Lethe | Greek Goddess

Lethe Greek Mythology

In Ancient Greece, Lete or Léthê (in Ancient Greek λήθη; [ˈlεːt̪ʰεː], Modern Greek: [ˈliθi]) literally means "forgetfulness." Its opposite is the Greek word for "truth" - Aleteia.

In Greek mythology, Lethe is one of the rivers of Hades. Those who drank from its water or even touched its water would experience complete oblivion.

Lete is also one of the Naiads, daughter of the goddess Eris, mistress of discord, sister of Algea, Limos, Horcos and Ponos.

Some esoteric religions taught that there was another river, the Mnemósine, and drinking from its waters would make one remember everything and achieve omniscience.

Initiates were taught that if given the choice of which river to drink from after death, they should drink from the Mnemosyne instead of the Lethe. The two rivers appear in various verses inscribed on gold plates from the 4th century B.C. onward, in Tury, in the southern Italian peninsula, and throughout the Greek world.

River Lethe

The river Lete (from the Greek Λήθη Lếthê, "forgetfulness" or "concealment") is a river of Hades where anyone who drank from its waters forgot past lives. Soon, Lete came to symbolize forgetfulness.

Its location in the Lower World (Hades domain) is contradictory. In some versions, the Lethe is in the Elysian Fields, its inhabitants would stay in Paradise for 1,000 years until everything earthly in them was erased; then, drinking from the waters of the Lethe, they would forget all their lives and reincarnate or perform metempsychosis (reincarnation, in beings of the same or other species).

In other versions, the Lethe was in the field of the Asphodel in the Underworld, a place of melancholy, where the dead did not suffer torment. Its most accepted location is in the Elysian Fields.

The River Lethe in the Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri, involves pagan Greek traditions and Catholic traditions. In the second part of the work, Purgatory, the Lethe appears as a river from whose waters sinners had to drink in order to erase from memory their sins committed - and already erased by the purifying punishments of Purgatory - and enter Heaven.