Ride like the wind


rainAs long as my bad weather lasts, or longer if this topic is interesting enough, I’ll be discussing the ancient gods and goddesses of many cultures who were said to influence the weather. I’ve started my series with the Theoi Meteoroi — the weather gods of Ancient Greece.

I’m continuing with the Tempest-Winds — the Anemoi Thyellai. Today is about the Keeper of the Winds ~ Aeolus

Like so many gods and goddesses, the name Aeolus is assigned to a few different characters. When Hesiod went around gathering all the different accountings of the myths for his Theogony, I imagine he was often confused.

Some tales portray Aeolus as a god who fathered the winds, others portray him the son of Hippotes a mortal king and an immortal nymph, while others have him as a mortal man given a divine task. I’ve come across tales where he is a divine king who packs mixed 12375772bags of winds (also known as clouds) and hangs them in the sky for the other gods to release for good or ill as mood strikes them. In some versions of the myths he keeps the winds in a cavern, while in other versions he has them locked securely away behind strong bronze walls.

Of all the tellings of Aeolus, Homer’s Odyssey pretty much nails him — Aeolus, born to the immortal mother mentioned above, was an immortal stableman working for Zeus and the winds were treated as horses, all kept in a corral on the small island of Aeolia.

The association of wind and horse isn’t too much the imaginative stretch. Horses are fast, after all. Imagine wind running over the tops of golden wheat or barley. I see that action here on my hill. The grass gets high and heavy with seed and the wind paths can be seen blowing them as if invisible horses are galloping over the tops. These amber waves of grain (or grass in seed) spring back after the windy hooves have moved on. Aeolus is also refereed to as Hippotades, which means the reiner of horses. From the Greek hippos meaning horse and tadên meaning reined in tightly. (unrelated to Aeolus but a fun fact to share –Hippopotamus means water horse. My kids got a kick out of that when they were little.).

So how ever it was he became such, Aeolus was the Keeper of the Winds. He plays a small part in the myths, his job to simply let loose the winds according to the whims of the gods and goddesses.

In Homer’s Odyssey,  Odysseus been gone aeolus20-some years and is anxious to return to his wife and now grown son. Aeolus gives him a sack of winds to use to fill his sails for that long journey home.  Some tellings have Odysseus falling asleep just a few miles from home, in fact, home is within sight.  Only Odysseus knows what the sack contains, but the greed of his companions gets the better of them and they open it expecting to find riches. Because Aeolus packed a mixed bag of weak and strong winds, what the sailors unleash is a windstorm that nearly kills them and ends up throwing them all the way back to Aeolia. Aeolus determines the gods must be against Odysseus, which they were, and refuses to help him further.

I like to imagine Aeolus as that one version suggested. He spends his days rounding up winds, stuffing them into cloud sacks, and hanging them in the sky.

Tomorrow ~ the rest of the Anemoi

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100Things.logo
For 100 days, I’ll post something from my chosen topic: Clichés.
There are 82 entries to come.

Here’s a cliché for today:

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride



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all7books-smallLove Waits in Unexpected Places - Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

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About ~RoseAnderson

Rose is multi-published award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and discovering interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest.
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7 Responses to Ride like the wind

  1. Ray G says:

    Isn’t it interesting that there are these Greek wind gods and they persisted into other cultures and we have Fairy Tales and Disney to carry on similar legends.

    There is a song by Christopher Cross called Ride like the Wind.

    • It is. I think when you get down to it, there are very few original themes in our stories. No matter the era, the human condition remains the same. Same feelings, same vices, same hopes for happiness. An example of the same story/different time could be Romeo and Juliet. Remember West Side Story?

      • Ray G says:

        I remember West Side Story. I first saw it in Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1962 when I was going to Hospital Corps School At Naval Hospital San Diego. About the same time as an 18 year old I went to the USO in Hollywood. I met a Hispanic girl about my age working at a dance club, the kind where you bought 10 cent dance tickets. She invited me to her home where we hung out together the rest of the day. When I dropped her back at her home I was warned not to come back because of the ethnic difference. It sort of mimicked the story in West Side Story except I just wanted someone to talk to that weekend.

  2. I had to comment although I’m late, as my father’s sailboat was named Aeolus. I always thought it was a wonderful name for a boat that depended on the winds. Your post brings back memories… Dad was a Sagittarius, so I also enjoyed the tie-in with horses.

    • That’s a great name for a boat. I think I might just use Aeolus as an interesting name in my next historical. A middle name perhaps. By the way, I ordered that book you recommended – Parallel Myths. What a great book! Small print for these old eyes but very very interesting. :) Thanks for the tip.

  3. Parallel Myths is a wonderful book for those of us who can never get enough of the myth mysteries. I’ve always believed similar myths around the globe came from a single source — maybe the day will come when we can find out who the original storyteller was, just like DNA ancestry research is connecting the dots in the physical realm. Per chance to dream!

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