Goddess of Grain and the Harvest
Legal Status: Citizen of Olympus
The general populace of earth is unaware of Demeterís existence except as a
Ceres (Roman Name), Meter, Doso (mortal incarnation)
Place of Birth:
Unrevealed, possibly Olympus
Marital Status: Married
Cronus (father), Rhea (mother), Tethys, Themis, Phoebe, Mnemosyne, Dione
(aunts), Oceanus, Japet, Hyperion, Coeus, Crius, Ophion (uncles), Zeus
(brother/husband), Poseidon, Hades (brothers), Hestia, Hera (sisters), Chiron
(half-brother), Plute (half-sister), Persephone, Despoena (daughters), Arion,
Plutus, Philomelas (sons), Hercules, Apollo, Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes, Dionysus
(nephews), Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite, Eileithyia, Hebe, Helen, Discord
(nieces), Helios, Eos, Selene, Leto, Asteria, Pallas, Perses, Astraeus, Metis,
Calypso, Prometheus, Eprimetheus, Menoetius (cousins)
Group Affiliations: The Olympian Gods
Base of Operations:
(name only) The Order #4
Demeter is the daughter of Cronus, Ruler of the first generation of the Olympian
Gods who were known as the Titans, and his wife, the Titaness Rhea. Fearing that
he would be overthrown by one of his children, just as he himself had overthrown
his father, Ouranus, Cronus imprisoned his own children in the deepest regions
of Tartarus as soon as they were born. (Later legends claimed that he swallowed
them and that they remained alive within him until freed by Zeus).
Upset, Rhea concealed her last pregnancy and hid the birth of her last
son Zeus upon Earth.
Zeus ended up growing among mortals and
as an adult set out to conquer Olympus. He freed his siblings from Tartarus and
ended up seducing many of the female gods of Olympus to make them allies in his
cause, including Demeter who bore him a daughter, Persephone. Although she
became one of his first wives, it was Hera who became Queen of The Gods.
Zeus was successful in claiming Olympus as he and his brothers cast lots
for the rest of creation. Zeus gained the heavens, Poseidon the seas and Hades
(later known as Pluto) the underworld. Demeter inherited protection of the earth
by choice to honor her mother, Rhea, who honored Gaea, Mother Earth. Hades,
however, desired companionship in the Underworld and fell in love with
Persephone. He bribed Zeus for the
right to court her and actually followed through in abducting her from Earth.
Unwary of the truth, Demeter pined
unaware of what had happened to her daughter or knowing where she was. She
allowed herself to be romanced by Poseidon and gave birth to Arion, the
horse-god, and Despoena, the fruit goddess who later became Pomona to the
Romans. At the marriage of the Theban King Cadmus to Harmonia, the daughter of
Aphrodite, she was in another situation to be romantically seduced by the
demigod, Iasion, a son of Zeus. She gave birth to Plutus, who became Consus, the
Roman god of wealth, and Philomelas, who became Vertumnus, the Roman god of
farming. Iasion had his godhood
stripped from him by Zeus for violating Demeter in her vulnerable state.
Demeter wandered the world under the
name Doso looking for her daughter. She became friends of King Celeus of Eleusis
and tried to make his son, Demophon, immortal in return for his kindness but was
frightened by a nurse before she could burn off the childís mortality.
She revealed her true existence as Demeter to them and Celeus founded the
Eleusian Mysteries to honor her afterward.
Demeter eventually cursed Ascalaphus,
the son of the river-god, Acheron, for taunting her by exiling him to the
Underworld. Demeter eventually
learned from Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, and the sun god, Helios, that
Hades had abducted Persephone and that Zeus had given him permission to do so.
She retreated into self-imposed exile into a cave on Mount Elaeus near Phigalia.
Zeus sent Pan to locate her and then had the Fates try to talk her into
accepting the marriage, but she refused. Meanwhile, drought and famine was
occurring on Earth as a result of Demeterís emotions.
Zeus finally sent Hermes to retrieve
Persephone from the Underworld, but in her own misery of being separated from
her mother, Persephone had eaten three pomegranate seeds given to her by
Ascalaphus, who had his revenge on Demeter for being exiled to the underworld.
Because Persephone had been treated kindly in the Underworld, she had to remain
bound to her marriage and had to spend equal amounts of time in Hades and on
Olympus with her mother. Demeter further punished Ascalaphus by transforming him
into an owl. During Persephoneís absences, her children, Pomona, Consus and
Vertumnus in duties over the earth and the harvest, frequently attended her in
Demeter particularly favored the
Trojans during the Trojan War because they were descendants of Iasionís
brother, Dardanus. Their descendants who founded Rome called her Ceres, but as
Zeus allowed the worship of the Olympian Gods to die out, Demeter broke off many
of her ties to mortals and in a sense retired as her role as a goddess without
giving up her powers of immortality. She and Persephone, however, do often dress
as human beings in order to pose as mortals to go visit and shopping on Earth.
During one such trip, Hercules briefly interrupted them to inform them that
Hades was holding the mortals Bounty, Caledonia and the young wards of the
Fantastic Four captive in his realm briefly during their happy sojourn. The
message caused Persephone to rush to the underworld to avoid a major
Despite her lack of modern worshippers,
Demeter does still bestow power on human mystics and priestesses who know how to
call upon her. In recent years, Demeter added energies that the sorceress Clea
called upon to create Ardina, a female counterpart of the Silver Surfer.
Strength Level: Demeter possesses superhuman strength enabling her to lift (press) 25 tons under optimal conditions.
Known Superhuman Powers:
Demeter possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Olympian gods. Like all Olympians, she is immortal: she has
not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. She
is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If
she were somehow wounded, her godly life force would enable her to recover with
superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a
major portion of her bodily molecules to cause her a physical death. Even then,
it might be possible for a god of equal power, such as Zeus, Poseidon or for a
number of Olympian gods working together to revive her. Demeter also possesses
superhuman strength and her Olympian metabolism provides her with far greater
than human endurance in all physical activities. (Olympian flesh and bone is
about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the
Olympians' superhuman strength and weight.)
Demeter also has various mystical
powers primarily to control the harvesting of plants especially, but not
limited, to grain. She can create prosperous conditions for a bountiful harvest
and even animate plants, vines and twigs to respond to her will. It has been
theorized that her emotions are in tune to the harvest and that they are
bountiful when she is happy, and that drought occurs when she unhappy. She can
also cross-dimensional barriers between worlds and alter her form to appear in
an immaterial state to present herself to mortals. On Earth, she sometimes
takes a gigantic physical stature to appear intimidating to mortals. Her powers to
control the weather are not as proficient as that of Zeus or Poseidon; she can
cause rain to fall, but she cannot create storms or thunder showers. She can
invoke curses as when she cursed King Erysichthon in ancient times with
insatiable hunger and endow mystical ability in sorcerers and mystics that know
how to call upon her such as Clea.
Comments: Demeter has not yet appeared in person in Marvel Comics; her first physical appearance in DC Comics has not yet been revealed.