"The Four Nymphs" by Eichenelf

“The Camenae’s themes are divination, protection, victory, children, birth and communication.  Their symbols are written word, any divination tool and fertility symbols.  This group of Goddesses correspond to the Muses of Greek tradition: they know our past, see what’s in store in the future, foretell children’s fates, and teach us the effective use of ‘letters’ (the alphabet), the arts, and how to tell fortunes. They also oversee midwives.

The festival of Megalesia celebrates the accuracy of the Sibylline oracles, who predicted the way for the Roman victory in the Punic Wars. Romans traditionally honored the Great Mother of the Gods, Cybele, today with music and song, so put on some magical tunes! The Camenae will saturate the music and uplift your spirit.

Ask the Camenae to help you write personalized invocations or spells today. Put pen to pad and let these Goddesses inspire sacred words suited to your path and needs. Keep these in a magic journal for the future.

The Roman oracles often drew lots to determine a querent’s answer. If you have a question weighing heavily on your heart today, follow this custom and take out some variegated beans. Hold them. Concentrate on the question, then pick out one bean. A black one means ‘no’; white means ‘yes’. Red means that anger is driving action, brown means things are muddled, and green indicates growth potential. If you don’t have beans, colored buttons are a suitable alternative.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

In Roman mythology, the Camenae (also Casmenae, Camoenae) were originally Goddesses of childbirth, wells and fountains, and also prophetic deities.

There were four Camenae: Carmenta, Egeria, Antevorta (also Porrima) and Postverta (also Postvorta or Prorsa).

The last two were sometimes specifically referred to as the Carmentae, and in ancient times might have been two aspects of Carmenta rather than separate figures; in later times, however, they are distinct beings believed to protect women in labor.

“Carmenta or Carmentis was the chief among the nymphs.  Not only was She a Goddess of childbirth and prophecy, but She was also associated with technological innovation. She was also said to have invented the Latin alphabet. The name Carmenta is derived from Latin carmen, meaning a magic spell, oracle or song, and also the root of the English word charm. Though She is an ancient Italian Goddess, in later times Carmenta was said to have come from Greece: in that story She is said to have originally been a prophetess of Arcadia called Nicostrate, but it was changed later to honor Her renown for giving oracles. She was the mother of Evander and along with other followers they founded the town of Pallantium, which later was one of the sites of the start of Rome. Gaius Julius Hyginus (Fab. 277) mentions the legend that it was She who altered fifteen letters of the Greek alphabet to become the Latin alphabet, which Her son Evander introduced into Latium.

It was forbidden to wear leather or other forms of dead skin in her temple, which was next to the Porta Carmentalis in Rome.  On Her festival day, the Carmentalia, which fell on January the 11 and 15, Vestal Virgins drew water from that spring for the rites.” [1] [2]


Egeria was a nymph or minor Goddess attributed a legendary role in the early history of Rome as a divine consort and counselor of the Sabine second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, to whom She imparted laws and rituals pertaining to ancient Roman religion. Her name is used as an eponym for a female advisor or counselor.  Her origin is unclear; She is consistently, though not in a very clear way, associated with another figure of the Diana type; their cult is known to have been celebrated at sacred groves, such as the site of Nemi at Aricia, and another one close to Rome, expedient for Her presumed regular meetings with King Numa; both Goddesses are also associated with water; gifted with wondrous, religious or medical properties (the source in that grove at Rome was dedicated to the exclusive use of the Vestal Virigns); their cult was associated with other, male figures of even more obscure meaning, such as one named Virbius, or a Manius Egerius, presumably a youthful male, that anyway in later years was identified with figures like Atys or Hippolyte, because of the Diana reference.

After the death of Numa the nymph pined away and was changed into a fountain.  The spring and grove outside the Porta Capena was dedicated to Egeria.

Described sometime as a ‘mountain nymph’ (by Plutarch), She is usually regarded as a water nymph and somehow Her cult also involved some link with childbirth, like the Greek Goddess Ilithyia.” [2]


“Antevorta and Postvorta were probably at first two aspects of Carmenta who in time became important enough on Their own to be considered seperate Goddesses, though They were still generally believed to be sisters or attendents of Carmenta. Their names refer to Their prophetic powers that come into play at the birth of a child: both come from the root vertere, meaning ‘to change, turn, or alter’; so Antevorta then means, ‘Before Change’ and Postvorta ‘After Change’.  At the Carmentalia these two aspects were especially celebrated; and given that the festival was held on the 11th and the 15th of January (not the 11th through the 15th of January), perhaps They were each given one day, Antevorta turning towards the past on the 11th, and Postvorta to the future on the 15th. Alternatively, Postvorta is sometimes spelled Postverta, glossed as ‘feet first’, referring to the breech position of birth, while Antevorta was called Prorsa (‘straight forwards’) or Porrima, both taken to mean ‘head first’, the more usual position of a baby at birth.” [3]

The Camenae were later identified with the Greek Muses; in his translation of Homer’s OdysseyLivius Andronicus rendered the Greek word Mousa as Camena.




Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Dictionary, “Camenae“.

Took, Thalia.  The Obscure Goddess Online Dictionary, “Ægeria“.

Wikipedia, “Camenae“.

Wikipedia, “Carmenta“.

Wikipedia, “Egeria (mythology)“.


Suggested Links:

Myth Index, “Camenae“.

Mythology Guide, “Camenae“.