Ganymede was a Trojan king’s gorgeous young son, described as the handsomest boy in the world, the male equivalent of Helen of Troy. His beauty attracted Zeus, who transformed into an eagle and abducted Ganymede, carrying him up to Olympus to be his lover. Another version of the myth suggests that Eos stole Ganymede away first, only to have Zeus cut in on her romance. Ganymede was appointed official cupbearer in Olympus. It’s not entirely clear if Ganymede was general cupbearer to all the Olympians or exclusively Zeus’ private servant. Eventually Zeus placed Ganymede in the heavens as the constellation Aquarius. Modern astronomers are most familiar with Ganymede as the largest of Jupiter’s moons. (Others include Zeus’ lovers, Callisto, Europa, and Io.) If you need an intercessor with Zeus, Ganymede is a top choice.

In some versions of the myth, the eagle that captures Ganymede in its talons is Zeus in disguise. In others, the eagle is Zeus’ servant, Aetos. Aetos is no ordinary eagle hut a spirit, born from Earth, like the Dactyls. He grew up to he a very beautiful boy and Zeus’ very close, personal friend. Hera didn’t just hate Zeus’ female lovers: she transformed Aetos into an eagle. Zeus was never able to break Hera’s spell, so he kept Aetos close to him at all times as his lightning bearer.

The name Ganymede became synonymous with homoerotic beauty and homosexual love. In seventeenth-century French, the word ganimede was defined as a “passive homosexual partner.”




Ganymede is the patron of wine stewards.

Sacred bird:



  • Callisto
  • Dactyls
  • Eos
  • Europa
  • Hebe
  • Hera
  • Io
  • Zeus


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.