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Observations placeholder

Mircea Eliade - The Moon, Spiders, Fate and Destiny



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Patterns in Comparative religion

The moon, ... simply because she is mistress of all living things and sure guide of the dead, has 'woven' all destinies.  Not for nothing is she envisaged in myth as an immense spider – an image you will find used by a great many peoples.  For to weave is not merely to predestine anthropologically, and to join together differing realities cosmologically, but also to create, to make something of one's own substance as the spider does in spinning its web.  And the moon is the inexhaustible creator of all living forms.

But like everything woven, the lives thus created are fixed in a pattern; they have a destiny.  The Moirai, who spin fates, are lunar divinities.  Homer calls them the spinners, and one of them is even called Clotho, which means spinner.  They probably began by being goddesses of birth, but they later development of thought raised them to the position of personifications of fate.  Yet their lunar nature was never totally lost to view.

Porphyry said the Moirai were dependent on the forces of the moon, and an Orphic text looks in them as forming part of the moon.  In the ld Germanic languages, one of the words for fate – Old High German wurt, Old Norse urdhr, Anglo Saxon wyrd, - comes from an Indo-European verb uert, turn, whence we get the Old High German words wirt, wirtel, spindle, distaff and the Dutch word worwelen turn

The source of the experience

Mysteries, the

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps