In Greek mythology, the Hesperides were the nymphs of the evening and golden light of sunset. They were the daughters of Atlas and Hesperis or Nyx and were responsible for guarding the garden of the golden apples, which was in the far west at the edge of the world.
The garden was tended by another nymph named Ladon, who was the dragon-like guardian of the apples. The Hesperides themselves were sometimes depicted as tending the garden as well. The golden apples were said to grant immortality to whoever ate them, and they were often sought after by heroes such as Hercules. We will get further into the symbolism and knowing of this fruit soon!
The names of the Hesperides are Aegle (Radiance or Splendor), Erytheia (“Red One” or the “Sunset Glow”), and Hesperia (Evening Star, Venus, and the “Western Land”). As a note, sometimes the number and the names of the Hesperides vary depending on the source. Some versions mention a fourth Hesperide named Arethusa or Arethousa, and others refer to a group of seven Hesperides.
Aegle was one of the three Hesperides in Greek mythology who guarded the garden of golden apples, which was located in the far west beyond the reaches of the known world. Aegle’s name is derived from the Greek word “aigle”, which means “radiance” or “splendor”.
Aegle is often depicted as a beautiful and graceful nymph, with golden hair and delicate wings.
Her beauty and radiance were said to rival that of the sun itself. As one of the guardians of the garden of golden apples, Aegle was responsible for keeping watch over the tree that bore the precious fruit, which was said to grant immortality to whoever ate it. Her radiance and splendor symbolize the beauty and majesty of the natural world, while her role as a guardian of the golden apples represents the importance of protecting and preserving precious resources. In some stories, Aegle is also associated with the god of medicine and healing, Asclepius. She is said to have played a role in his upbringing, and her connection to healing reinforces the idea of the Hesperides as guardians and protectors of valuable resources that are essential to human well-being.
Erytheia was one of the three Hesperides who were the nymphs of the evening and the golden light of sunset. Her name, Erytheia, means “the Red One” or “the Blushing One,” and is associated with the sunset and the glowing hues of the western sky. According to some versions of the myth, Erytheia was also the name of an island in the far west, where the garden of golden apples was located.
In some myths, Erytheia is also associated with Geryon, a three-headed monster who lived on the island of Erytheia and was said to have stolen the golden apples.
The hero Hercules was tasked with retrieving the golden apples from Geryon, and in the course of his quest, he slew the monster and returned the apples to their rightful place in the garden. Erytheia is often depicted as a beautiful and alluring nymph, with red or golden hair and a radiant glow. Her connection to the sunset and the western sky symbolizes the fleeting beauty and transience of life, as well as the idea of a journey into the unknown.
Hesperia was one of the three Hesperides, the nymphs of the evening and golden light of sunset, in Greek mythology. Along with her sisters Aegle and Erytheia, she was responsible for guarding the garden of golden apples, which was located in the far west beyond the reaches of the known world. The name Hesperia means “the Land of the Evening,” and is associated with the setting sun and the western horizon. She is often depicted as a beautiful and ethereal nymph, with flowing hair and delicate wings, embodying the beauty and wonder of the natural world.
In some versions of the myth, Hesperia is also associated with the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite.
According to one story, Hesperia was one of the daughters of Atlas, the Titan who held up the sky, and was given to Aphrodite as a handmaid. In this role, she served as a companion and attendant to the goddess, embodying the ideal of feminine beauty and grace. Hesperia’s role as a guardian of the garden of golden apples represents the importance of protecting and preserving valuable resources. The golden apples were said to grant immortality to whoever ate them, making them a prized possession that had to be safeguarded against all who would seek to take them for themselves.
Welcoming Each One
Spend a few minutes each evening calling to these sisters. They may have a message in their greeting or they may have questions surrounding our garden, especially our ways of cultivating and nourishing it. They may reveal to you hidden obstacles within yourself or have suggestions. The opportunity to link arms with them is a proverbial “ball in your court” playing field for dreams.
A Candle & A Key,
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