DIMÍTIR - ΔΗΜHΤΗΡ
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12.  Dimítir 

(Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ, ΔΗΜHΤΗΡ) [Roman: Ceres]

When enunciating the name Dimítir, the D (delta) is pronounced like the soft th in this, not like the hard th in theory

thee-MEE'-teer

, with the accent on the second syllable. Her name in the classical period as well as in modern Greek is spelled Dímitra (Demetra) (Gr. Δήμητρα), pronounced THEE'-mee-trah, with the accent on the first syllable.

The daughter of Krónos (Cronus; Gr. Κρόνος) and Rǽa (Rhea; Gr. Ῥέα) and one of the Twelve Olympian Gods, Dimítir is one of the most important deities of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, and is strongly connected with the foremost of the Mystery Cults. Dimítir is the sister of Æstía, Íra, Ploutohn, Poseidóhn, and Zefs. Dimítir is the mother of Pærsæphóni by Zefs; she is the mother of the horse Aríohn (Arion; Gr. Ἀρίων) and the Goddess Dǽspina (Despoena; Gr. Δέσποινα) by Poseidóhn.


Characteristics of Dimítir

Dimítir is the great Goddess of fertility and the fruitful Earth and she has given us agriculture and particularly the cultivation of grain. By doing so she has given us the ability to rise above the level of the beasts of the world.

Dimítir gives us awesome Mysteries which sweeten our lot in this life and bestow hope for good things after death.

Dimítir is one of several Goddesses who protects marriage.

Dimítir bestows peace and the laws which enable peace to flourish.

Dimítir may be worshipped with a gift of storax (use benzoin), as her Orphic hymn suggests. Fruit is another traditional offering to the Goddess. Cakes in the shape of pigs and cows and bulls may be offered to her as these animals were sacrificed to her in ancient times.


Rǽa, Zefs, Dimítir, and Pærsæphóni

As told in the Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony, when Rǽa gave birth to Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς), she became Dimítir. The infant Zefs was rushed to the Cave of Nyx (Night; Gr. Νύξ) and when he grew in strength, he defeated his father; he then created the universe anew, and ascended to become king of Gods and men forever and ever. Zefs conceived a plan and realized the necessity to unite with his mother and conceive a child. To escape his advances, she transformed herself into a snake. Zefs partook of this dance and became a snake himself; the two enwrapped themselves together into a Knot of Iraklís (Heracles; Gr. Ἡρακλῆς) producing the Daughter (Κόρη) Pæsæphóni (Περσεφόνη), destined to become the mother of Zagréfs (Zagreus; Gr. Ζαγρεύς).


Dimítir and the Abduction of Pærsæphóni

The story of the abduction of Pærsæphóni (Persephone; Gr. Περσεφόνη) is the most familiar mythology concerning Queen Dimítir.

Zefs had secretly promised his daughter Pærsæphóni to Ploutohn and allowed her to be kidnapped by him. Dimítir heard the echo of her daughter's voice as Pærsæphóni descended into Ploutohn's realm and began her despondent search for her beloved daughter. On the tenth day, she met Ækáti (Hekate; Gr. Ἑκάτη), who had also heard Pærsæphóni's cries. They inquired of Ílios (Helios; Gr. Ἥλιος) the Sun, who had seen all and now revealed this to Dimítir. The angry Goddess caused famine by not allowing the earth to produce fruit. She refused to ascend to Ólympos (Olympus; Gr. Ὄλυμπος) but rather took up residence on earth, particularly at Ælefsís (Eleusis; Gr. Ἐλευσίς). Zefs became afraid for the future of earth, so he retrieved Pærsæphóni, but Ploutohn gave Pærsæphóni part of a pomegranate to eat before she left his kingdom, a trick which required her to return. Zefs agreed to allow Pærsæphoni to stay with her mother for most of the year, but in winter she must return to Ploutohn. And Ækáti henceforth remained with Pærsæphóni as her constant attendant. Dimítir agreed to the arrangement made by Zefs, returned fruitfulness back to the earth, and prepared to depart back to Ólympos. Before she left, Dimítir instructed Triptólæmos (Triptolemus; Gr. Τριπτόλεμος), King Kælæós (Celeus; Gr. Κελεός) of Ælefsís, Évmolpos (Eumolpus; Gr. Εύμολπος), and Dioklís (Diocles; Gr. Διοκλῆς) in her Mysteries, the great 
Ælefsinian (Eleusinian) Mysteries.


D
imítir in Iconography

In iconography, Dimítir is depicted as very beautiful, dressed in long flowing garments, a mature and motherly figure, with warm countenance, bearing a ribbon or a garland of ears of corn [1] about her head. She is often seen bearing a torch, in memory of her search for Pærsæphóne, her daughter, and a symbol of the Mystíria, or carrying the sacred basket of the Mystíria. She may also hold a scepter, sheaves of wheat, or a poppy flower. Sometimes she is seen in a glorious chariot with dragons or horses at its head.

"The name Rhea they gave to the power of rocky and mountainous land, and Demeter to that of level and productive land. Demeter in other respects is the same as Rhea, but differs in the fact that she gives birth to Kore by Zeus, that is, she produces the shoot from the seeds of plants. And on this account her statue is crowned with ears of corn, and poppies are set round her as a symbol of productiveness." (Porphyry On Images, Fragment 6, excerpt, translated by Edwin Hamilton Gifford)


The Names Zefs, Diós, and Dióh

There is confusion between the words Diós and Dióh, but the confusion is not so great when you see the actual Greek words: 

Diós (Gr. Διός) is the genitive of Zefs (Ζεύς); it means "of Zefs" and it is the name used to designate the dividing power of the God; the name Zefs is used to designate the uniting power of the God. 

The name Dióh (Dio; Gr. Δηώ) is a name of the Goddess Dimítir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ). The dælta (Δ) at the beginning of Dimítir in later times became a gámma (Γ), so the first syllable Δη became ΓῆΔη originally was a word for Earth but became Yi (Γῆ)mítir (Gr. μήτηρ) means mother, so Dimítir means "Earth-Mother."


EPITHETS OF DIMÍTIR

Available on this website is an extensive list of the names of Dimítir. Particular attention has been made such that all of the epithets found in her Orphic hymn (40) have been included:


Dimítir and Orphismós

Dimítir rules the twelfth Orphic House, the zodiacal month of Stákhys (Wheat-Ear [Gr. Στάχυς] or Spica [Latin], also known as Parthǽnos [Gr. Παρθένος] or Virgo [Latin]), from August 21 through September 20, and her dominion is the Natural Law of Ænǽryeia (EnergyGr. Ἐνέργεια) in the Divine World. The Divine Consort of the Goddess is Poseidóhn (Poseidon). The Orphic Hymns recommend an offering of storax (use benzoin) to Dimítir.


The Orphic Hymn to Dimítir Ælefsinía

Please visit this page for a thorough examination of the Orphic hymn to Dimítir Ælefsinía, a veritable snapshot of the essence of the Goddess. It includes the Thomas Taylor translation, the original Greek text, an easy transliteration of the Greek text for anyone who may wish to learn the hymn in ancient Greek, and a word-by-word examination of the poem:

The Orphic Hymn to Dimítir Ælefsinía


The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.


NOTES: 

[1] The word corn in modern American usage is identified as maize, which is a plant of the Americas and foreign to the ancient Hellenic world, but this was not the original meaning of the word. The word corn is actually a generic term for any grain, the fruit of a cereal plant.



The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς). 



PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as 

, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

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