Meet the Kharites

(Well, that’s what I get for posting so close to actually going to sleep. I spent most of the 9th’s waking hours convinced I had something to do on-line, and it kept escaping me what. This last couple weeks have been fraught with allergy problems and, most recently, a cold. I’ve barely emerged from pyjamas the last three or four days, and for a couple days, I was avoiding my room in an effort to clear my head enough to try and narrow down what might be causing this new crop of allergic symptoms — and this is even while taking, daily, a pill, nasal spray, and anti-histamine eye-drops to control allergies.)

There are eighteen name Kharites: Phaenna and Kleta were worshipped in Sparta. Auxo, Hegemone and Damia were worshipped at Athens. Kharis and Kalleis seem to be alternate names of epithets for Aglaia and Euthymia an epithet of Euphrosyne. Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia are generally assumed to be the Kharites whose worship originated in Orkhomenos; Athenian vase paintings seem to regard as distinct from the primary three of Orkhomenos from the three attendants of Aphrodite.

In meditation, I’ve only really interacted with three Kharites, and They respond to the names Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia, so with my limites sources, I take this as a confirmation that my assumptions are correct of their Boeotian names. That doesn’t mean, though, that I believe there are only Three; as best as I can tell, there are others, but since my approach to Hellenism is tribal in practise and reconstructionist in method, I assume that Psykhe, under instruction from Eros, has so thouroughly marked my soul as Philoboeotian that this limits my interaction and need for the other goddesses also carrying the title of Kharis.

Aglaia is the Kharis of beauty, adornment, splendour, and opulence. She’s both like a Moisa of design and aesthetics, and the very essence that gives that special glint to a decorative gilt or an ornament’s sparkle. She’s the flower-girl at a wedding, the dancer covering himself in body glitter, and the hand that guides a teenager in the proper application of eyeliner — and at the same time, She’s the refined eye of a society dame selecting pearls and a fur stole, the fine edge that gave Piet Mondrian his clean lines, and the fine filigree that adorns the antique frame around a baroque painting.

Euphrosynê is the Kharis of merriment and joy. She is the one who gave mortals our first instructions to celebrate the happy moments, no matter how small. She designed the first parades that had fuck all to do with war victories, preferring to lead the delighted masses to weddings and noble births and travelling amusements. She brought the joy and pride to your mother’s eye when you brought home that splendid report card, and She whispered to your father to treat you to ice cream after your first oboe recital. She brings laughter and simple joys, and guides humour. She’s the original Amateur — She does things for the love of doing them, the joy it brings Herself and Those around Her, and finds Happiness to be the greatest calling.

Thalia is the Kharis of grand feasts and festive celebrations. She threw the first birthday party when She danced onto the shores of Kypris, scattering flower petals all the way for Aphrodite to walk upon. She was there at the wedding of William and Kate, for the relevancy of the crown means nothing to her, only the luxury of the party. She’s like a Moisa of parties, and would love nothing more than an en masse revival of the art of the hostess. She’s the urge to treat every guest as an excuse to get out the special occasion china and flatware and the fancy wine, and while She has an especial love for lavish occasions, She’s the reason family matriarchs have the compulsion to feed anybody through the front door for any reason and turn the most meagre left-overs into a feast.

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One thought on “Meet the Kharites

  1. Pingback: Weekly roundup of interesting links « The House of Vines

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