16/7/2022 0 Comments
Hyades, The Greek Rain Nymphs
Currently we are going through one of the hottest periods ever to hit the UK. Monday it is supposed to rise to 40 degrees celsius here - the hottest ever recorded in the UK. Whilst I enjoy a bit of sun, I don't function well in the relentless heat and it's been a bit of a struggle. I can't remember the last time it rained, which is extremely unusual for a country usually known for its grey skies and constant downpours! So I thought today would be as good a time as any to take a look at a group of water spirits often associated with the rain - the Hyades.
The Hyades are a part of Greek mythos and were the daughters of the Titan Atlas, and the Oceanid Aethra, although the Oceanid Pleione is also listed as their mother in some sources. There are several different types of nymph in Greek mythology, with the Oceanids being the nymphs of water, making their mother Aethra (or Pleione) a water spirit.
The number of sisters varies from source to source; the least number of sisters appears to be two in earlier sources, with the higest number being five in later sources. However, not all sources agree on the names of the sisters, and most sources list different names. For example, the astronomer Hesiod lists five sisters, and the astronomer Hyginus lists five sisters. Whilst they list three of the same five sisters, the other two are completely different names.
With each source listing different names for these sisters, whilst we have at most five sisters, there are sixteen potential names for these nymphs. These are:
Phaisyle or Aesyle
Cleeia or Cleis
The Hyades also correspond to the name of a set of stars which appear in the constellation Taurus, and make up the head of the bull. There are two differing stories which recount how they became a part of the constellation. The first is that they were the sisters who nursed the infant wine God, Dionysus, and as a reward for their nurturing of the young God they were made the stars in the head of the bull. The second story tells of how they were so distraught by the death of their brother Hyas that Zeus changed them into stars out of compassion for the sisters.
The name 'Hyades' translates as 'rain makers', or 'the rainy ones' and this could be because their stars rise in October and set in April and so are visible during the rainy season. Hence why they were associated with the rain.
There is not too much else recorded about the Hyades and so it is difficult to find any other historical information on these water spirits. I do have a meditation I perform to help connect with them, which is of my own design. I start off by setting up with the little crystal layout you can see in the picture above, and my small clear quartz crystal bowl with some water in as an offering. To me, the crystals above make me think of stars in the night sky; the clear quartz represents starlight in general, whilst the blue quartz represent the Hyades - combining quartz as starlight and the colour blue for the water element. I did try forming them in the shape of the constellation of Taurus, but to be honest it just didn't do anything for me whereas this little layout better embodies that cosmic quality for me.
For the meditation (which I will actually record and include it in one of the courses I'll be releasing next year so watch this space), see yourself stood a little ways off from a pool under the night sky, the Hyades shining bright above you. As you approach the pool, you see five beautiful figures dancing under the starlight. Join them, dance with them, and as you do it begins to rain from the stars above. Just enjoy this experience, and thank the Hyades for the gift of rain. Offer them the bowl of water before you finish your meditation, and once you have come out of your meditation, pour the bowl of water onto the earth under the nights sky and again say thank you to the Hyades. It's a very simple but fun meditation, and one which I find really helps connect with the Hyades and appreciate the rainfall (especially when going through a heatwave as we are at the moment!).
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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!