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As an author inspired by the aesthetic of virtue drawn from the many esoteric works I experience and research,I seek wisdom, truth and the light that emanates from all things born of the great void... a lover of life, gnosis and my Clan Family - The People of Goda, of the Clan of Tubal Cain www.clanoftubalcain.org.uk.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Four Winds


The setting of the Pleiades in November marked the beginning of the stormy season. Zeus, Olympian storm god, was often depicted within his chariot drawn by the four enigmatic and much stylised horse-shaped winds.

ASTRAEUS Titanic father of the stars, the planets and the four seasonal winds by EOS Winged goddess of the Dawn who heralds the rising of the sun with her rosy beauty.

AEOLUS  Ruler of the winds appointed by Zeus guards the storm winds Anemoi Thuellai and Aellai .  Securely locked away inside the floating island of Aeolia, released only at the bequest of the gods to wreak havoc upon the seas and on land. Aeolus is ‘King’ of the Castle there. Since the Winds were often conceived of as horse-shaped spirits, Aiolos was titled Hippotades, "the reiner of horses," from the Greek hippos (horse) and tadên (reined in tightly).

AETHER Aither The primeval god of the shining light of the blue sky. He was conceived of as the substance of light, a layer of bright mist which lay between the dome of heaven and the lower air which surrounded the earth.

ANEMOI  Anemoi/aetes : The gods of the four directional winds and the heralds of the four seasons.

  • Boreas, the North Wind, the Thrall of Winter.
  •  Zephyros, the West Wind, the Herald of Spring.
  •  *Euros, the East Wind, the Descent of Autumn.
  • Notos, the South Wind, Flame of Summer.

Closely aligned with the Seasons, Boreas gripped the land with the icy breath of Winter; Zephyros ushered in fresh spring breezes and Notos showered the fecund earth with Summer rain-storms. *Eurus, the East Wind had not originally been associated with any of the three primary Greek Seasons and is therefore not mentioned in Hesiod's Theogony or in the Orphic Hymns.

Represented through mythologized forms, the Wind-Gods often appeared as either winged, man-shaped gods or horse-like divinities that grazed the shores of the river Okeanos. The latter were stabled in the caverns of Aiolos Hippotades, the Horse-Reiner and Ruler of the Winds.

Homer and Hesiod distinguish the freedoms of the Seasonal Anemoi from the Anemoi Thuellai of Storms and Hurricane incarcerated within the caverns of Aiolos or the pit of Tartaros  guarded vigilantly by the Hekatonkheires. Later authors, however, blurred this vital distinction between them.

According to Hesiod (Theog. 378, &c., 869, &c.) Notus, Boreas, Argestes, and Zephyrus as the sons of Astraeus and Eos were beneficial winds; the wild and destructive winds such as Typhon borne of Typhoeus were clearly not. Philosophical writers frequently endeavoured to define the winds more accurately according to their place upon the Compass.

“When in combat with the mighty Zeus, He [Typhoeus] suffered the fourfold compulsion of the four Winds. For if he turned flickering eyes to the sunrise [the East], he received the fiery battle of neighbouring Euros. If he gazed towards the stormy clime of the Arkadian Bear [the North], he was beaten by the chilly frost of wintry whirlwinds. If he shunned the cold blast of snow-beaten Boreas, he was shaken by the volleys of wet and hot together. If he looked to the sunset [the West], opposite to the dawn of the grim east, he shivered before Enyo and her western tempests when he heard the noise of Zephyros cracking his spring-time lash; and Notos [in the South], that hot wind, round about the southern foot of Aigokeros [Capricorn] flogged the aerial vaults, leading against Typhon a glowing blaze with steamy heat."

ANEMOI THUELLAI: The Daemones Spirits of whirlwinds, hurricanes and all violent storm-winds. These pneumatic offspring of the monster Typhoeus were locked away inside Tartarus or the floating island of Aeolus to be released only at the express command of the gods. Their female counterparts were the Aellai, Thuellai or Harpyiai(Harpies). Known as the hounds of Zeus, they were blamed for the disappearance of people without a trace. Mating with these they sired swift, immortal horses.

KHAOS  Primeval goddess of the atmosphere, the region between heaven and earth. She was the air which men breathed. Below Her lay the Earth, and above Her shone the mists of the Protogenos Aether. Khaos Mothered the Darkness, Night and of all Birds.

HARPYIAE (Harpyiai) Sisters of Iris and daughters of Thaumas and Electra.

In Greek mythology, a Harpy (snatcher) was any one of the mainly winged death-spirits best known for constantly stealing all food from Phineas. The literal meaning of the word is rooted in the ancient Greek word harpazein: "to snatch".

Conversely, the Harpy could also bring life. A Harpy mothered the horses of Achilles (Iliad xvi. 150) as sired by the West Wind Zephyros. In this context Jane Harrison adduced the notion in Virgil's Georgics that mares became ‘gravid’ by the Wind alone. This suggests immediately the violent sexuality attributed to these phenomenon (iii.274).

