ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Mythological Fates

Updated on June 2, 2012

The Fates

The Fates were three mythological Greek goddesses who decided the course, or threads, of a person’s life. These goddesses, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, often depicted as old women spinning, were believed to determine the events in and duration of someone’s life. It was believed Clotho spun the thread representing a person’s life, Lachesis decided how the life would be lived and Atropos was the one who decided for how long and had shears to cut the thread. Collectively they were known as the Moerae.

The Fates were popular in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature. There is a scene in Homer’s Odyssey which refers to them. They were also depicted as individuals by some, who believed the three, were in charge of watching over a person’s fate.

According to the poet Hesiod, the Fates were the daughters of Zeus and Themis. Hesiod confuses his readers though by identifying them in some of his work as the offspring of Nyx, the goddess of Night.

According to legend, the Fates are old enough to have been in existence before any of the other mythological gods. It is not known exactly how powerful the three in combination were. It’s thought by some they determine the fate of the gods as well. Therefore, even they fear them. Some Greeks claim the Fates visit the cradle of every newborn infant to determine their future…kind of like more modern Fairy Godmothers.

In most mythologies the three represent the rulers of the past, present and future. Many believe they symbolize a trinity of goddesses, the Virgin, Mother and Crone. The Crone was depicted as Creator, Preserver and Destroyer.

The Fates appear in numerous other mythologies as well. In most they were also seen as weavers, so perhaps there is a common thread leading to their origin.The Romans called her Fotuna, also a trinity. To the Babylonian’s, her name was Mammetum, meaning "Mother of Destiny.” However, some researchers have suggested all may have originated from the primordial Indo-European Kali Ma or “Mother of Karma.”

In other trinity mythologies they appear in guises as the Horae, Graces, Muses, Gorgons, and Furies as well as a host of others. There were, the Norns or “Weird Sisters of the north,” the Zorya of the Slavs, the Morrigan of the Irish and Guinevere or Brigit of the Britons.

There were others, such as the Trinity of Aphrodite, better known as the Horae. The Horae were the three celestial nymphs, Eunomia, Dike and Eirene, meaning Order, Peace, and Justice. The names refer to each of their responsibilities.

The Slav’s believed the Fates decisions were not set in concrete and magic could sometimes be used in influencing them, allowing them to live a longer life. But, not all consisted of a trinity. A Russian myth holds a young maiden, the Virgin of Dawn, was the first Fate. Another similar equivalent would be the Greek god Eros.

By the middle ages, in many cultures the Fates had degenerated to the status of fairies and elves. But they are still alive and well in Greek Mythology and others, although with varying minute changes. For instance, Greeks will leave food in the room of a newborn to put the Fates in a better mood before they make their decisions concerning the child. Gypsy legends say "three ladies in white" stand at the cradle of a child and later in life, when it’s time, take back the soul.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Daffy Duck profile image

      Daffy Duck 

      6 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

      Stephen King wrote a book called Insomnia. It emntioned the 3 fates by name. Have you heard of it? It's a classic Stephen King novel.

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      I don't remember what site it was, but it's possible my source was incorrect. Just google "the fates" and you'll probably find it.

    • parwatisingari profile image


      6 years ago from India

      This was an interesting read, but could you give me the reference for Kali-ma being the mother of Karma? I cannot Kali as far as I have learnt my religion is not the mother of Karma.

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Thank you, I have 672 others to keep you busy.

    • profile image

      Ana Louis 

      6 years ago

      I liked this and found it very interesting.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)