the most embellished of all the Hellenic myths; it's a timeless tragic love story, and as a Netflix visit can confirm, we love those. The ancient Hellenic sources are a lot less eloquent about the myth and that is most likely the reason for the modern day confusion Jasmina hinted at: there was enough room for interpretation, and so the myth was interpreted again and again. The oldest source is most likely the Homeric Hymn to Demeter which reads:

"Apart from Demeter, lady of the golden sword and glorious fruits, she was playing with the deep-bosomed daughters of Oceanus and gathering flowers over a soft meadow, roses and crocuses and beautiful violets, irises also and hyacinths and the narcissus, which Earth made to grow at the will of Zeus and to please the Host of Many [Haides], to be a snare for the bloom-like girl -- a marvellous, radiant flower. It was a thing of awe whether for deathless gods or mortal men to see: from its root grew a hundred blooms and is smelled most sweetly, so that all wide heaven above and the whole earth and the sea's salt swell laughed for joy. And the girl was amazed and reached out with both hands to take the lovely toy; but the wide-pathed earth yawned there in the plain of Nysa, and the lord, Host of Many, with his immortal horses sprang out upon her -- the Son of Cronos [Haides], He who has many names. He caught her up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. Then she cried out shrilly with her voice, calling upon her father, the Son of Cronos, who is most high and excellent. But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice." [4-21]

The other instance Jasmina mentions, where Haides came to the surface to collect Persephone Himself is actually not in Hellenic kythology, but it would not surprise me is it came from the Orphic tradition. In the Orphic Hymn to Plouton [Haides], Haides is described as coming up to the surface with Persephone so He can hold her captive in a cave near Eleusis:

"And in dread Acheron [Haides], whose depths obscure, earth's stable roots eternally secure. O mighty dæmon, whose decision dread, the future fate determines of the dead, with captive Proserpine [Persephone], thro' grassy plains, drawn in a four-yok'd car with loosen'd reins, rapt o'er the deep, impell'd by love, you flew 'till Eleusina's city rose to view; there, in a wond'rous cave obscure and deep, the sacred maid secure from search you keep, the cave of Atthis, whose wide gates display an entrance to the kingdoms void of day." [17]

So now we come to something that is often misinterpreted: the words 'rape' and 'abduction'. I have already written a long post about these subjects, which can be found here. Time to de-romanticize the ancient Hellenes a little. We tend to equate 'rape' with the absence of love and mutual consent, but in ancient Hellas, marriage itself was an agreement between men about a woman. Rape in ancient Hellas was therefor not tied to the approval of the woman--any sexual act on her part was performed without love and consent anyway, or at least without care for her consent--but to the approval of the men surrounding her. In my opinion, the question of rape lies in the outcome of the mythological sexual act: does the sexual act lead to marriage or not? In cases where it does, the sexual act is not so much rape as we understand it, but an illustration of the start of a marriage. This certainly holds true in the myth of Haides and Persephone. To illustrate this view, I would like to quote Roman mythographer Apollodorus from his 'Library' as he puts into words what many other writers hint at or say far more flowery:

"Pluto [Haides] fell in love with Persephone and with the help of Zeus carried her off secretly." [1.5.1]

Here we see a perfect illustration of a marriage arrangement: Zeus and Plouton decided upon the fate of Zeus' daughter Persephone. In a twist that most Hellenic women would most likely not have been able to achieve however, Demeter fought against the marriage agreement and managed to wrangle a situation where Persephone could come up to the surface at least part of the year. I feel--but UPG/personal interpretation alert here--that this part of the myth served as a reminder for ancient Hellenic men (and women) that a woman was always partially part of her family-by-blood, and that when a man took a wife, he got her family with her in a package deal. This included tending to ailing parents and probably supporting them financially if the need arose.

The myth of Persephone and Haides is an important myth about family, marriage, and the ethical and practical responsibilities that came with both. The details of Her abduction matter, but not as much as the lessons attached to it.