In Greek mythology/religion Nymphs had important roles. They were the main nature beings of Ancient Greece. There were three major water nymph groups. They were: Naiads, Oceanids, and Nereids. There were also many subwater groups of Nymphs. There were Nymphs for just about everything in nature except animals. There were even even specific Nymphs for the Mediterranean sea, but we’ll get to that later. Nymphs hardly ever wore clothing. Nymphs such as the water Nymphs and wood Nymphs depended on their home for survival. For example, if something ever happened to a water nymph’s body of water, they would suffer along with it. Same for the wood Nymphs. If something killed their tree, the would be killed too. Mostly they were healthy Nymphs. They were NOT immortal. The closest they came to immortality was the fact that they lived a long time. Much longer than any mortal would hope to live. They spent most of their lives falling in love, running through the forests, having fun, stuff like that. Nymphs often fell in love with mortal men. Sometimes they married them, sometimes they were rejected. Also, lots of Nymphs gave birth to Zeus’s children. Overall, Nymphs had pretty interesting lives.
I think Dionysus, Pan and Hermes had it figured out. In Greek mythology, a nymph was a class of naked female forms that lived in mountains, groves, by spings, rivers, lakes and oceans. No wonder we are drawn to these areas. The nymphs were believed to be drawn to the ‘superior divinities’ and were eager to serve. What a perfectly intoxicating idea. Naked women moving about eager to provide comfort and pleasure. How the nymphs transfered to entomological definitions is too much work for me right now. I am having more fun looking at nymph impressions on canvas. Yes, I read about Romans and Macedonia streams and nymphs and well, back to the paintings for me.
John William Waterhouse – Hylas and the Nymphs (1896). Ah, see this is the downside. Hylas, a young ‘friend’ of Hercules, went to the waters edge at night, in the moonlight the story goes, for water. He comes upon the sedutively lovely nymphs…he is drawn near for the kiss. The sweet kiss. He was drawn over the edge to the depths and never seen again. Perhaps this is why our nymphs have that sharp hook affixed as a reminder to be careful.