Greek goddess of vengeance, divine justice, and retribution against evil deeds. Nemesis, whose name means “dispenser of dues,” was called upon by ancient Greeks and Romans to exorcise and avert Demons and Possession.
In mythology, Nemesis is the daughter of either Oceanus or Zeus. She is usually portrayed as a somber winged maiden with a whip, rein, sword, or scales in her left hand. Sometimes she is portrayed as holding a cubit ruler in her left hand and a staff in her right, with one foot on a wheel. She personifies resentment against men who commit callous crimes, those who are wicked and insolent, and those who have too much good fortune. Her job is to be the “leveler,” to effect equilibrium by making sure that wrongdoers get their due.
The Romans called Nemesis Invidia (Jealousy) and Rivalitas (Jealous Rivalry). In modern terms, a “nemesis” is one’s worst enemy.
Nemesis-stone rings were Amulets against evil. A Nemesis stone was a stone taken from an altar to Nemesis and engraved with her image. Placed under the stone were the tip of a duck wing and a piece of a mullein, called “death plant.” When this ring amulet was given to a person who was possessed, it caused the Demon to confess himself and flee. When worn around the neck, the ring warded off nightmares caused by Demons and protected children against Lamiae. The ring also cured “moonstruck” conditions (insanity). In order for the ring to work properly, the wearer had to avoid everything abominable and wicked. Lore also held that the ring would reveal the length of someone’s life and the manner of his or her death.
– Ogden, Daniel. Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A Sourcebook. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Nemesis, the goddess of divine justice and retribution, spins the wheel of fortune as a warning and promise that what goes around, comes around. She is implacable and remorseless, but she is not cruel. Nemesis distributes just desserts. She is the spirit of righteous, justified anger, directing her powers against those who have violated cosmic order. Nemesis has broader jurisdiction than the Erinyes, who may be her sisters. While the Erinyes only avenge shed blood, Nemesis takes action wherever natural laws are flouted, broken, or disrespected.
Nemesis Stones are stones taken from an altar of Nemesis. Stones are engraved with an image of Nemesis, usually in the form of a young woman standing with one foot on a wheel. They were worn as amulets around the neck and set into rings. They exorcise and ward off evil spirits as well as preventing and banishing nightmares and healing the moonstruck.
Nemesis serves as a personal goddess offering protection and sponsorship to devotees. Those who invoke her protection are expected to behave honorably and to uphold natural moral code.
Greek apocalyptic prophecy suggests that when humanity finally achieves maximum wickedness, Nemesis and Aidos, Goddess of Shame will abandon Earth, and then the hard times will really start. Nemesis hasn’t left yet and is still administering justice: German painter Alfred Rethel (15 May 1816–1 December 1859) painted her as an avenging angel in hot pursuit in his 1837 painting, “Nemesis Pursuing a Murderer.” According to legend, a high-ranking man with secret, undiscovered crimes on his conscience won Rethel’s painting in a Frankfurt lottery. Contemplation of Nemesis’ portrait allegedly drove him mad.
Nemesis resembles modern images of angels. She is a winged, wreathed woman, usually dressed in white. She may also manifest as a griffin.
Egyptian faience amulets from the Roman period (circa second century CE) depicting Nemesis in the guise of a griffin with her wheel of fate were used to ward off bad luck.
Wheel of fate, cubit ruler, staff, branch laden with apples, hourglass, scales, bridle, scourge, sword
• Nemesis’ closest companion is Aidos, Goddess of Shame.
• Nemesis may be worshipped together with Themis, Goddess of Divine Order.
• Artemis is Nemesis’ good friend.
• Nemesis is often found in the company of Tyche, Goddess of Fortune, if only to ensure that people get what they deserve.
• Nemesis is the daughter of Nyx and sometimes identified as the secret mother of Helen of Troy. Images from her shrine at Rhamnous showed Leda presenting Helen to Nemesis.
Creature: Griffins pull her chariot
Her primary sanctuary at Rhamnous, Greece, dates back to at least the sixth century BCE.
Artemis; Erinyes; Helen of Troy; Nyx; Themis; Tyche
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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