Give me a look, give me a face, that makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free — Such sweet neglect more taketh me
Than all the adulteries of art:
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.
— from Epicæne; Or, the Silent Woman by Benjamin Johnson
Known as the Gratiae by the Romans and the Kharites in Greek mythology, the Graces were Goddesses of grace, beauty, adornment, mirth, festivity, dance and song. They presided over the pleasures of life, including play, amusement, banqueting, floral decoration, happiness, rest and relaxation.
While their names and even numbers differed by region, generally the Graces were considered the three beautiful daughters of Zeus and Eurynome.
They were usually depicted in classical sculpture and mosaic as three nude women, holding hands and dancing in a circle. They were sometimes crowned with myrtle and held sprigs of myrtle in their hands.
The attendance of the Graces, Aglaia (Splendor, Radiance), Euphrosyne (Festivity, Cheerfulness), and Thalia (Blooming, Flowering, Joy), was the assurance of peace and happiness. Therefore, they were always the first Deities to be invoked at important gatherings. And at every banquet, the Greeks always offered to them the first cup of wine.
Today, as our journey gets underway, we welcome the guidance of the Graces. Let us begin by making an offering to them. Perhaps you would like to make a libation of wine, in a beautiful, special cup, as the ancient Greeks once did. Or you might like to clear some room on your altar, perhaps placing upon it tokens that represent their qualities of beauty and delight.