FOTO CREDIT: Jastrow (2006) who has kindly released the foto to the Public Domain

HOME               GLOSSARY               RESOURCE               ART              LOGOS             CONTACT

12.  Dimítir 

(Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ, ΔΗΜHΤΗΡ)

The daughter of Krónos (Κρόνος) and Rǽa (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 (Ἑστία), Íra (Ἥρα), Ploutohn (Πλούτων), Poseidóhn (Ποσειδῶν), and Zefs (Ζεύς). Dimítir is the mother of Pærsæphóni (Περσεφόνη) by Zefs; she is the mother of the horse Aríohn (Ἀρίων) and the Goddess Dǽspina (Δέσποινα) by Poseidóhn.

Characteristics of Dimítir

Dimítir is the great Goddess of fertility and of the fruitful Earth. She has given us agriculture and, particularly, the cultivation of grain, and 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 (Ζεύς), she became Dimítir [1]. The infant Zefs was rushed to the Cave of Nyx (Νύξ) and when he grew in strength, he defeated his father; he then ordered 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, Dimítir 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 (ἅμμα Ἡρακλέους) [2] producing the Daughter (Κόρη) Pæsæphóni (Περσεφόνη), destined to become the mother of Zagréfs (Ζαγρεύς).

Dimítir and the Abduction of Pærsæphóni

The story of the abduction of Pærsæphóni (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 (Ἑκάτη), who had also heard Pærsæphóni's cries. They inquired of Ílios (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 (Ὄλυμπος) but rather took up residence on earth, particularly at Ælefsís (Ἐλευσίς). Zefs became afraid for the future of earth, so he retrieved Pærsæphóni, but Ploutohn gave Pærsæphóni some seeds of a pomegranate to eat before she left his kingdom, a trick which required her to return. Zefs agreed to allow Pærsæphóni to stay with her mother for most of the year, but in winter she must return to Ploutohn. 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 (Τριπτόλεμος), King Kælæós (Κελεός) of Ælefsís, Évmolpos (Εύμολπος), and Dioklís (Διοκλῆς) in her Mysteries, the great Ælefsinian (Eleusinian) Mysteries.

Dimítir 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 [3] 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."

The Names ZefsDiós, 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 (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 (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 (μήτηρ) means mother, so Dimítir means "Earth-Mother."

Dimítir and Orphismós

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

The Epithets of Dimítir

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.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods. 


[1] Orphic frag. 145. (106. 128) Πρόκλος Commentary on the Κρατύλος 403e, (90, 28 Pasqu.):

Ῥείη τὸ πρὶν ἐοῦσα, ἐπεὶ Διὸς ἔπλετο μήτηρ, Δημήτηρ γέγονε.

“Formerly she was Rǽa, but having become mother of Zefs, she became Dimítir.” (trans. by the author)

[2] excerpt from Kern Orphic frag. 58. (41) Ἀθηναγόρας Pro Christian 20 p. 22, 10 Schw.:

Ῥέαν ἀπαγορεύουσαν αὐτοῦ τὸν γάμον ἐδίωκε, δρακαίνης δ´ αὐτῆς γενομένης καὶ αὐτὸς εἰς δράκοντα μεταβαλὼν συνδήσας αὐτὴν τῷ καλουμένῳ Ἡρακλειωτικῷ ἅμματι ἐμίγη (τοῦ σχήματος τῆς μίξεως σύμβολον ἡ τοῦ Ἑρμοῦ ῥάβδος), εἶθ´ ὅτι Φερσεφόνῃ τῇ θυγατρὶ ἐμίγη βιασάμενος καὶ ταύτην ἐν δράκοντος σχήματι, ἐξ ἧς παῖς Διόνυσος αὐτῷ·

“…and how he (Ζεύς) pursued his mother Rhea when she refused to wed him, and, she becoming a she-dragon, and he himself being changed into a dragon, bound her with what is called the Herculean knot, and accomplished his purpose, of which fact the rod of Hermes is a symbol; and again, how he violated his daughter Phersephoné;, in this case also assuming the form of a dragon, and became the father of Dionysos.”

(trans. Rev. B. P. Pratten, 1885. Ἀθηναγόρας: A Plea for the Christians, The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 2.)

The knot of Iraklís (Ἡρακλῆς) is marriage.

[3] The word corn in modern American usage is identified as maize, which is grain from a plant of the Americas. But this grain was unknown to the ancient European world. The word corn was not originally used to designate maize, but it is actually a generic term for any grain, the fruit of a cereal plant. In English translations of ancient texts, corn usually refers to ears of wheat, barley, or rye.

[4] Porphyry On Images, Fragment 6, excerpt, trans. Edwin Hamilton Gifford, 1894.

[3] Porphyry On Images, Fragment 6, excerpt, trans. Edwin Hamilton Gifford, 1894

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, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) 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, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, 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: 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: 

PHOTO COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: The many pages of this website incorporate images, some created by the author, but many obtained from outside sources. To find out more information about these images and why this website can use them, visit this link: Photo Copyright Information

DISCLAIMER: The inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) with the views of by the external sources from which they were obtained.

Further, the inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) by of the contents or views of any external sources from which they were obtained.

For more information:

For answers to many questions: Hellenismos FAQ

© 2010 by  All Rights Reserved.


hit counterHOME           GLOSSARY           RESOURCE          ART           LOGOS           CONTACT
Web Analytics