The Mythology Behind The Virgo Constellation Explained

It's usually easy to tell what season it is — aside from how hot or cold it is or if there is snow on the ground. All it takes is looking up at the sky and looking for the constellation Virgo. If you can see it, it is spring and summer in the Northern Hemisphere. People who see it in the fall and the winter are in the Southern Hemisphere. The ancient Greeks came up with a myth to explain the reason for this. It's a fascinating story of gods, seduction, grief, and betrayal. No, it's not a soap opera, but it is darn close. 

According to EarthSky, this begins with Hades falling for Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, who was the goddess of grain and agriculture. He brought Persephone down to the underworld, and that made Demeter sad beyond reason. She abandoned her duties, and there was a scarcity of grain and other agriculture. One side of Earth was cold and one was hot. Zeus, who was the king of the Greek gods, was very upset by this. He recognized that this was a situation that could not go on forever, since humans and animals needed grain to live. So he got Hades to release Persephone after a few months. 

While people have the general idea that spring is when Persephone returned from the underworld and winter is when she went back to it. But that is only part of the story. Betrayal lurked around the corner.  

Persephone's fate and food

It looked like all would end well and Persephone would be forever reunited with Demeter, per World History. There was only one rule that Persephone had to follow during her trek out of the underworld: Do not eat any food. Hades was a sneaky sort, though. He gave her a pomegranate as she left, and she nibbled on some seeds, which meant that she was tied to Hades, despite what her mother felt. Zeus was then bound to honor that. 

Was it betrayal or did Persephone have a plan herself, due to her feelings toward Hades?  There are some who think that she did it knowing full well what she was doing – that is, she did want to be married to him. Or it could be that she was unwitting. In any event, she does spend time with both her mother and also with Hades. 

Those who know about how the seasons and the hemispheres work, know that when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer in the Summer Hemisphere. So one hemisphere will always know that Persephone is back with her mother.