28/3/2021 0 Comments
5 Greek Water Deities
I don't particularly work with Greek deities, but it is something I have been researching recently. And they have some fascinating deities!
Water worship has been prevelent through most cultures and civilisations since the beginning of recorded time. I don't think I need to explain how important water is to our survival, or just how much of this earth is covered by water. So rather than launch into a spiel about the importance of water, I'll just dive into it.
Greek mythology is filled with deities associated with water. From the seas, to rivers and well, and marines, there are a wealth of deities to look at. Some deities were associated with very specific bodies of water, such as the God Asterion, who was the God of the river Argos. Others were more broad in their association. So below I have provided an overview of some of five of the most interesting. This is by no means a complete list of the Greek deities associated with water - there are plenty more I'm not touching on! This is just a small selection to get started with - maybe at some point I'll do a 'part 2'.
1. Amphitrite: Amphitrite was the consort of the sea God Poseidon, and a sea Goddess herself. She is sometimes known as the personification of the sea itself, and was said to give birth to seals, dolphins, and fearsome sea creatures, alongside her more ‘human’ children. Originally a sea Nymph, she was the eldest of fifty daughters born to Nereus and Doris. Depictions of her usually show her holding one arm up and pinching her fingers together, or surrounded by fish and other sea creatures. She is probably the most well known of the Roman water Goddesses, earning her a spot on the list.
2. Ceto: Ceto is said to be one of the most ancient of deities. The daughter of Pontis and his mother Gaia, she birthed many ‘monstrous’ children. As such, she is said to be a Goddess of sea monsters, whales, and sharks and the dangers of the sea. She is sometimes referred to in Greek texts as ‘Crataeis’. There is not much out there about her, but as the daughter of Gaia and mother of monsters she is an interesting figure.
3. Palaemon: Originally known as Melicertes, his name was later changed to Palaemon when he became a marine deity. It is said that his mother Ino was the one who had raised the infant Dionsysus. Consumed by jealousy, Hera drove Ino’s husband to insanity, resulting in him ‘pursuing’ Ino and Melicertes. Ino threw herself and Melicertes from a high rock to the waters below, and thus both became deified. Melicerte’s body was carried to the Isthmus of Corinth by a dolphin, and left under a pine tree where his uncle Sisyphus found it.
Palaemon is known as a God who protects and aids sailors when in distress. A sad story, and one of the more unique 'deity creation' stories in the Roman pantheon, I can't help but have a bit of a soft spot for this deity.
4. Thalassa: Thalassa was the primordial Goddess of the sea. It is believed that her name could even predate the Greek era. Whilst there aren't too many tales associated with her, I love primordial deities, so she couldn't not make the list!
5. The Graeae: Whilst not a deity as such, these three sisters played an important part in the slaying of Medusa. Their names were Deino (dread, or 'terrible'), Enyo (horror, or 'warlike'), and Pemphredo (alarm, or 'she who guides the way'). They were sisters to the Gorgons and daughter of Phorcys, the God of the hidden dangers of the deep, and the Goddess Ceto. They took the form of old, grey haired women, and were said to be so old that the mind of a child simply would not be able to comprehend such an age. They shared between them one tooth, and one eye which they took turns in using. It was Perseus who stole this eye and held it for ransom, until they told him the whereabouts of Medusa.
Apart from the story of Perseus, it is difficult to find any other information on them. I always feel for these types of figures; chances are they were just chilling at home, minding their own business, when some bloody-minded mortal comes and steal their possessions and demanding to know where their sisters are hiding. As such, they get a place on the list.
The Weekly Witch:
Once I week I talk about something 'witchcraft' related I have done with my week. How we incorporate witchcraft into our every day lives is always a topic that has interested me, so I wanted to start this blog to explore it further!