In Greek mythology, the Moirai – better known as the Fates – are the three goddesses who carry out a person’s destiny. When someone is born, Clotho spins the thread of his or her life, while Lachesis measures the thread and Atropos it cuts with her shears when it is time for that person to die.
The Moirai acted more or less independently of the other Greek gods to ensure that everyone’s eternal fate proceeded without obstruction. Even the gods had to submit to them — though some sources say that Zeus could interfere with someone’s fate when he really wanted to.
Ancient sources describe the Moirai as stern, old women who are ugly and, sometimes, lame, to boot. Clotho is usually depicted with a spindle, while Lachesis holds a staff and Atropos a pair of shears. Continue reading →
Although written nearly 150 years ago, Modest Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” feels incredibly modern. Mussorgsky composed the piece – about a witches’ Sabbath and Satan worship on St. John’s Eve – over 12 sleepless days in 1860, finishing on St. John’s Eve itself. In a letter to Vladimir Nikolsky, he said of the work:
“[I]t seethed within me so, and I simply didn’t know what was happening within me… I see in my wicked prank an independent Russian product, free from German profundity and routine… grown on our native fields and nurtured on Russian bread.”