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Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
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Water, Mermaids and Magick
Article ID: 8519
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,449
Times Read: 22,257
Author: Lady Abigail [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: June 21st. 2004
Times Viewed: 22,257
"Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a Mermaid on a dolphin's back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
That the rude sea grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music."
Water and Magick have been a part of each other since time has been time. Within magick water is observed as a Feminine energy; her elemental powers come with the West winds of heaven. She is blue, her eyes being seen deep beneath the waves of time. Yet she can be held in comfort within her Chalice, her symbol of being a part of all life.
This may be the reason: many of us find that with the approaching warm days of Summer, we have a deep yearning within our spirit to be near water. This desire, which comes from unfathomable depths within us, appears part of the natural cycle we all share. It doesn't seem to matter where we live, yet we find it somehow a necessity to be near or in water; oceans and seas, creeks and ponds or even a backyard swimming pool. Something profound calls us from deep within our spirit to immerse ourselves and become a part of this rhythm.
Nevertheless, many have lost the knowledge that within these waters are mystical creatures and powers nearly forgotten except in folklore and children's stories. Perhaps it is the telling of the stories that has blinded so many to the truths held within. As children we are told stories about the ugly old Witch hag that would bake children into gingerbread; then we tell the children this is all make-believe. Okay - the baking children into gingerbread is a given, but Witches are real. No wonder there are so many new to the Craft that doubt themselves.
The Little Mermaid is a wonderful story about creatures living in the sea and, oh yes, the ugly sea hag; but stories, myths and folklore we have learned as we mature have a basis in fact and truth.
I go to the ocean as often as I possibly can. To walk her shores, play in her waves and see her power. I cannot imagine that it is possible for anyone to stand next to that power and life-force without giving praise to its wonder. Within her waves we can find so much of the knowledge and secrets once lost to us. We can again find and work with the mystical creatures of the sea we call Mermaids.
In folklore we have been told that Mermaids weave a siren song that leads you to visions and mystery. The mystical Mermaid represents the power of our unconscious desires. She gives us the power to seek beneath the waves of our emotions and imaginings for the pearls that lie beneath. The Mermaid reminds us that unless we follow the truth of our inner selves, our lives are as momentary as sea foam with nothing left behind.
Mermaids are the Water-Folk who live beneath the seas. A Mermaid is a legendary creature that has the head and torso of a human being and tail of an aquatic creature, usually seen as a fish but many believe it to be a dolphin. Mermaids would better be called Merpeople for they are not exclusively female; rather the word is all-encompassing to include Mermen, Merwomen, Merchildren and Merbabies, who are, after all, less frequently sighted. So the word Mermaid is used to encompass the entire Merfamily.
Mermaids, being specifically female, are believed to have beautiful singing voices, and like the Sirens (Sirens not being Mermaids), sometimes use it to lure ships to their doom. Mermaids will also use their beauty and voice to entice individual humans to come to them. Sometimes this appears to be malicious, because an ill-fated man is drawn to the sea where he will meet his death, by drowning. Other stories speak of these same men being carried beneath the sea to live in blissful happiness as part of the undersea world. Other times the songs are sung to call those within mankind to love a Mermaid, or are sung by those of the Mer-world seeking a mate from among mankind instead of one of their own.
The myths of love are recognized at work here in numerous ways. For it is also possible for a human to seduce a Merperson, be it male or female. The most commonly accepted belief is of a man who manages to force or trick a mermaid into joining him on land to become his wife.
Such liaisons were most likely doomed since an enchantment was required to give the mermaid human legs. The breaking of some magickal agreement or promise would allow the mermaid to resume her natural form and escape.
There are many stories of Mermaids who, for reasons of love or desire, would make a pact or oath with humankind and the breaking of these pledges by either side could bring forth disastrous consequences.
It is greatly believed by seafarers that the doing of kindheartedness or good toward Mermaids will bring luck, wishes and magick. They are great teachers of wisdom and knowledge of both land and sea. Throughout the history of sea lore it has been an unwritten law that Mermaids were to be honored and respected - for Mermaids could bring great reward or punishment.
Mermaids have many different names depending on what part of the world you may be in. Some examples include: Lake Maidens, Loreli, Melusine, Merrow, Water Witch, Water Nymphs and Undines, to name a few.
Mermaids are not Sirens; they are two completely different species, although Mermaids are said to sing a "Siren song" to cast a spell on wayward seamen. It has also been said that this song is used to lure ships onto the rocks to their destruction.
A Siren is a singing enchantresses, part woman and part bird, who lures sailors to their doom. Some say the Sirens had been given their wings in order to help Demeter search for her daughter Persephone, who was abducted by the King of the Underworld.
According to Greek mythology the Sirens' song would have caused Odysseus to steer his ship into their rocks. Odysseus ordered his men to fill their ears with wax and bind him to the mast as a precaution. In addition, he also instructed the minstrel, Orpheus, to play music of his own as a distraction so they could safely pass.
In some of the early history of mythology, the Gods speak of the Fates being three sisters or female cousins with the same powers as later Greek depictions of the Fates. The exception is that they were portrayed within ancient chronicles as Nymphs, Mermaids and Sirens.
