Skip to main content

M is for Merfolk.....

Since man first set sail across the oceans, there have been tales of Merfolk--- or, more specifically, Mermaids. I mean, what man wouldn't hallucinate a beautiful woman when he is sick with scurvy and miles from home--- who wouldn't want a bit of comfort on the lonely sea?

Mermaids are often associated with Sirens from Greek Mythology. Though, the first known stories appeared in ancient Assyria where it is said the goddess Atargatis turned herself into a mermaid after accidentally killing her human lover. Guilt-ridden by what she had done, she dove into the sea to take the form of a fish, but, the waters refused to hide her beauty--- her divine visage remained, while her lower half took the fish-form she had cursed herself with.

I suppose it's from this myth that Mermaids were often connected with sea tragedy--- drownings, storms and shipwrecks. Though, there are still a few traditions that depict the Mermaids as good--- benevolent creatures that can and do fall in love with humans.

The Biological order, Sirenia, (dugongs and manatees)-- takes its name from the Siren legend as it is the
belief of some that the ancient sea-explorers often mistook these aquatic mammals for Mermaids.

While Mermaids are known for their beauty, Mermen, on the other hand, are often depicted as anything other than beautiful. There are a few myths, specifically Finnish myths, where Mermen are handsome and bearded men with fish-tails who can cure illness. But, both Greek and Irish mythologies depict Mermen as grotesque with green hair. The Irish descriptions also include, a red nose, pointed green teeth and pig eyes. Is it any wonder the legends of Mermaids falling in love with human men exists?






With Sea-Swept Sighs

There's a peace that comes with the savage sea,
a stillness raking 'cross the cresting waves.
It's in this peace you're yearning heart is apt to find,
a bit of home to lift your dreary day.

With locks of gold and songs to break a Siren's heart,
the ethereal beauty finds her way to you.
Just a glimpse is all she'll give and all you'll ever hold,
 look not away or you'll think your dream untrue.

Your ship will sail the seas, from home and back again,
the perils that you find enough to still your heart.
But, one fleeting glance from a Mermaid's smile,
is all the treasure you'll wish for as your paths part.

                                                                                                                 ---e.a.s. demers

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Y is for Yeth Hound.....

Yeth Hound--- one of the incarnations of the "Black Dog" myth, this one located specifically, in Devon, England.

"Black Dogs" appear in myths across the world, most are associated with death and bad omens... i.e. Hell Hounds.

The Yeth Hound is said to be the spirit of an unbaptised child that takes the form of a headless black dog. The Hound wanders the woods at night making pitiful wailing sounds (though, I'm unclear as to how it makes wailing sounds without having a head).

The Black Dogs were possibly one inspiration from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ghost dog in The Hound of the Baskervilles-- "an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen."



Heed Not, the Lonesome Cry
Heed not, the lonesome cry, the baleful wail echoing through the woods. Seek not, the black hound's sigh, look not where the headless creature stood.
One sound, your limbs will shake, your heart filled with the deepest dread. One glimpse, your sou…

B is for Banshee.....

Irish bean sidhe and Scottish Gaelic bean sith, literally, woman of fairyland.


The mythology and legend surrounding the Banshee is a bit mixed. The most readily accepted story is of a hag-like creature wailing the impending death of someone nearby-- most ancient Gaelic families, especially the more well-to-do families, had their own Banshees that attached themselves to the lineage of the family name. I suppose it was a sign of station for a family to be able to claim their own Banshee--- I mean, who needs an exciting/ tongue-wagging-inciting skeleton in your cupboard when you've got a Banshee wailing in your rafters?
The origins of the more familiar Banshee may have stemmed from the ancient Keeners-- women who were employed to sing a lament at a funeral. The best Keeners were in high demand to "wail" and "weep" for the great personage who had fallen.

The Great families would boast a bean sidhe or bean sith-- a fairy-woman Keener--and having foresight, the Keene…

Scottish Festival and a bit of poetry...

The 38th annual Arkansas Scottish Festival was held at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas on April 7th - April 9th. This was the first time I'd ever attended. I'm sad to say I didn't even know the festival existed until last year. On Saturday, April 8th, a group of friends and I made the several-hour trek, determined to enjoy everything we could.
The weather was glorious, all bright, bonnie sunlight and mild temperatures. Seemed mother nature approved of the festivities. The campus was appropriately kitted out, and nearly everyone in attendance was properly *ahem* kilted out. 
Bagpipes playing, we ate meat pies--- well, mine was a 5-cheese mac & cheese pie--- watched clans parade their colors, got sunburned (darn our fair, Celtic skin), and wanted the day to last forever.
There were a host of competitions, everything from Scottish/Irish dance-offs, sheep dog trials, Tartan races, a Celtic poetry competition, piping and drum trials, even a bonniest knees competition (…