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.




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


  • 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.


Related Articles


Rhea The Great Mother; Mother of the Gods Rhea, Greek Earth Goddess, is an avatar of Gaia. Her name derives from an archaic word for…


Ganymede was a Trojan king’s gorgeous young son, described as the handsomest boy in the world, the male equivalent of Helen of Troy. His beauty…


Cabeiri (great, mighty?) In Greek and Roman mythology, ancient deities worshipped with secret rites especially in Boeotia and at Lemnos and Samothrace along the coast…


Telchines The Telchines are mysterious, magical spirits who rule the island of Rhodes. Sea spirits, their mother is Thalassa. The Telchines are magicians, shamans, and…


Cabeiro, mother of the Cabeiri, was venerated in Northern Aegean Mystery traditions. Surviving myth suggests that she was a local Nymph, daughter of the sea,…