Well. Another storm Goddess. This week's pick is Kelaeno, one of the three Harpies of Greek myth, with Her sisters Podarke ('Fleet-Footed') and Aello ('Whirlwind'). They are storm and wind Goddesses Who are also very much associated with horses, probably because of the swiftness of that animal. (I have a hunch, also, that a horse's mane is symbolic of the wind.) There are generally said to be three, but some authors name just two. There are a great many names attributed to the Harpies besides those above, such as Nikothoe ('Running-Victor'), Aellopos ('Storm-Footed'), and Thuella ('Storm Wind' or 'Hurricane'). Oddly enough, Kelaeno's name is the only one I've seen that does not reference swiftness or the wind; for it means 'the Black One.' Perhaps this refers to the dark storm clouds; but it is striking that She shares a name with the Hindu Goddess Kali, Whose name means the same, 'Black One.' I would even venture a guess that the words are related, given that both Greek and Sanskrit are Indo-European languages.
The name harpyiai means 'the Snatchers,' and They were said to be instruments of divine punishment, Who went out at the command of Zeus. They were famously set on King Phineus of Thrake as punishment for his too-accurate oracles; They harassed him by either snatching his food away or making it befouled and inedible. They were eventually chased off by one Boreades, Who, though an Argonaut, was actually one of the sons of the North Wind and the Goddess of snow, Khione. Boreades, like the Harpies, had great wings and could fly; He chased them all the way to the Strophades Islands, where He was stopped by Iris, the rainbow Goddess (and sister to the Harpies), Who forbid Him to harm Them; in exchange for Their promise to leave Phineus alone, Boreades let the Harpies be.
They were depicted in many different ways through the years, and could be beautiful maidens, horrible bird-monsters, or some combination of the two; but They were always shown with great wings. Kelaeno seems to have been Their leader, and She had the gift of prophecy; though unsurprisingly Her oracles were mostly of the gloom and doom sort.
So then this is two weeks in a row that we get a storm Goddess, as last week's was the Yorùbá Orisha of storms, lightning and hurricanes Oya. Something is changing, and it's not just the season, though parts of the US did have a major snow storm last week. But this is no ordinary storm. The Harpies are the Goddesses of sudden disappearances, of things snatched away, of things inevitably catching up with you; and I don't know what anyone can do to ward them off. They are persistent and tenacious, and very very angry. I don't know that they can be placated.
I ask what She has to say, Kelaeno, the Black One. She is very sly. I was not expecting that. I assumed Her loud, angry, windy.
Her hair billows, though, in no wind; she is constantly moving, feathers ruffled, always shifting, never sitting still.
I am of the black, the Void. I am the breath of the world, I am the swift air, the horses thundering across the plain shaking the earth. I am the darkness under earth, the blackness there, the fair wind in the stale underground. I bring you there, to the dark, you and the year we go together.
I bring you where you need to go. Not where you want to go; where you need to go. It is not your choice.
I am movement and change I blow the leaves off the trees and pile them in hollows where they will rot to black, the dead rotting to the mould and the marrow, becoming next year's rich soil; though I am not really concerned with that end of things.
I am cold cold wind and I am the dark. But remember that the winter wind chases me away. Wait for it to turn. Though the darkness turns the cold has only just begun to set in; that is the island's name, the turning, strophe. We can not be stopped, only turned.
Take a deep breath. Here I come, for you.
Well. What do you think?
Reference: The Theoi Harpies page.