THE MOIRAI - Greek Goddesses of Fates

the fates the moirai

The Moirai were the Greek goddesses of fate. Of their origin, there are two versions, which, interestingly, are both given in the same work, Hesiod’s Theogony.

The first is that they were independently produced by Nyx, a primordial deity and the personification of night. The second is that they were born to Zeus and Themis, a first-generation Titan and the goddess of custom and law.

The Morai, this name meaning ‘portions’ or ‘shares’ of life, assigned the destiny that was each person’s life, apportioning them a measure of both good and evil. Individually, their names, clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, represent the function each serves in spinning, measuring, and cutting the threads of fate.

Clotho, ‘The spinner’, alludes to spinning the thread of destiny, the other two sisters then measuring and cutting the thread, each strand representing the destiny of a person, the totality of what their life would be. Lachesis, ‘The Caster’ threw lots to determine what a person’s destiny would be, and Atropos, ‘The Unturnable One’, ensured that each person’s destiny was immutable and inexorable.

Beyond being the arbiters of fate, The Moirai are also described as being involved in both the Gigantomachy, the war between the gods and the giants, and in Zeus’ battle against Typhon.

Using bronze cudgels, they killed two giants, Agrios and Thoon, and using their guile, they tricked Typhon, convincing him that he would become stronger if he tasted the ephemeral fruits, sapping his strength instead of augmenting it, making it easier for Zeus to defeat him.

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