Naiad Picture

In Greek mythology, the Naiads were a type of nymph who presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, and brooks, as river gods embodied rivers, and some very ancient spirits inhabited the still waters of marshes, ponds and lagoon-lakes, such as pre-Mycenaean Lerna in the Argolid. Naiads were associated with fresh water, as the Oceanids were with saltwater and the Nereids specifically with the Mediterranean; but because the Greeks thought of the world's waters as all one system, which percolated in from the sea in deep cavernous spaces within the bosom of the earth, to rise freshened in seeps and springs, there was some overlap.

Otherwise, the essence of a Naiad was bound to her spring. If a Naiad's body of water dried, she died.

They were often the object of archaic local cults, worshipped as essential to fertility and human life. Boys and girls at coming-of-age dedicated their childish locks to the local naiad of the spring. In places like Lerna their waters' ritual cleansings were credited with magical medical properties. Animals were ritually drowned there. Oracles might be sited by ancient springs.

Naiads could be dangerous: Hylas of the Argo's crew was lost when he was taken by naiads fascinated by his beauty (illustration, above right). The naiads were also known to exhibit jealous tendencies. Theocritus' story of naiad jealousy was that of a shepherd, Daphnis, who was the lover of Nomia; Daphnis had on several occasions been unfaithful to Nomia and as revenge she permanently blinded him. Salmacis forced the god Hermaphroditus into a carnal embrace and, when he sought to get away, fused with him.

The Naiads were either daughters of Zeus or various Oceanids, but a genealogy for such ancient, ageless creatures is easily overstated. The water nymph associated with particular springs was known all through Europe in places with no direct connection with Greece, surviving in the Celtic wells of northwest Europe that have been rededicated to Saints, and in the medieval Melusine.

CS2, about 3 working hours

Not commercial only.


I am thanking:

=lockstock for Naiad [link]

~poison-stock112 for the waterfall [link]

=gallery-of-dreams for grass [link]

*redheadstock for brushes of water [link]


"I give my permission to