The Wind by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1746) Pallazo Labia (Public Domain)

Beware the Fate of the Fairy Winds


In many folk tales from around the world there are accounts of a midwife who is taken by fairies to help with a birth. Apart from the overall otherworldly nature of these tales, the mode of transport is one which is often overlooked; that of the fairy wind. This wind seems to have a property whereby it can move between the human world and fairy world. It is, in some respects, able to part the dimensional curtains, so to speak, and not just a way to carry a body over the land and mountains. In some of the accounts the fairy wind can also effect time for the person caught in its pull, as if the wind contains within itself the very timelessness of the Otherworld. 

Allegory of the Wind  by Friedrich August von Kaulbach (1882) (Public Domain)

Allegory of the Wind  by Friedrich August von Kaulbach (1882) ( Public Domain )

Crossing Over with the Winds

Now, in all ancient magical traditions the various winds are often called upon to carry messages between the physical and spiritual worlds. Some winds are said to travel to specific realms and to individual gods, goddesses and ancestral realms. Even in contemporary witchcraft and magical rituals the wind is invoked to bring blessings, healing and even to banish persisting negative forces. This is not just a folk-magic observation as even within the Vatican library, the names of various winds are painted in circles onto the floor signalling their rule over various domains.

West wind in the Vatican (CC0)

West wind in the Vatican ( CC0)

Around the world, the indigenous names of various winds are themselves bestowed with certain superstitions and contain much deeper traditional observations. Some winds are said to belong to individual deities and should be addressed accordingly.

Aeolus - digital enhancement of an old marble representation (Public Domain)

Aeolus - digital enhancement of an old marble representation ( Public Domain )

Winds of the Gods

In ancient Greek mythology the Titans Astraeus (Starry) and the Eos (Dawn) were the parents of the four wind gods collectively called Anemoi, but each was ascribed a compass direction from which their respective winds came. Aeolus was the keeper of the winds on the island of Aeolia, where Odysseus met him. Boreas is the cold north wind and the bringer of winter. He has a violent temper. Zephyrus is the west wind and the gentlest of them all. Notus is the south wind, bringer of storms and destroyer of crops and Eurus is the east wind, bringing gentle rain.


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 David Halpin is a writer from Carlow, Ireland. He compiles local folklore and documents alignments between ancient monuments near his home in Ireland. Join him for virtual and physical guided tours of ancient Irish sites at @CircleStoriesDavidHalpin

Top Image: The Wind by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1746) Pallazo Labia ( Public Domain )

By David Halpin

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