Tuesday, 24 April 2012 19:42

How We Taught the Graces or Rather How the Graces Taught Us

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Dear Sappho,

I enjoyed your piece on The Social Graces. You explained what you taught and why you taught it but you did not detail how you taught the Graces. The importance of the social graces is obvious, how one accomplishes it is not as obvious. 

Dear Student of the Graces

In Greek mythology the Graces were three sisters who as Goddesses embodied beauty, joy and charm. They are the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome. They include Aglal, Goddess of splendor, Thalia, the Goddess of comedy, poetry and good cheer, and Euphrosyne, Goddess of joy and mirth. The Graces are a triple blessing of grace, beauty and charm and are always seen together as three maidens dancing in a circle.

Outcomes of the social graces are sincerity, poise, good will, effortless beauty, charm and fitness. Grace is the quality of being these things. It includes health as important to beauty, a good disposition as a form of goodwill, and charm as the outcome of mercy, wisdom and divine assistance.

Emulating the Goddesses and asking the Graces to assist us was standard operating procedure. To seek the blessings of the Graces was normal to us. Imitation of their ways was encouraged. Examples include looking at each other when speaking, paying attention to what others are saying and doing. Being happy for the good fortune of others, giving support and encouragement to friends and colleagues. Abstaining from critical judgments.

The Graces wove the material for Aphrodite’s robe. After Aphrodite was caught being unfaithful to her husband, Hephaestus, it was the Graces that bathed her, anointed her with oils and dressed her in beautiful clothes so she could resume her loving duties.

In my piece on the Social Graces I said, “No education was considered complete without the social graces or virtues, which included sincerity, etiquette, manners, communication, and codes of preferred social behavior.  The social graces incorporate and integrate all the other subjects by giving them measures of expression, elegance, motion, and beauty of form.”

Striving to be like the Graces is the highest standard of behavior we can think of. We incorporated these ideals into everything we did, and that is how we taught the Graces, or rather how the Graces taught us.

Blessings,

Sappho