Pomegranate - The Woman - Mythology and folklore

But Pomegranate plays a big role in mythology, legends and folklore, too. In my mind its attributes must be archetypal, since they are similar if not identical in many different cultures throughout the world.
The pomegranate tree has been admired for thousands of years. The bible and many other ancient texts refer to it. In the grave of Pharao Ramses IV pomegranate seeds and dried fruits were found, in many other graves there are paintings showing the beautiful plant, fruit and flower.

The Holy Bible however made an ordinary apple of the fruit in the Genesis story of Garden of Eden. Where Garden of Eden  is assumed to have been located there is in fact pomegranate‘s place of origin. Islamic drawings from the eighth century show Eva with a pomegranate in her hand, not an apple and since the Christian and Islamic story of the Garden of Eden are identical one could assume the apple indeed was a pomegranate.

Pomegranate
Botticelli's Madonna with Pomegranate

In many cultures Pomegranate is regarded to be a fruit of the Goddesses (I have not heard about any source calling it a fruit of male Gods). Around the Mediterranean, where pomegranate has become a very common plant, there are different cultures with their own special Gods and Goddesses and among them there is a Goddess of femininity in each of them. For the Greek it was Aphrodite, for the Romans it was Venus and the Tunisians called their Goddess Tanit - and all of them have one thing in common: pomegranate as their symbol. A symbol of beauty, femininity, passion and creativity.

Tanit
Tunesian (Phoenician) Goddess Tanit

But there is still another Goddess with a special relationship to Pomegranate, Persephone, who the Romans called Proserpina, daughter of Demeter, Goddess of fertility. Persephone once was kidnapped by Hages and brought to his kingdom, the underworld. Demeter however searched for her and when she could not find her daughter she stopped providing the world with her services. After a while when there was a big drought and nothing grew on the fields, the other Gods at Mount Olympus felt the need to make her fulfill her duties. They did so by promising to rescue her daughter. Hermes, the messenger God (who else?), was sent to the underworld in order to force Hades to let his victim go. Against the will of the Gods Hades was no longer able to keep Persephone imprisoned, he had to give way the will of the Gods. So at last he let Hermes take his prisoner back to the upper world, however he did not do so without giving Persephone a couple of pomegranate seeds as sweets for her way back home. Eating the seeds bound her to Hades for the rest of her life. From then on she had to stay in the underworld a third of every year during the dark months.

Persephone
Dante Gabriel Rosetti's Proserpina (Roman name of Persephone)

Here we can see a parallel to the biblical story of Garden of Eden again: Hades did not urge Persephone to eat the seeds just like Eva did not urge Adam to eat the apple (pomegranate), however the situation symbolizes the awakening of the sexuality. A point of no return situation, you will never be the same and never be able to deny your sexuality. I find it also interesting that Persephone has to return to the underworld for a third of the year - while a third of the day, during the dark hours one stays in bed...

For many centuries pomegranate was considered as symbol of the Goddess and of fertility in the middle east. Young girls, who wanted to know how many children they would have, threw a ripe pomegranate with all their might to the ground. They believed, the number of seeds, that were spread around when the fruit broke open, indicated the number of their future children.

Pomegranate

There was a similar custom in different countries of Latin America, where childless women wishing to become pregnant cut pomegrantes in halves. Then they spread them with honey, put a piece of paper with their name written on it, between the halves and put them together again. The fruit was then sacrificed the Moongoddess, who was able to renew one‘s fertility.

In eastern Africa pomegranate is considered as symbol of sensuality and love as can be proven by many songs in Suaheli.

In last century‘s early 80s the Californian Flower Essence Society (FES) was the first company to prepare a pomegranate essence. After 20 years of its use it became one of the most ordered flower essences worldwide. From 1993 to 1996 we at Mamboya Flower Essences researched essences for pregnancy and birth preparation. In the resulting flower essence set of 21 essences Pomegranate doubtlessly plays the most important role.

Pomegranate

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