Dactyls : The Fingers; The Kids

The Dactyls are mysterious metal-working spirits of shamanism, smithcraft, fertility, and magic. Various versions of their origins exist, as well as debates regarding their number. The most famous says that the Dactyls were born when mother goddess Rhea, in the throes of labour pains for Zeus, fell to the ground, plunging her fingers in Earth. The Dactyls, ten iron boys (or five boys and five girls), sprang up where she penetrated Earth. Their very first act was to successfully help Rhea with the childbirth that until then had been going badly.

The sons of the right hand become ironworkers; the sons of her left hand become shamans and magical practitioners. Another version says that the left-hand Dactyls cast spells and the right-hand Dactyls break them. The right hand may be Dactyl brothers; the left hand Dactyl sisters. Alternatively, there may be more or less than ten. There may be twenty on the right hand and thirty-two on the left. There may only be three. Three Dactyls are named:

• Akmon (“Anvil”)

• Damnameneus (literally “the Compeller,” a metaphor for a hammer)

• Kelmis (interpreted as “Knife”)

The Dactyls invented iron smelting. They are spirits of secret metal-working guilds, primordial, phallic spirits concerned with fertility, well-being, healing, and shamanism. They serve as healers and obstetricians and educated Athena in her youth.

Also known as:



The Dactyls are of small stature, sometimes described as Dwarves.

See Also:

  • Athena
  • Cabeiri
  • Hephaestus
  • Rhea
  • 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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