Ancient Greek Religion
The Eleusinian Mysteries: Demeter and her daughter Persephone
Homeric Hymn to Demeter, 7th century BC, Ancient Greece.
Hades secretly gave Persephone a pomegranate seed to eat before Hermes could bring her to the surface, forcing her perpetual return.
The Greek god Zeus, anxious that humankind might be wiped out because Demeter was preventing the seedcorn from sprouting, sent Hermes down to the Underworld to rescue Demeter's daughter Persephone. But Hades secretly gave Persephone a pomegranate seed to eat before Hermes could bring her to the surface, ensuring her perpetual return to the underworld every year.
Hermes brought back Persephone and returned her to the surface of the Earth, then took her directly to the temple of Demeter at Eleusis. Mother and daughter ran joyfully into each other's arms. But then Demeter suddenly stopped hugging her daughter and asked anxiously:
My child, tell me, surely you have not tasted any food while you were below? Speak out and hide nothing, but let us both know. For if you have not, you shall come back from loathly Hades and live with me and your father, the dark clouded son of Chronos and be honoured by all the deathless gods; but if you have tasted food, you must go back again beneath the secret places of the earth, there to dwell a third part of the seasons every year, yet for the two parts you shall be with me... from the realm of darkness and gloom thou shalt come up once more...