As she rules, she will say the laws, the Graces beside her.
Pour forth all flowers, Hybla, whatever the year has brought…
— Latin poem of unknown origin describing Venus as the bringer of spring.
What could be more perfect for a discussion of the Maiden aspect of the Goddess, as well as juiciness, beauty and youth than a visit with the Graces? They were known as the Gratiae by the Romans and in Greek mythology, They were the Charites. They were Goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility. They ordinarily numbered three, from youngest to oldest: Aglaea (“Beauty” or “Spendor”), Euphrosyne (“Mirth”), and Thalia (“Good Cheer”).
The Charites were usually considered the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, though, depending on the various regional customs throughout Greece, They were also said to be daughters of Dionysus and Aphrodite or of Helios (the Sun) and the naiad Aegle. The Charites were also associated with the underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries.
They love all things beautiful and bestow talent upon mortals. Together with the Muses, They serve as sources of inspiration in poetry and the arts. Originally, They were Goddesses of fertility and nature.
According to Homer, They usually attended Aphrodite, and are usually depicted grouped together. The river Cephissus near Delphi was sacred to them.
Patricia Monaghan writes that both the Latin Gratiae and the Greek Charites have the same meaning – grace of movement, for “They were dancing Goddesses; the grace of manners, for They were always gentle and polite; and the greatest grace, the gift of love itself, which these Goddesses ruled with Aphrodite.”
Tomorrow, I’ll share some additional details about these lovely Goddesses.