The Moirae, or Goddesses of Fate, of ancient Greek mythology and religion were banished with the adoption of Christianity, along with the entire Pagan pantheon. They eventually reemerged, although not quite in the same positions of power. The Fates of modern Greek folklore are birth Fairies, members of the Exotika.
The Fates consistently show up on the third night following the birth of a baby. Where will they appear? Wherever the baby is, that’s where. If the baby is at home, then that’s their destination. If the baby is in a hospital, they’ll turn up there, too, although it may be more difficult to arrange the offering table they anticipate.
Lock up the dog. Clear a path. Remove anything that could trip or obstruct these little old lady spirits. It does no good to annoy them. Make them feel welcome. Leave them a mode of entry, an open window, or an unlocked door. Theoretically, they can even get through a pet door, although this may put them in a bad mood.
These are all formalities, signs of respect. Locking doors and windows won’t keep them out if they’re determined to get in. However, a warm welcome puts them in the mood to deliver a happy, auspicious fate or perhaps to mediate and intercede if the decreed fate is dire. Unlike the ancient Moirae, it’s unclear whether modern Fates decree fate or just deliver the news.
Leave a light burning for the Fates. Candles or oil lamps are traditional, but they’re modern spirits: a small electric lamp works, too. Keep lights low, not too harsh.
Place an offering table in the center of the room in which the baby sleeps.
Set it with three chairs, stools, or cushions, the lower to the ground the better.
4. Burn aromatic herbs in the room to welcome them.
Offer them cakes made with salt and honey so that they’ll reveal the fate. (Traditionally only the baby, the mother, and possibly the midwife is able to see them.)
Give them lots of honey so that their decrees will be sweet. (See Also: Kitchen God.)
Give them a dish of honey (preferably Greek honey but any will do) with white almonds sprinkled on top.
In the morning, wrap up everything in a clean white cloth and respectfully dispose of it outside the house.
The three Fates traditionally manifest as elderly women. At least one is always spinning. One carries a book to record decrees and one ominously carries a pair of shears. They are temperamental and sometimes a little grouchy but can be very kind and generous if treated with deference and respect.
- Birth Fairies
- Fates (1)
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.