Lethe, Greek Goddess of Oblivion
The souls that throng the floodVirgil
Are those to whom, by Fate, are other bodies owed,
In Lethe’s lake they long oblivion taste,
Of future life secure, forgetful of the past.
Lethe is one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld, and the personification of forgetfulness. When spirits are ready to be reborn, they must drink from the waters of Lethe in order to forget their previous lives. She is said to mark the border between the Underworld and the Fields of Elysium, and finds her source from the cave of Hypnos.
Lethe, in the 6th Age
Abandoned by her mother as a child, Lethe was raised by her grandmother Nyx and grew up loyal to Hades, becoming one of his tools during the godwars. Much of her work did not last transcription into myth, but her talents lay in dreamwalking and the manipulation of dreams, particularly the subtleties of memory. She worked closely alongside the court of the Oneiroi.
As a person, she was inherently trusting and also easily influenced. She was placid and of a conciliatory nature – finding it easy to calm people down, and often leaving others feeling lighter after interactions with her. As such she was difficult to dislike. Lethe knew lots of people, whether they were on the same side as her or not. Her loyalty to Hades was well known, but she wasn’t a soldier as such (not her waking self anyway), and thus she was usually granted amnesty even when she strayed into enemy territory, which she did often. She was considered as harmless.
No real attachments mark her history, and she has no known spouse or children. Given the child-like nature of her innocence it was difficult to contemplate her with such relationships.
Her dream-self — which is always autonomous from her waking self — was a potent weapon, and she trusted the direction of those to whom she was loyal; in this case Hades. In the Dreamworld, Lethe was far less of an innocent: directed by Hades, she infiltrated the dreams of those her unknowing waking-self befriended, and acted as both silent spy and exacter of revenge. She could ease consciences, remove entire memories — and for those poor souls Hades’ deemed it necessary, she could wipe the mind clean. If they woke from their dream at all, it was to life in a vegetative state.
Dream-Lethe’s innocence was underpinned by something ancient and immoral; she was not needlessly cruel, but neither did she concern herself with the consequences of her actions. Like a good and trusting daughter, she simply obeyed the direction of the one she considered her father.
When she was not acting under order, she was a curious and social creature, apt to linger inquisitively over the dreams of others or associate with those who were able to walk the Dreamworld at the time, even those who burdened themselves with the title of enemy. Lethe herself made no such distinction, probably because she had no purchase on the real world, and therefore little understanding or investment in it. Among the most complex of these relationships was with Coyote, who’s interference into the lives of men often put him in her path.
Due to her longevity in the Dream, Lethe was a master of Tel’aran’rhiod. She had an uncanny ability to find others in the dream, and responded inherently to Need. Though she was known for her ability to strip memory, it was likely she was also able to invoke it. She did not alter dreams themselves, but pulled souls into TAR for her work.
Hades: The court to whom Lethe was loyal. She considered him a father figure, and both loved him dearly and was afraid of his wrath.
Melinoë: A friendship maintained despite disapproval, for Lethe was not always a great influence in ensuring Melinoë behaved in the dreamworld.
Nyx: Lethe’s maternal grandmother, a formidable woman who dwelt much of the time in the prison of Tartarus, and to whom Lethe was close. Much of Lethe’s fascination with monsters stemmed from Nyx and her unusual upbringing.
Poseidon’s Court: All rivers lead to the sea, and Lethe was often known to visit Poseidon’s court. In particular she was enamoured of the watery creatures he created and commanded. Though she had no association with Poseidon himself, in her current life as Nimeda she refers to him as “The Vengeful Sea”