The Charites are attendants of Aphrodite and Hermes but are also venerated independently as spirits of creative inspiration, botanical abundance, moisture, and human fertility. The Charites are:
• Aglaia: “The Wonderful”
• Euphrosyne: “Joy”
• Thalia: “Plenty”
Their parentage is subject to dispute. The Charites may be the daughters of the primeval Pelasgian goddess Eurynome by either Zeus or Kronos. (An obscure myth suggests that Aphrodite was the daughter of Eurynome and Kronos, which would make them her sisters.) Alternatively the Charites are daughters of Nyx and Erebus or Lethe or Hekate and Hermes. Their name derives from a word meaning “to rejoice.” They are joyful, happy, sensuous spirits; their festivals had a reputation for being raucous. The Romans called them Graces, indicating favour and thankfulness (as in saying grace before meals).
ALSO KNOWN AS:
Dancers, young women; those who need joy and beauty
The Charites, who manifest as beautiful, graceful, dancing young women, usually appear as a pair or triad.
Their most familiar image depicts the three Charites standing close together. Two face the viewer while the Charite standing in the center turns her shapely back. The Charites may be naked or clothed. At their shrine in Orchomenos in Boeotia, the Charites were venerated in the form of three uncut stones described as falling from Heaven, presumably meteorites.
Important cult centers included Athens, Arcadia, and the Aegean island of Paros.
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.