Who are the Moirai?


In the Greek mythology, the Moirai are the personifications of Destiny (or Fate). Before to become three distinct divinities, Moirai were a concept then an impersonal entity. In times, the Moirai progressed to three divinities symbolising and managing the human life cycle: the birth, the lifetime and the death. Clotho spins the life thread, Lachesis uncoils it and Atropos cut it. According to the sources, they would be daughters of Zeus and Themis, being because of this sisters with the Horai (the Hours), or daughters of the Night, belonging in this way to the first forces of the world. The Moirai have not they own story but appear in several tales, like the Homer’s Iliad (Book XX, 128) and Odyssey (Book III, 269). Their Roman equivalents are the Parcae (Grimal 1951, p. 300, 348 ; Homère 1961, p. 35 ; Homère 1962, p. 419).

The myth of the Moirai has passed through the centuries and contemporary popular culture has taken up their legend by making appear the three sisters or only one of them. Thus, Atropos appears alone in the TV series Supernatural (season 6) while the three goddesses are the protagonists of the cartoon Disney Hercule (1997). More recently, the TV show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018) took up the figure of the three “Sisters of Fate” by staging a feminine trio of young witches bound by friendship.

 

The Moirai in Livre des échecs amoureux moralisés (Evrart de Conty, vers 1500). Source : BNF, Français 143