Welcome to the Fates At the birth of each man they appeared spinning, measuring, and cutting the thread of life. Their name means “Parts.” “Shares” or “Alottted Portions” Klotho, whose name means “Spinner” spun the thread of life. Lakhesis, whose name means “Apportioner of Lots”–being derived from a word meaning to receive by lot–, measured the thread of life. Atropos whose name means “She who cannot be turned,” cut the thread
of life.At the birth of a man, the Moirai spun out the thread of his future life, followed his steps, and directed the consequences of his actions according to the counsel of the gods. It was not an inflexible fate. The Fates did not abruptly interfere in human affairs but availed themselves of intermediate causes, and determined the lot of mortals not absolutely, but only conditionally, even man himself, in his freedom was allowed to exercise a certain influence upon them. As man’s fate terminated at his death, the goddesses of fate become the goddesses of death, Moirai Thanatoio. As goddesses of fate they must necessarily have known the future, which at times they revealed, and were therefore prophetic deities. They were severe, inflexible and stern. Klotho carries a spindle or a roll (the book of ate), Lakhesis a staff with which she points to the horoscope on a globe. Atropos a scroll, a wax tablet, a sundial, a pair of scales, or a cutting instrument. At other times the three were shown with staffs or sceptres, the symbols of dominion, and sometimes even with crowns.