Homer uses the trope of clouds of mist rendering a god or person unseen (even to people right next to them, in the daylight) a number of times throughout the Iliad and Odyssey. For example, in the Iliad this is performed by Minerva in Book I, Venus in Book III, and at least four different gods in Book V. Minerva does it again in Odyssey Book VII, when she hides Odysseus with a "thick cloud of darkness" that lets him wander through the city of the Phaeacians undetected.

I'm wondering if there are other examples of this trope (invisibility as clouds) in other mythological sources? I have a sense of having seen a similar example in Sumerian or Babylonian works, but I can't put my finger on it anymore. I've scanned all through my copy of Innana and other online sources to no avail. Are there other examples?

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    Jul 21, 2020 at 9:20

1 Answer 1


Yes! The primary example that I am familiar with is the féth fíada of Irish mythology, magical mist that the most prominent clan of Irish deities, the Tuatha Dé Danann, employ to hide themselves from the eyes of mortals. From Oxford Reference:

A magic mist or veil that usually renders those under it invisible; sometimes those under it may take animal form. Also known as ceó druídecta, ceo draoidheachte [druid's fog]. Féth fíada is usually thought to be a power of druids and the Tuatha Dé Danann, given them by Manannán mac Lir after their defeat by the Milesians.

Unfortunately, that is the only named example I am aware of that fits your criteria. It is, however, the best example of what you're looking for. I am certain that other cultures had some ideas of this concept as well, for if both Irish and Greek cultures exhibit these similar notions, there is likely an Indo-European root to them. That's only speculation, though! Hope this helps, and have a great day.

  • Great answer, I'll accept this! Thanks for posting it. (Seems like I must have missed that in my copy of the The Tain, or maybe it doesn't show up there?) Actually the linked quote describing travel "without ships or barks, in clouds of fog [over the air, by their might of druidry]" matches my hazy recollection pretty closely. Aug 1, 2022 at 15:03

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