The Four Winds

August 30, 2010


The Castle of Gormenghast

The Four Winds

Identity: Boreas – the North Wind; Zephyrus – the West Wind; Eurus – the East (or South-east) Wind, (sometimes known as Apheliotes); Notus – the South Wind, (later known as Auster).

Description: Personifications of the quaternary or fourfold principle, which encompasses the four elements, four winds, four points of the compass. This dates back to extreme antiquity, and is evident in the myths and beliefs of most early cultures.

Symbols: Boreas – Two faces; Zephyrus – Fruit and flowers; Eurus – The Rising sun; Notus – A lizard

The Greek Myth

Eos, the dawn, and Astraeus, the starry sky, had four sons: Borea, Zephyrus, Eurus, and Notus. The two winds that feature most in the old legends are Boreas and Zephyrus; Eurus and Notus receiving little coverage. Winds could be destructive, in laying waste the blossoming earth, devastating human constructions and causing havoc at sea. Even Zephyrus, the harbinger of spring, could sometimes blow awry, although he was still the most welcome of the four. But all four could be kindly, especially to the mariner.

Boreas is the only wind that presented a major figure in the myths. He had two faces that looked fore and aft, and in some representations he was show with serpent feet. Winds were frequently said to be responsible for human conception: an old myth in primitive society insisted that the girl who wished for a pregnancy should turn and face the wind at a given time, a superstition that no doubt arose from the fact that the winds are responsible for spreading germination by carrying the seeds of plants and flowers. Their main association was with movement, however, and the Greeks courted their good offices for obvious purposes.

Upright Meanings

Travel. Movement. Trade. Transit. Adaptability. Forward progress.

Reversed Meanings

Frustrations arising from travel difficulties or adverse weather/atmospheric conditions.

Psychological Comment

The Four Winds refer to mutability rather than to any deep psychological factors. The appearance of this card in the upright position heralds the end of a period of impasse, or the onset of an active phase in life which will involve both mental agility and physical mobility. It will also indicate our reactions to restrictions or limitations imposed upon us by the elements, e.g. in the areas of work, recreation, health, and so on. Plans thwarted by inclement weather, for example, can cause anger and frustrations, while the moods of many people are affected by prevailing atmospheric conditions and seasonal changes.

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One comment

  1. Ha ha, Cerberus is not so cute anymore!

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