The Graeae are from Greek mythology and you know them as the three sisters that shared one eye, one tooth and one grey wig. Graeae translates to grey women, grey sisters or grey witches. The Graeae were the sisters of the Gorgons, so Medusa was their sister. The symbolism in this side story has a lot to tell. The Greek scribes were very witty. To really understand this post you will need to read my Magic post or have an understanding of magic.
First let’s start with the name Graeae. Most people think it derived from the greek graia meaning ‘old woman’. This is why they are usually depicted as old ladies. The true translation is ‘grey ones’. The scribes using grey is showing neutrality. Being three of them, they represent the triple goddess or the three aspects of the goddess. The triple goddess is the maiden, mother and crone and the tree aspects of the goddess are body, earth and night sky. I know I’m correct on this because the one eye is the eye of the goddess. I know the popular version of the Graeae is three old ladies, but some scribes have shown them as young and beautiful and others have shown them as half-swan.
Their names were Deino(dread), Enyo(horror) and Pemphredo(alarm). All three of these are basically fear and anxiety. They are forms of lower consciousness and they keep you from imposing your will. Having one tooth to share is also a symbol of insecurity. If you only have one tooth you can’t “sink your teeth” into something and you definitely can’t “bite off more than you can chew”. The wig is symbolizes wisdom and spiritual authority, but they only have one to share. So they are lacking in wisdom and spiritual authority. They only have one eye to share and the eye symbolizes the eye of the goddess. They eye of the goddess is the subconscious. They can’t consciously see what the goddess or subconscious is bringing to them.
What is all this neutrality, fear, lack of wisdom and lack spiritual authority symbolizing? If you have read my Magic post, you know that the goddess or sacred feminine is very important. But the sacred masculine is just as important. This fantastic story is telling of how someone knows the goddess, but fear and being neutral keeps the magic from happening. This is confirmed in the myth when Perseus comes asking where the nymphs and the three objects are that he needs to kill Medusa. In some versions he wants to know where Medusa is located.To see what Medusa represents read the Medusa post. Perseus takes the eye and they give in to his demands. They tell him everything he needs to know. This is being very passive. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself. You can’t just get rid of your will or ego all together. The magic happens when you use it with the sacred feminine.
The story is symbolizing someone who has found the sacred feminine, but they become to passive, submissive or neutral. This could also be why they are old, showing that they don’t have the energy to impress the will. Balancing the masculine with the feminine is the key to great magic, but you also have to be able to move in and out of each side when the need arises. The Yin and Yang symbol. Live in abundance in all aspects of the sacred feminine and the sacred masculine. Lastly, as so much of ancient Greek mythology is astrological. The the three sisters are pointing to a very ancient name for Orion’s belt. Orion’s belt was known as the Three Sisters in some ancient civilizations.
2 thoughts on “The Graeae”
Thank you for writing this article about the Graeae. They recently came into my consciousness when I was meditating on the High Priestess tarot card. I’m currently taking an art journaling class wherein we are exploring our personal relationship with each one of the 22 Major Arcana. I knew that they represented some shadow aspect of the High Priestess and, I knew about the Graeae’s relationship with Medusa. I have been working with the Medusa archetype/myth for some time but, I was still having trouble fleshing out the meaning for me. I realize now that my natural bent towards intuition and insight are not balanced due to an under-developed Animus or masculine side. Medusa’s story shows us where the masculine will was too strong– violating the feminine. The Graeae’s story is the opposite– it shows a weak inner masculine– which also weakens the expression of the feminine.
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You are welcome. Great comment! It is all about balancing the masculine and feminine. When they work together great things can be accomplished.
I love the Tarot. A lot of my discoveries come from working with the Tarot.