Persephone's Forbidden Garden

Persephone's Forbidden Garden

Persephone's Forbidden Garden

Of Aspen's February 2023 Drop

As I worked on the concept for this drop, I imagined a land that felt safe although melancholic—something resembling a garden engulfed in fog, trapping all the memories of past lifetimes. When I work through these monthly drops, I often picture an entire landscape that I transport my brain to. I craft a playlist that puts me in that mindset even further, I embrace all the thoughts that come to me, and I write. All the ideas, the words, the colors, and the core concepts are all written down so I can make connections and see where my brain is taking me.


I originally wanted to embrace the theme of romance for February with a Hades & Persephone theme, but as my ideas developed, I realized I was leaning more towards celebrating the Greek Goddesses than Hades and the tribulations of his character.


Although some believe that myths are just that, myths, I have more fondness for those stories in the light of truth. Some details in mythology are more exaggerated (so are the stories we tell ourselves daily), but the basis of these myths we've told for generations seem to be rooted in something factual, with great lessons that we can all learn from. I have always been inspired by the lessons taught in mythology, especially by the Greek pantheons, and I wanted to add my whimsical spin to the stories.



Many myths are rooted in pretty dark and disturbing storylines, and I didn't want our focus connected to that energy. I'm choosing to embrace femininity and compassion for what makes each of us unique and confident in being ourselves, and I hope you can too.


When working on each mystery box, I wanted to craft one for each of the Goddesses I envision included in Persephone's girl group, (however, we could not dive too deep and include the entire pantheon.) Featured in this collection are Persephone, Demeter, Aphrodite, Artemis, and Medusa, and I would love to go further in this Greek realm and grow the collection more as time progresses. 


Below is a short story inspired by what I was going for this month. A bit silly, but I wanted to lighten the mood and remind my little leaves that although life has its hardships, it's also filled with sweet serendipitous moments!


A dystopian paradise only muttered in myths, a world away from the land of the living, a kingdom shrouded in shadows was on the journey ahead. 

You sought sanctuary. That's how it all started, a longing feeling pulling at your heart as you pondered a place where you truly fit in. 

You felt disoriented. The stain of pomegranate seeds speckled your fingers as you looked down to see what you dropped; the flash of a skull startled you as the hollowed-out seeds of the fruit resembled something sinister. With that, you felt the dirt below your feet tremble and quake as the earth split open with a gust of air, a wave of melancholy washing over you. The hilltops you were hiking—reshaped now—into a steep, treacherous landscape, revealing a set of steps leading down into the side of a cavern. As the sun set and left the land in dusk, what once was a haven for flora and fauna was now taken over by darkness. Flowers wilted as you took each step down the stone steps, passing earthworms and snakes, minerals and coins, beetles and bones, down into the Underworld. 


As the steps morphed into pebbles, you approached a hooded figure. Waiting on the shore of a neverending stream, you watched as the water seemed frozen in time, so still, you could see your reflection mirrored back at you. Silent and solemn, the ferryman lifted his palm and pointed; He required payment to lead you further. A tattered rowboat appeared as you placed a golden token in his hand. Stepping aboard, you heard the spirits whisper, "Styxxx, Styx." 

Your feet landed on the impressive black marble steps at the foot of Hades' kingdom after drifting for what felt like hours across the bottomless river.

A familiar face appeared around the bend as you made your way up the cold marble, a face you couldn't quite remember but could never forget. Persephone beamed as she welcomed you with an embrace, telling you it had been many moons since she had seen you in the flesh.

Your past lifetimes flashed before your eyes as you felt her calming, protective energy wrap around you in a safe hug. Your love for your dear friend felt engrained in your heart. She guided you along your journey whenever needed, whether you saw her or not, as she patiently waited for your return.

She led the way through winding hallways and arched doors, through beds of flowers and rooms filled with potions & oddities, all the way to the end of the corridor where you met an enchanted gate made of ivy, glowing dimly back at you.

With a mischievous smirk, she whispered, "You were always a sucker for Pomegranates," as she waved her hand over the door and spoke the secret password, "memento mori." With that, the vines unwrapped from each other and granted you safe passage. You were entering Persephone's Forbidden Garden.

In the comfort of the Goddess' safe space, you finally felt at home, that longing feeling in your heart vanishing as you took a seat, settling into your beloved home. "It's just about time. They'll be here any minute!" Looking down at you, she placed a bracelet in your hand, "In case you need a reminder."

A beautiful pomegranate seed bracelet glimmered under the moonlight. With that, Artemis appeared from the shadows with a quiver full of arrows and a bag of marshmallows ready to roast in hand.

The water in the calm pond rippled and Aphrodite bubbled up from beneath the water, presenting to the group a bottle of love potion champagne and sea shell charcuterie to share.

Demeter made her entrance amongst the tall grasses swaying in the breeze, coming more than prepared with a cornucopia bursting with snacks for the evening's festivities.

As everyone took their seats, you couldn't help but hear a strange hissing sound, and out of the corner of your eye, you watched a snake slither out from under a willow tree, morphing into beautiful Medusa herself. Smiling back at you, she opened her palm, revealing stone chess pieces. Everyone groaned as you giggled at the thought of beating the room round after round, but it wasn't your fault you had a strategy, you could never lose, your name was Athena after all!

And with that, the music played, the drinks poured, and you all laughed together, just like old times. You found your home where you truly fit in, although you all were different, that's what made you click.

- - -

For the little leaves who need a home, Of Aspen welcomes you to be yourself, we always have room for one more.

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