Aeolus (earth destroyer?) In Greek mythology, the god of the winds; son of Hellen and the nymph Ortheis; married to Enarete; father of seven sons, Athamas, Cretheus, Deion, Macareus, Perieres, Salmoneus, and Sisyphus, and seven daughters, Alcyone, Arne, Calyce, Canale, Peisidice, Perimele, and Tanagra; brother of Xuthus and Dorus. In Homer’s Odyssey (book 10) Aeolus gives Odysseus the contrary winds tied up in a bag, but the sailors let them out, and the ship is blown off course. On his Aeolian island, floating in the far west, its steep cliff encircled by a brazen wall, Aeolus lived in unbroken bliss with his wife and his sons and daughters, whom he wedded to one another. Aeolus also appears in Vergil’s Aeneid (book 1) and Ovid’s Metamorphoses (book 11). Aeolus is called Hippotades in some accounts.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow
Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante
King of the Winds; He Who Reigns Horses; The Many Colored
Also known as:
Aeolus is Lord and Warden of the Winds. He commands them, raises and calms them. His name derives from a Greek word indicating “variable” or “changeable,” like the winds he rules. Aeolus also rules the Aeolian Islands near Sicily, named in his honor and renowned for beautiful weather. His personal residences include a huge cavern on the island of Vulcano, where the winds are kept until released, and a palace on Stromboli, where Aeolus hosts an eternal party attended by his wife, six sons, and six daughters. The siblings are married to each other: no in-laws to worry about!
Aeolus has a big, happy family. They party all day, then sleep near each other at night.
Aeolus’ musical instrument is the Aeolian harp, also known as the Wind Harp. The Aeolian harp is played by the wind, not human hands. Beyond the beauty of its sound, the instrument may be used to communicate with Aeolus: spontaneous sounds, as well as sounds in response to speech or events, are interpreted. Installing an Aeolian harp enables Aeolus to speak.
The most famous myth involving Aeolus involves the bag of winds he gave Odysseus. When Odysseus and crew first arrived at Aeolia, his floating island (generally identified with Stromboli), Aeolus wined and dined them for a month (the copious quantities of wine may account for the sensation of floating). He liked Odysseus and gave him a bag containing all unfavorable winds to hold on to until he reached home. (If they were in the bag, they couldn’t blow around and interfere with Odysseus’ ship.) Odysseus did not disclose the contents of this bag to his crew; instead he held on to it very tightly, keeping it with him at all times.
For nine days, there was perfect sailing weather. Finally, with home in sight, Odysseus relaxed and fell asleep. His men, awaiting this moment and convinced that he was hoarding treasure, opened the bag. The winds flew straight back to Aeolus, Odysseus’ boat in tow. Odysseus again begged for help but Aeolus, now perceiving that Odysseus must have offended some powerful deity, refused to have anything more to do with him and sent him on his way immediately. Lacking winds, the crew rowed.
As Lord of Winds, Aeolus is clearly significant to sailors, but he may be petitioned for far more than just a nice breeze when you’re out sailing. He was venerated throughout the Greek and Roman Empires as the deity whose breath (the winds) restores nature to life, a spirit of resurrection. He is the wind of change, the winds that sweep clean.
Visit Aeolus’ palace in dreams or visualization (further visual details are in Homer’s Odyssey) and request his assistance. He is a generous,benevolent spirit, but, as Odysseus discovered, wants nothing to do with anyone who is not in good graces with the general Spirit Realm.
Once upon a time, lavish offerings were given to Aeolus by dropping them down a sacred well. Offerings may now be given to the wind. Write your desire on a piece of paper or a tree leaf and let it blow away. Aeolus has everything: he is a wealthy spirit who enjoys entertaining others. Genuine gifts of the heart may be sufficient.
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