[Sidenote: Gæa and Rhea.]
In the earth myths, beside those already mentioned in connection with
the sun myths, we have Gæa and Rhea, the mothers and consorts of the
Sky and of Time, who swallows his own children, "the Days, as they
come each in order."
[Sidenote: Ceres and Proserpina.]
We have also Ceres or Demeter, "the mother of all things," and more
particularly of "the maiden" Cora (or Proserpina), whose loss she
grievously mourned; for she had been carried away by Pluto to the
underworld, whence she could only emerge at the command of Jupiter.
During the time of Ceres' mourning, the earth remained barren, and it
seemed as though all mortal things must die. But when Proserpina (the
spring or vegetation) returned from her sojourn under the ground,
people said "that the daughter of the earth was returning in all her
beauty; and when summer faded into winter, they said that the
beautiful child had been stolen away from her mother by dark beings,
who kept her imprisoned beneath the earth." The sorrow of Ceres was
therefore merely a poetical way of expressing "the gloom which falls
on the earth during the cheerless months of winter."
[Sidenote: Danae and Semele.]
Danae, as a personification of the earth, was quickened by the golden
shower, the light of the morning, which streamed in upon the darkness
of the night. Semele has also been interpreted as the earth, the
chosen bride of the sky, who brings forth her offspring in the midst
of the thunder and lightning of a summer storm.