Saturday, August 10, 2013
Nemesis, Greek Goddess of Justice and Balance
Nemesis is the Greek Goddess of divine justice and retribution. She keeps happiness and unhappiness balanced among the mortals. She sees that justice is served for those who have acquired things in a malicious way. She is associated with the Moriai (Fates) and the Erinyes (Furies), all of these are deities dealing with mortal fate and emotion. Nemesis also brings about loss or suffering in those she feels have been experiencing too much good fortune. This brings balance into ones life and humbles us. The cycle of good and bad must continue in our lives to ensure that the correct lessons are taught. Nemesis sees to it that this gets done.
Daughter to Nyx and Oceanus, Nemesis punishes those who partake in excessive indulgence. Some myths claim that Zeus is her father, instead of Oceanus, as is portrayed in the myth aboutthe birth of Helen of Troy. It is said that Nemesis is the mother of Helen of Troy. In this story it is said that Nemesis was forced to lie with her father, Zeus. Though she did not want this and fled across the sea. Zeus pursued her and she transformed into a fish but this did not slow him down. Nemesis then took off over the land and she transformed into many different creatures. Still Zeus followed. Finally she turned into a goose and Zeus turned into a swan. He forced himself on her and after which Nemesis laid an egg. She kept the egg in a box and when it hatched, Helen of Troy emerged and Nemesis claimed her as her own.
Nemesis is portrayed as a winged goddess with a sword in her hand. She is associated with the apple branch, whip and with balance. She is sometimes referred to as Nemesis Rhamnusia which stems from her cult following at Rhamnus in Attica. There was a temple sanctuary there in her honor. She is said to be the mother of four of the Telkhines which were metalworker/sea daimones. They are known as mysterious magicians who crafted magical tools for the Gods. Their father was Tartaros who is the spirit of the great pit of the underworld.
In the tale of Narcissus, Nemesis is invoked by the nymph Echo to seek vengeance. Narcissus was known to be a quite handsome man, also quite vain. Everyone that laid eyes upon him fell in love with him although he rejected them all. Echo fell in love with Narcissus and when he rejected her, she became so sad that she faded away. But before she did she called on Nemesis for vengeance. Nemesis saw what happened to her and punished Narcissus by making him fall in love with his own reflection. He was condemned to stare at himself in the reflection of water in a pool for the rest of his days. There he wasted away, died and was transformed into the flower, Narcissus.
Nemesis will only see that justice is served if it is deserved, so take care when invoking her. You might be invoking your own punishment if the vengeance you seek is wrongly deserved.
I hope you enjoyed learning about this ancient Greek Goddess!
Image courtesy of Camp Half Blood
Posted by Tara at 1:57 PM