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Greek Gods and Goddess: Zephyrus

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Zephyrus was the god of the West wind, known for its gentleness, was said to aid the bearing, setting- fertilisation of fruit flowers, and hold dominion over plants and flowers in general. His arrival in early February was considered to presage the coming emergence of Spring. He is reported to have had several wives, including, Iris goddess of rainbows. Chloris (see separate file) with whom he fathered Karpos (fruit). Also, with one of his sisters, the Harpy Podarge, also called Celaeno (one of the darkness) by whom he sired the immortal horses, Balios (L. Balius) (dappled) and Xanthos or (L. Xanthos) (blonde). [other sources state Zeus was the father of the horses?] I would dispute that as Zeus, was in effect a late arrival, in Greek myth; upon whom many of the aspects of previous gods were transferred. [see Zeus.]

Insight and analysis.

In effect the wind arising from the west was seen as beneficial to mankind, being a wind that aided fertilisation and the initial growth of all vegetation; a sign that the long winter was over, thus, of hope revived.

His first wife Iris, the mother of Rainbows, the very sign according to the Old Testament God placed in the sky, to remind us of the Covenant, he had made, with us, to bring us back from the brink of destruction and eternal winter.

This is followed by the stirring in the ground, the loosening of tight buds of trees, and hastened by the nurturing wind of Zephyrus, which causes the seeds to burst from their dark grave, and the fruit trees to blossom. Zephyrus enticed by the beauty that Chloris adorns herself with, swirls around her and seduces her with his smooth whispering tongue. Soon smitten she sweats the sweet pollen of honey, and he wanders, tasting her sweetness with every breath, and their union is complete, and the fruit of their love begins to grow and Karpos (fruit) is born, and the plants whose roots so pale in the earth grow green, and strive to produce the flowers, hoping to feel the gentle, warming breath of Flora’s lover.

Harpys the sisters of the gentle wind.

But Zephyrus has other duties to attend to, now his attention is turned to one of his own sisters, a Harpy called Podarge. (The harpies (snatchers) were half human, half bird personifications of the winds of storms. In general form they were seen as birds with pale female faces, due to their great hunger, which was brought about due to their nature, which was to destroy, thus they were ever hungry, destroying the very food they so needed to eat. Thus, they had huge claws, ready to rip apart, the flesh of the creatures, their violent storms had killed, they quite rightly may be viewed as Vultures, who scavenged amongst the devastation they had caused. Thus, Virgil was given to write, ‘bodies like birds, with the faces of girls they are, abominable in their droppings, their hands are talons, their faces haggard with insatiable hunger.)

Strange but true.

The harpies were considered personification of storm winds, half human, half bird, often considered to be nothing short of hideous, yet the Lyre, was the early name for a harp. The Harpies were considered as close sisters, if they were not indeed the very same creatures as the Sirens, whose enchanting and hypnotic voices, caused sailors to lose their senses, and fall overboard. All wind instruments use the power of wind to generate sounds, David, the later king David of Israel used the harp to sooth the raging head of King Saul of Israel. Musical instruments can be used to create all sorts of mood or feeling, sound like gentle or stormy winds can change the whole feeling or concept of being in the mind. A melodic choir can invoke reverence for the gods of love, the cries of warriors the attention of the gods of war and hate. But time and ignorance changes good or changeable to bad, or vice versa. Thus, the worst attributes of the beautiful singing of birds, through the likes of pigeons, whose droppings are abominable and so on, change perception, even today, we are guilty of this, Gay once simply meant happy and carefree, oh dear, we learn little and destroy our own language.


Zephyrus’ affair with Podarge, resulted in the birth of two immortal horses, Balios and Xanthos, and we know from other myths, especially those connected by the North wind Boreas that the wind was considered to impregnate horses, and these horses were given to Poseidon the sea god, who in turn gave them to Peleus of Phtia, as a gift when he married Thetis an ocean goddess, and daughter of the ancient sea god Nereus, who had been renamed Poseidon after Zeus ousted Cronus. In the end it is but wind.