Thursday, September 04, 2008


I love this.. Some sparkling friends of mine love Mermaids.. So I had to blog some stories and lore...

Hugs Bee

The following mermaid poem was written in 1830.

The Mermaid

WHO would be A mermaid fair, Singing alone, Combing her hair, Under the sea, In a golden curl, With a comb of pearl, On a throne?
I would be a mermaid fair;I would sing to myself the whole of the day;With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair; And still as I comb’d I would sing and say,“Who is it loves me? who loves not me?”I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall, Low adown, low adown, From under my starry sea-bud crown Low adown and around, And I should look like a fountain of gold Springing alone With a shrill inner sound, Over the throne In the midst of the hall; Till that great sea-snake under the sea From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps Would slowly trail himself seven fold Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate With his large calm eyes for the love of me. And all the mermen under the sea would feel their immortality die in their hearts for the love of me.

But at night I would wander away, away, I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks, And lightly vault from the throne and play with the mermen in and out of the rocks; We would run to and fro, and hide and seek, On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson shells,Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea. But if any came near I would call, and shriek, And adown the steep like a wave I would leap From the diamond-ledges that jut from the dells; For I would not be kiss’d by all who would list, Of the bold merry mermen under the sea; They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me, In the purple twilights under the sea; But the king of them all would carry me, woo me, and win me, and marry me, In the branching jaspers under the sea;Then all the dry pied things that be In the hueless mosses under the sea would curl round my silver feet silently, all looking up for the love of me. And if I should carol aloud, from aloft all things that are forked, and horned, and soft would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea, All looking down for the love of me.

The oldest form of the mermaid in mermaid mythology is the goddess Atargatis from Syria. A famous statue of Atargatis shows her as a woman from the waist up and a fish from there down. All sea goddesses inherit the sea's qualities. Just as the sea could be gentle and nurturing or violent and deadly, so could they. These are the same contradictory qualities we see in mermaids to this day: beautiful, cruel, tender, loving, destroying, etc. In a larger sense this is man's view of nature. The mermaid, a fantastic creature, is nature herself.

Mermaids in Celtic myths are always beautiful and usually friendly, even helpful to sailors and fishermen. However, when pushed, they can reveal an ugly side. In Scotland, they tell the story of the Knockdolion family who had a large house on the shore near Girvan. At night, a mermaid would come out of the water and sit on a large black rock. There she would comb her long blond hair and sing for hours. The lady of the Knockdolions felt that this serenade was annoying her baby, and ordered her servants to destroy the rock with heavy mallets. When the mermaid returned the next night and saw her favorite seat was gone, she sang:
Ye may think on your cradle--I'll think on my stane; And there'll never be an heir to Knockdolion again."
("Stane" means stone.)

Not long after, the baby's cradle was found overturned, and the baby dead beneath it. All the Knockdolion children died like this soon after they were born and the family became extinct. Celtic myths of destructive mermaids are not common but there are several.

Celtic Mythology: Ruad and the Mermaids

The British Isles, like Greece, have a strong bond with the sea. Celtic mythology is therefore full of stories of sea monsters, sea gods and of course mermaids. Ruad, a prince of Ireland, was crossing the sea to Norway in a fleet of three small ships. Suddenly, Ruad's ships stopped in the middle of the water and would not move. Ruad ordered his men to wait for him, and he dived into the water. Under each boat he found three beautiful women holding them fast. When the women saw him, they grabbed him and took him down to their land beneath the sea.
Notice the repetition of the number three. Three is a magic number in Celtic mythology.
He remained with them for nine days (nine is three times three), but wished to escape to his own world. He told them he was sad and missed his brother. He had been on his way to visit him when the women caught him. The women said that once he returned to the surface he would never want to come back, and refused for that reason to let him go. Ruad argued that if they really loved him they should trust him. Finally, they agreed to let him go if he promised to return. He gladly made the promise and left.
Returning to his ships he continued his journey to Norway and spent seven years with his brother. Finally, the day came when he had to return to Ireland. Of course he did not want to return to the land under the waves. He decided to leave at night and take the fastest boats he could find to outwit the sea women.
Under the sea, unknown to Ruad, one of the women he had slept with had had a son. When the women discovered that Ruad meant to break his promise, they took the child and headed after him in a bronze boat. This boat was very fast and began to catch up to Ruad. He ordered his men to row as fast as they could, but still he despaired of reaching Ireland again. However, luck was with him. Just as the bronze boat was about to come up to his, he reached land and jumped ashore. The women were angry beyond words. The boy's mother took Ruad's son and killed him, and threw his head on the beach. There were terrible screams of horror. From that time since that area has been known as Inber-n-Aillbine - the bay of the Awful Scream. This is the naming of names in Celtic mythology, an explanation of how a place came to have it's name.
The women turned their bronze boat out to sea and vanished forever over the horizon. According to Celtic mythology, Ruad returned to his kingdom but he was never brave enough to cross the sea again.

Celtic Mermaid Aine

The Goddess Aine has three forms: a mermaid, a young woman and a hag. As a Celtic mermaid she lives at the bottom of Lough Gur (Enchanted Lake). As a young woman she is a powerful creative goddess, who made the fairy people and gave life to the earth. As a hag she defends her realm under the lake.
One day, the Earl of Desmond found Aine in her Celtic mermaid form combing her hair by the lake. He sneaked up on her and stole her magic cloak, which put her in his power. (Compare this part of the story to "The Celtic Mermaid Wife" ) She agreed to bear the Earl a son in exchange for her freedom. This boy grew up to be exceptional in every way, once jumping into and out of a bottle. Later, due to a curse, he was condemned to spend eternity under the lake with his mother.
It is said that once every seven years Lough Gur dries up and you can see the sacred tree at the bottom of it. The tree is guarded by Aine in her hag form, while she knits the fabric of life. A man on horseback once tried to steal her cloth, but Aine made the waters of the lake retrieve the cloth, and a part of the horse as well.
The King of the Gold Mines was once accused of adultery by his wife-to-be because he was given a present by Aine. In her Celtic mermaid form she has made a likeness of him out of magic seaweed. The story ends tragically when the king is killed and his betrothed dies of grief. Mermaid Aine changed the lovers into two palm trees that grow together.