In Hesiod’s Theogony, they are named as two ‘lovely-haired’ creatures of great beauty. This revision is built upon an earlier perception of them as terrifying monsters, which parallels the cognate transformation of the Siren. Yet another sensual female Zoomorph much maligned albeit one later redeemed as the mournful death angel. A vase in the Berlin Museum depicts a Harpy whose head is recognizably that of a Gorgon, complete with rolling eyes, protruding tongue and tusks, grasping a small figure of a hero in each clawed foot.

In this form they were the agents of punishment who abducted and tortured those hapless souls on their way to Tartarus. They were vicious, cruel and violent. Their domain was the Strophades where they personified the destructive nature of tempestuous storm. Traditionally, the Harpies formed a triad of three sisters: Aello (storm swift), Celaeno (the dark), also known as Podarge (fleet-foot) and Ocypete (the swift wing).


Boreas : Greek god of the cold North Wind and  harbinger of winter. His name meant "North Wind" or "Devouring One". Boreas is depicted as being very strong, with a violent temper to match. He was frequently shown as a winged old man with shaggy hair and beard, holding a conch shell and wearing a billowing cloak. Pausanias wrote that Boreas had snakes instead of feet, though in art he was usually depicted with winged human feet.

Boreas, closely associated with horses was said to have fathered twelve ethereal colts after taking the form of a stallion upon the mares of Erichthonius, king of Troy. The Greeks believed that his home was in Thrace. Herodotus and Pliny both describe a northern land known as Hyperborea (Beyond the North Wind), where people enjoyed longevity and peace.

Zephyrus/ Zephyr Latin Favonius, the West Wind. The gentlest of the winds, Zephyrus is known as the fructifying wind, the messenger of spring. It was thought that Zephyrus lived in a cave in Thrace.

Zephyrus was the amorous husband to several wives. He was said to be the husband of his sister Iris, the goddess of the rainbow. He abducted another of his sisters, the goddess Chloris, and gave her the domain of flowers. With Chloris, he fathered Carpus (fruit). He is said to have vied for Chloris's love with his brother Boreas, eventually winning her devotion. Additionally, with yet another sister and lover, the Harpy Podarge (also known as Celaeno), Zephyrus was said to be the father of Balius and Xanthus, Achilles' horses.

One of the surviving myths in which Zephyrus features most prominently is that of Hyacinth. Hyacinth was a very handsome and athletic Spartan prince. Zephyrus fell in love with him and courted him, as did Apollo. The two competed for the boy's love who chose Apollo, driving Zephyrus mad with jealousy. Later, catching Apollo and Hyacinth throwing a discus, Zephyrus blew a gust of wind at them, striking the boy in the head with the falling discus. When Hyacinth died, Apollo created the hyacinth flower from his blood.

In the story of Cupid and Psyche, Zephyrus served Cupid by transporting Psyche to his cave.

Roman deities equivalent to the Anemoi were known as the Venti (winds). Despite different names they were otherwise very similar to their Greek counterparts, borrowing their attributes and being frequently conflated with them.


The Roman equivalent of Boreas was Aquilo, or Aquilon. An alternative and  less common name used for the northern wind was Septentrio. Derived from septem triones (seven oxen) it refers to the seven prominent stars in the northern constellation Ursa Major. Septentrio is also the source of the obscure word septentrional, a synonym for boreal meaning northern.

Notus the south wind associated with the desiccating hot wind of the rise of Sirius after midsummer, and was thought to bring the storms of late summer and autumn, and was feared as a destroyer of crops.


Notus' equivalent in Roman mythology was Auster, the embodiment of the sirocco wind, who brought heavy cloud cover and fog or humidity. Auster is also the name of a defunct British aircraft manufacturer from the 1940s–1950s.

Eurus represents the unlucky east wind. He was thought to bring warmth and rain, and his symbol was an inverted vase, spilling water.


His Roman counterpart was Vulturnus, not to be confused with Volturnus, a tribal river-god who later became a Roman deity of the River Tiber.


Zephyrus' Roman equivalent was Favonius, who held dominion over plants and flowers. The name Favonius, which meant "favorable", was also a common Roman name.

Tower of the Winds in Athens

Additionally, four lesser Anemoi were sometimes referenced, representing the northeast, southeast, northwest, and southwest winds totalling eight winds in all.

Eight winds: Zephyros, Boreas, Notos, Euros, Kaikias, Apeliotes, Skiron and Lips.

Four lesser wind deities appear in a few ancient sources, such as at the Tower of the Winds in Athens. Originally, as attested in Hesiod and Homer, these four minor Anemoi were the Anemoi Thuellai (Άνεμοι θύελλαι; Greek: "Tempest-Winds"), wicked and violent daemons (spirits) created by the monster Typhon, and male counterparts to the harpies, who were also called thuellai. These were the winds held in Aeolus's stables; the other four, "heavenly" Anemoi were not kept locked up. However, later writers confused and conflated the two groups of Anemoi, and the distinction was largely forgotten.

Kaikias was the Greek deity of the northeast wind. He is shown as a bearded man with a shield full of hail-stones, and his name derives from the Ancient Greek kakía (κακία), "badness" or "evil". Kakia is also the name of a spirit of vice, the sister of Arete ("virtue"). The Roman deity equivalent to Kaikias was Caecius.

