The abduction of Persephone.
Persephone used to live far away from the other gods, a goddess within Nature herself before the days of planting seeds and nurturing plants. In the Olympian telling, the gods Hermes and Apollo had wooed Persephone; but Demeter, rejected all their gifts and hid her daughter away from the company of the Olympian gods. Zeus, it is said, permitted Hades, who was in love with the beautiful Persephone, to abduct her as her mother Demeter was not likely to allow her to go down to Hades. Hades indeed complied with the request, and made Persephone his wife and queen of the underworld.
Persephone was released by Hermes, who had been sent to retrieve her, but because she had tasted food in the underworld, she was obliged to spend a third of each year (the winter months) there, and the remaining part of the year with the gods.
When she ascends and is reunited with her mother Demeter, the earth flourished with vegetation and color, but for some months each year, when Persephone returned to the underworld, the earth once again became a barren realm. At the beginning of the autumn, when the seeds of the old crop are laid on the fields the old crop and the new meet each other. For the initiated, this union was the symbol of the eternity of human life that flows from the generations which spring from each other.