Boreas : The Devouring One

Boreas, the North Wind, is the spirit of winter. Son of Eos and Astraios, he is an aggressive spirit with a violent temper and a history of sexual violence. Because Boreas comes from the north, the Greeks identified him as Thracian. According to legend, he was smitten with a beautiful Athenian princess. She resisted his advances, so he swept her up and brought her to Thrace. They had two sons, known as the Boreads, and two daughters. Based on this abduction, the Athenians perceived Boreas as a kind of “in-law” and thus obliged to be their ally. When Athens was threatened by the Persian fleet, appeals were made to Boreas for protection. Four hundred Persian ships were allegedly sunk by the North Wind.

Invoke Boreas when you need a North Wind. He is associated with the welfare of horses. His wives include mares; Boreas protects horses’ reproductive health. Roman author Pliny describes a belief that mares would conceive if their hindquarters were turned to face the north wind.




He is the wind, but he also manifests as an elderly, bearded winged man with wild, shaggy hair. His cloak billows. He may have snakes for feet. He also appears as a stallion.


He is sometimes depicted with two faces, like Janus, facing front and back, indicating his ability to see the future and past.


Conch shell

Sacred animal:




Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

Boreas (north wind, devouring) In Greek mythology, the North Wind; son of Astraea and Eos, brother of the Winds, Zephyrus, Eurus, and Notus; called Aquilo in Roman mythology. His home was in the Thracian Salmydessus on the Black Sea. He carried off and raped Orithyia after her father Erechtheus, king of Athens, had refused to give her to Boreas in marriage. Their children were Calais and Zetes, the Boreadae; Cleopatra, the wife of Phineus; and Chione, the beloved of Poseidon. Vergil’s Aeneid (books 10, 12) cite Boreas, as does Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida (1.3.37). In Western Renaissance art, Boreas appears in allegories of the Four Seasons as the personification of Winter. He is shown as an old man with flowing gray locks and wings.


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

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