Apeliotes, sometimes known to the Romans as Apeliotus, was the Greek deity of the southeast wind. As this wind was thought to cause a refreshing rain particularly beneficial to farmers, he is often depicted wearing gumboots and carrying fruit, draped in a light cloth concealing some flowers or grain. He is cleanshaven, with curly hair and a friendly expression. Because Apeliotes was a minor god, he was often synthesized with Eurus, the east wind. Subsolanus, Apeliotes' Roman counterpart, was also sometimes considered the east wind, in Vulturnus' place.

Skiron, or Skeiron, was the Greek god of the northwest wind. His name is related to Skirophorion, the last of the three months of spring in the Attic festival calendar. He is depicted as a bearded man tilting a cauldron, representing the onset of winter. His Roman counterpart is Caurus, or Corus. Corus was also one of the oldest Roman wind-deities, and numbered among the di indigetes ("indigenous gods"), a group of abstract and largely minor numinous entities.

Livas, was the Greek deity of the southwest wind, often depicted holding the stern of a ship. His Roman equivalent was Afer ventus ("African wind"), or Africus, due to Africa being to the southwest of Italy. This name is thought to be derived from the name of a fanciful North African tribe, the Afri. However, Africus was, like Corus, one of the few native Roman deities, or di indigetes, to endure in later Roman mythology. The di indigetes ("indigenous gods") were a group of Roman gods, goddesses and spirits not adopted from other mythologies, as opposed to the di novensides ("newcomer gods") in Georg Wissowa's terminology. This goes some way toward ruling out any tribal name as the basis for the Roman wind god Africus.

Eight Wind-Gods were depicted on the Tower of the Winds in Athens dating from the C1st B.C. They were:--
BOREAS The god of the North-Wind is depicted with shaggy hair and beard, with a billowing cloak and a conch shell in his hands.
KAIKIAS The god of the North-East Wind is represented as a bearded man with a shield full of hail-stones.
APELIOTES The god of the East Wind appears as a clean-shaven man, holding a cloak full of fruit and grain.
EUROS The god of the South-East Wind who is sculpted as a bearded man holding a heavy cloak.
NOTOS The god of the South Wind pours water from a vase.
LIPS The God of the South-West Wind is represented holding the stern of a ship.
ZEPHYROS God of the West-Wind is depicted as a beardless youth scattering flowers from his mantle.
SKIRON The god of the North-West is a bearded man tilting a cauldron, signifying the onset of winter. The cloud collecting and rain-fraught [Corus - Roman] (north-west gale).

Orphic Hymn 80 to Boreas (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"To Boreas (North-Wind), Fumigation from Frankincense. Boreas, whose wintry blasts, terrific, tear the bosom of the deep surrounding air; cold icy power, approach, and favouring blow, and Thrake awhile desert, exposed to snow: the air’s all-misty darkening state dissolve, with pregnant clouds whose frames in showers resolve. Serenely temper all within the sky, and wipe from moisture aither’s splendid eye."

Orphic Hymn 81 to Zephyrus :
"To Zephyros (West-Wind), Fumigation from Frankincense. Sea-born, aerial, blowing from the west, sweet Breezes (Aurai), who give to wearied labour rest. Vernal and grassy, and of murmuring sound, to ships delightful through the sea profound; for these, impelled by you with gentle force, pursue with prosperous fate their destined course. With blameless gales regard my suppliant prayer, Zephyros unseen, light-winged, and formed from air."

Orphic Hymn 82 to Notus :
"To Notos (South-Wind), Fumigation from Frankincense. Wide-coursing gales, whose lightly leaping feet with rapid wings the air’s wet bosom beat, approach, benevolent, swift-whirling powers, with humid clouds the principles of showers; for showery clouds are portioned to your care, to send on earth from all-surrounding air. Hear, blessed power, these holy rites attend, and fruitful rains on earth all-parent send."

"In Titane there is also a sanctuary of Athena, into which they bring up the image of Koronis [mother of Asklepios] . . . The sanctuary is built upon a hill, at the bottom of which is an Altar of the Anemoi (Winds), and on it the priest sacrifices to the Anemoi (Winds) one night in every year. He also performs other secret rites [of Hekate] at four pits, taming the fierceness of the blasts [of the winds], and he is said to chant as well the charms of Medea."

Virgil, Aeneid 3. 209 ff (trans. Day-Lewis) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"Bird-bodied, girl-faced things they [the Harpyiai] are; abominable their droppings, their hands are talons, their faces haggard with hunger insatiable."

NYX  The primeval goddess of night. In the evening Nyx drew her curtain of dark mists across the sky, cloaking the light of her son Aether, the shining blue sky. In the morn, her daughter Hemera (the goddess Day) lifted the dark mantle.

OCEANIDES  (Okeanides)The daughters of the earth-encircling river Oceanus. Some of these were nymphs of clouds (Nephelae) and moistening breezes (Aurae).


The Anemoi[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
wikicommons images