Ananke – Necessity

Ananke, spirit of destiny, is the goddess of whatever is “necessary” and cannot be amended. In the context of Ananke, necessary refers to unalterable fate. It is not a synonym for “desirable” or for what one thinks one needs.

Her history and family background is mysterious and subject for debate. She might be the daughter of Kronos and Tyche. She might be the mother of the Fates (Moirae).

According to the Orphics, ancient devotees of the teachings of Orpheus, Ananke needs no parents: she is the self-generated primordial mother who emerged at the beginning of time. (

See Also:

Eurynome.) A serpentine being, her first act was to embrace her male counterpart, a serpentine being the Orphics called Khronos, “Time,” who may or may not be the same spirit as the Titan Kronos. (Different spellings are used here to distinguish them.) Entwined, they resemble a strand of DNA. Together they form the world. Ananke and Khronos, forever entwined, are the driving force of the universe, controlling the fate of all living beings, including spirits.

In Plato’s Republic, a soldier, miraculously returned from the dead, describes what he saw in the afterlife: Ananke turns a spindle of diamonds while the Sirens sing in perfect harmony.

Also known as:

Anance; Anankei




Ananke once had a shrine on the Acropolis at Corinth.

See Also:

  • Enki
  • Gaia
  • Khronos
  • Kronos
  • Moirae
  • Orpheus
  • Sirens
  • Titan
  • Tyche
  • Zeus


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.
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