Too often the Goddess Persephone is seen as the helpless maiden, abducted by her uncle/husband Hades with the help of her own father Zeus. It is a little strange perhaps that a goddess would be so powerless. Author Robin Cormak offers a different window into the psyche of this deity, revealing her to be a much more interesting figure with a will of her own. Persephone (part of the Pagan Portals series) is partly a well-documented scholarly, feminist retelling and reclaiming story and partly a self-help guide to the Goddess and your own self-realization. Well-researched, succinct and well-told, discover what you’ve misunderstood about the life of Persephone.

Persephone is portrayed here with her own voice, having to make impossible decisions choosing between her mother and husband, and finding a third and less obvious path which allows her to have the company of both, at different seasons of the year. The usual telling of the tale has her as the hapless victim of circumstance with everyone else making all the decisions. How insightful to see Persephone subtly influence the events of her own life! Not content to let her mother Demeter and father Zeus rule her as an adult, she rebels and chooses to eat the seeds of the pomegranate in the underworld knowing she would be forever bound to this realm. Her mother’s depression is so intense that Persephone is allowed to return to the land of the living for the growing season. As such Persephone has her cake and eats it too. In the underworld, she is queen and psychopomp for the dead, a role that allows her to grow in maturity and power.

Cormak provides journal questions for the reader to help build better discernment, self-knowledge and empowerment. I really liked the guided meditations. The instructions are complete and can be performed alone. From cooking Persephone’s favorite foods to rituals, regardless of your prior experience, all activities are accessible.

The author's personal relationship with Persephone as deity gives her deeper insight and perspective, shared through her own experiences growing up, getting to know this goddess and what it has meant for her. She has an excellent grasp of the mythology and psychology and delivers the reader to a better understanding of the Goddess and the way these archetypes play out in our own lives.

Highly recommended
~review by Larissa Carlson
Author: Robin Corak
Moon Books/John Hunt Publishing, 2020
pp. 112 , $11