Ash Tree Nymphs, also known as Meliae, were born from the blood of Uranus when he was castrated by his son, the Titan Cronus. The blood fell to the earth and impregnated Gaia (Earth), thus creating the Furies, the Giants, and the Meliae. The Meliae are specifically the nymphs that inhabit ash-trees.
The ash tree nymphs are thought to be the same as the honey-nymphs, Ida and Adrasteia, that were nurses to the god Zeus. Ida and Adrasteia were called Meliai.
Ash trees exude a sugary substance that the Greeks called manna. Manna from ash trees and honey from bees were considered ambrosial foods or foods that had fallen from heaven.
Meliae and the Dawn of Man
The ash tree nymphs were wed by the men of the Silver Age, a time before the first woman, and it is from them that all mankind has descended. They are the mothers of the Age of Bronze, mankind’s third generation. It is said that the sons were nursed from the honey of their mothers and that they would craft spears from their mothers’ branches.
The Meliae were typically invoked as a group; however, there are a few myths that give them individual names such as Melia, Io, Philodice, Inachus, and Aegialeus. As Cronus was the one to castrate his father, Uranus, it is only appropriate the the ash tree nymphs also played a part in the downfall of Cronus. They became an overly aggressive warring race which suffered the wrath of Zeus. The Meliae were destroyed in the flood of the Great Deluge.
Facts About The Meliae
- The Meliae were not only associated with the ash tree but also symbolized the connection between heaven and earth.
- While the Meliae are primarily known for their connection to ash trees, that’s not their only role in in ancient mythology.
- They also embody the natural cycle of life and death and through this, reflect the regenerative powers of nature.
- The ash tree, sacred to the Meliae, was considered a cosmic axis in some ancient cultures. Seen as symbolic to the bridge between the mortal world and the divine worlds.
- The Meliae’s association with manna and honey highlights their role as nurturers. They brought forth ambrosia, providing both spiritual and physical sustenance.
- Despite their nurturing role, the Meliae’s lineage also ties them to more fearsome and formidable aspects of Greek mythology. They are linked by birth, to both the Furies and the Giants.
- The myth of the Meliae underscores the ancient Greeks’ reverence for trees. Ancients viewed them not just as plants but as entities with divine connections and spiritual significance.
- The destruction of the Meliae in the Great Deluge is a reminder of the cyclical nature of destruction and rebirth. A central theme in the mythology of ancient Greece.
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