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The Moirai - Goddesses of fate

Updated: Mar 1

The Moirai or The fates in Greek Mythology are three sister goddesses who wove the destinies of everyone on earth, mortal humans and gods alike. They were extraordinarily powerful even compared to the Olympians and were feared throughout ancient Greece. They stood on the edge of time and had a view of the entire universe. The three fates had individual characteristics and different roles. I'll give a brief outline below but the Moirai are involved in so many of the Greek myths and intertwined in many stories that I couldn't possibly write it all down here.

black and white hand printed oracle card of the moirai or the fates
The Moirai by The Coventina Press


Clotho was the youngest of the three sisters, I have depicted her as a maiden in keeping with the maiden, mother, crone archetype that is so popular with triple goddesses such as these. It was the responsibility of Clotho to spin the thread of the cosmos and to weave the individual threads of life in to the tapestry of the universe. She was known as the Spinner. It was Clotho, on a cosmic level that kept balance in the universe, weaving the threads of life together. She knows all things and arranges them in order.


Lachesis, the mother. Middle aged, wise and just. She was the measurer. It was she who would give you 'your lot' She would divide, apportion and assign the parts of our existence. Fortune, folly, good and evil, love and hate. The triumphs and the obstacles. She took the cosmic order from clotho and allocated it out on a human level. She then measured the thread of your soul and passed it on her sister when your time was up.


Atropos the crone. The eldest and most feared of the sisters. Only to her could the most important role be given. Her duty was to cut the thread of life. The finality of death was in her hands. In some myths she is the one who decided when it was your time to go and in others she is simply the cutter, the ending already woven in to the tapestry by her sisters.

Free Will and the Fates

Although it would be easy to believe having read the above that no-one has any free will. That all has already been decided, predestined the moment you were born, it was more likely that the Greeks did believe in free will. The fates rather than controlling your destiny, simply knew your destiny. They knew every decision you would eventually make and how the life you were given would play out. and regardless of what power the fates had over your life, you were still judged on the way you lived it.

The ancient Greeks believed in judgement after death. You would be judged on how you lived the life you were given, did you overcome the struggles with honour? did you live humbly with your good fortunes? All of this speaks of free will, and that life is truly what you make of it and not what the Moirai gave you to begin with.


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