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Elliott Smith's ANCIENT MYTHS

Ah, summer! Despite my wearisome touring schedule and bouts of chronic introspection, even I, Elliott Smith, cannot help but be stirred by the lush, green abundance of these shimmering months. And yet with such beauty comes the bittersweet awareness of its transience, of the inevitable tide of the seasons. It puts me in mind of the Ancient Greek legend of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, and her daughter Persephone, maiden of spring.

Hades, king of the dark underworld, yearned for a queen to rule beside him over the multitudinous dead. His attentions fell upon the beautiful Persephone--and in a chariot drawn by coal-black steeds, he carried her down to his gloom-shrouded abode.

After learning of her daughter's fate, Demeter fled Olympus in terrible mourning. As harvests failed and trees withered, famine gripped mankind, and Mighty Zeus himself was finally moved to intercede. He sent the fleet-footed Hermes to the sunless realms, bearing a command that Hades release his unwilling bride.

Lord Hades knew he must bow to Zeus, but before Persephone returned, the lord of the dead bade her to taste of a pomegranate. The lovely Persephone swallowed but three seeds, then ascended with Hermes to rejoin her waiting mother.

Demeter's joy at her child's return turned to sorrow when she learned of the seeds, for it meant her daughter would be again taken from her. Though a poor comfort, Persephone was bound to dwell in the kingdom of the dead for only a quarter of the year, spending the remainder in the world above. To this day, Demeter's grief at her daughter's yearly departure and joy at her reemergence are marked by the bitter cold months of winter and the hopeful resurrection of life in the spring.

By the way, don't miss my upcoming show on July first at the Werchter Festival in Belgium. It's going to fucking rock.

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