Monday, April 22, 2019

story of the week 112, N is for Nymph

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge 

N Is For Nymph

I am not writing about a female disease that is characterized by morbid and uncontrollable sexual desire, as that refers to Nymphomania and I am not writing about an excessive desire for sex.  Since my AZ Challenge is about cryptids, legendary beasts, magical beings, paranormal creatures, monsters, mythical and imaginary beings, I am writing about the mythical spirits of nature, although that might make a good post for some other day.  I like nymphs and the nymphs associated with  Bacchus or Dionysus were known for their sexual activity, however the nymphs that I am discussing are those little spirits who resemble a beautiful young women and inhabit lakes, the sea, rivers, fields, meadows, caves, mountains, grottos, woods and other parts of nature.  Nymphs are like fairies in that they were unpredictable, a little scary, and often showed up in folktales.  Nymphs represented the ideal beautiful woman, they were the source of new life and had the ability to nurture it.  The nymphs were usually associated with fertile, growing things, such as trees, or with water.  They were not immortal but were extremely long-lived and were on the whole kindly disposed toward men.  The name Nymph literally means Bride and sometimes the division between nymphs and goddesses gets blurred.  A nymphet is a little, or young, nymph and the male counterpart of a nymph is the Satyr.
Nymphs dwell in streams, pools, they can appear in a whirlwind or some other places where humans are usually not. They were distinguished according to the sphere of nature with which they were connected.  When nymphs weren’t inhabiting some specific part of nature, they were often the attendants of more important deities.  They are often classified as being either Celestial, Land, Water, Wood and Plant or Underworld nymphs.  The Acheloids were river nymphs, Alseids were the nymphs of glens and groves, Anthousai are nymphs of flowers with hair that resembled the hyacinth, Asteriae were nymphs of the stars, the Auloniad was a nymph who could be found in mountain pastures and river valleys, often in the company of Pan, the god of nature, Aurae were nymphs of the breezes, the Crinaeae were a type of Naiad nymphs associated with fountains or wells, Daphnaie were nymphs of laurel trees, the Dodonides or the Nysian nymphs cared for Dionysus, Dryads were associated with forests, the Eleionomae or Heleionomai were the naiads of marshes and wetlands, the Epimelides were nymphs of meadows and pastures who protected flocks of sheep and guarded fruit-trees especially apple trees, Hamadryads lived inside trees, Haliae were the nymphs of the sea and the seashore, Hekaterides were nymphs of rustic country dance, Hesperides were nymphs of evening and golden light of sunsets, Hyades were the nymphs that brought rain, Hydriads were keepers of all bodies of water and the daughters of important Sea Gods, Hyleoroi were woodland nymphs, Hyperboreioi were nymphs that presided over aspects of archery, Idaian nymphs nursed the infant Zeus, Kabeirides were nymphs of the blacksmith who discovered iron and forged metal, Kissiae were nymphs that inhabited Ivy, Lampades were torch bearing nymphs of the underworld, Leimoniads were nymphs of meadows and flowers, Lenai were nymphs of the wine-press, Limnades were nymphs associated with lakes, Maenads were nymphs of frenzied dance, Meliads were associated with ash trees, Mimallones were nymphs of Bacchic orgy and frenzy music, the Naiads presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, brooks, rivers, lakes and other bodies of fresh water, Napaea lived in valleys and dells, the Nereids inhabited both saltwater and freshwater, Nymphai were nymphs of the natural world that maintained the forces of nature, the Oceanids were sea nymphs, the Oreads were nymphs of mountains and grottoes, Pegaeae were a type of naiad that lived in springs, the Pleiades aka Atlantides were the seven mountain nymphs daughters of Atlas and Pleione, Potameides were naiad nymphs that presided over rivers and streams, the Sylph are the nymphs of the air, Themeides were nymph prophets and keepers of certain divine artifacts and Thyiai were orgiastic nymphs that attended to the needs of Dionysus.
There were an amazing number of Nymphs from Greek Mythology.  The Muses were referred to as water nymphs, the Sirens were sea nymphs, the Horae or Hours were nymphs who guarded the gates of heavens and Olympus and the Graces were nymphs that fell from the sky.  Nephele was a cloud nymph and Odysseus discovered a Cave of the Nymphs. Echo was a Oreads nymph, the famous one who fell in love with Narcissus. The Melissae were originally known as The Thriae nymphs and they were divinatory Priestesses of honey bees, who were able to see the future, interpret signs and omens provided by Nature and the Earth.  Some underworld nymphs include the Cocytiae, Orphne, Leuce, Minthe and Melinoe.  The Amnisiades, Anigrides and the Tagides are river nymphs for specific rivers and the Nysiades were mountain nymphs for a specific mountain.  Other tree nymphs include Daphnaeae (Laurel tree), Balanos (Oak), Kraneia (Dogwood), Morea (Mulberry), Aigeiros (Poplar) and the Ptelea (Elm).