Nymphs, in Greek mythology, were often the name placed on the less significant female deities. The nymphs were usually associated with sexuality, fertility and growing things, such as trees, and with water, because it is necessary for life. Nymphs were not immortal but were extremely long-lived and were, on the whole, kindly disposed toward men. Nymphs are also accused of having the power of charming men with their songs. All who heard them - generally mariners according to descriptions - were motivated to cast themselves into the sea to their own demise.
Mermaids throughout time have been considered guardians and avengers of women and predictors of storms and future events. As true water spirits they can replenish our energy and be called upon to assist within the magick of water and Lunar energies. They refresh, clean and renew our spirits. Female Mer-people, often called water nymphs, are not always female nymphs. Mermaids, in the form of water nymphs, work to awaken our deepest emotions, stimulating our compassion and intuition. Each of us has a part within ourselves which is ruled and guarded by water spirits throughout our life.
Mermen are generally considered less infamous. This may be due to the fact that in centuries past, most of the sailors were also men. Mermen are also judged to be far less kind toward human beings than Mermaids. It has been told that the males within the Mer- people are the protectors of their line as well as the protectors of their own existence. They see men as barbarians who have no regard for life, especially that which differs from their own. Mermen have little to no interest in mankind, except for the unexpected few human females whose desires have caused them to fall in love.
Mermen are known for starting huge storms and drowning ships in rage and revenge when it has been revealed that those aboard have harmed a Mermaid. Many such stories have been told of fishing ships that have captured a Mermaid in their nets or whaling ships that have harpooned a Mermaid, or men that have captured and enslaved Mermaids. In these instances, the Mermen have sought all manner of retribution.
The history of the Mer-world is ancient, reaching back as far as we have acknowledged and felt the sea's magickal attraction. Surprisingly to most, the earliest evidence recalls the male of the species first. He is called the Sea-God Oannes (or Ea), the "great fish of the ocean," who was also the Sun-God, seen rising from out of the ocean each day and disappearing again back beneath the waves each night. Oannes was worshipped by the Babylonians in recorded history from around 5000 BCE. It is believed Oannes taught mankind about the arts and sciences.
The ancient Syrian Goddess, Atargatis, is a symbiotic Moon Goddess and was the first officially recorded Mermaid listed within history. She was depicted with a fish's tail and fish where her sacred totem. It is not unusual that this Moon-Goddess was depicted as a Mermaid, for the tides ebb and flow with the moon.
There is belief that during the suppression of Pagan deities by the Christian Church, Mermaids and other supernatural beings also considered insignificant, were not seen as a threat to the growth and popularity of Christian beliefs and doctrine. Some historians and writers even go so far as to report that the Church actually believed in the Mermaid mythology. This comes from evidence found in ancient Church records depicting manuscripts and drawings on the existence of Mermaids and the Mer-World.
Mermaids are the symbols of feminism, beauty, sexuality and fertility; however, the male-dominated Christian Church used the symbol of the Mermaid to turn people from sin and the temptations of the flesh. According to T.K., "Mermaids are represented in early Irish and Christian medieval and post-medieval art, frequently as a warning to Christians against the sins of vanity, pride and lust."
In ancient wisdoms, Mer-people worked with the Magickal essence of the Moon. Mer-Magick was used for Shape shifting and Transformation, and with time has become a nearly lost tradition. Mer-Magick is empowering and can be found within the sounds of the ocean waves and her creatures. The power can be found within the taste and smell of the sea as well as the movement of her waters. The reflection of the Moon on her waves and her surface is also a point of empowerment. Anything related to the sea is a source of power for Mer-Magick and those who call upon it.
Mer-Magick has its greatest power and its greatest energy potency during the Full Moon phase. Full Moons are approximately 14 days after New Moons and the energy lasts from three days before to three days after the actual Full Moon. The magick best worked within this time is for prophecy, protection, and divination or any working that needs extra magickal energy. This phase is also a good time to work magick for love, wisdom, manifesting goals, passion, healing, strength and power.
The primary colors of Mer-Magick are aqua, blue, cream and sea foam green. The planetary colors for Mer-Magic using Cancer are silver and white. The purpose within Cancer is the emotions, influence, fertility and lunar energy. Colors of Pisces are sea green and mauve. The planetary energies used are for escapism, entertainment, confusion, spirituality, psychic development and past-life regression work. Scorpio's color is dark red. The purpose within Scorpio is for the work of intensity, stability, making plans, merging, fertility, lust and secrets.
For magickal work, calling on the energies of Mer-Magick, Monday is considered the day corresponding within this power. To a degree this is equal with the corresponding day employed with Moon Magick. Any day under the Full Moon stage of the moon is amazingly enhanced and excellent for calling the powers utilized within Mer-Magick.
I have found that working with the tides can be like a secret key for the working of Mer-Magick. Your magick, whatever it may be, is excellently enhanced by means of the natural rhythm of the tides.
Drawing energies uses the incoming of high tide while ridding or banishing uses the outgoing tide and the parallels go on. Mer-Magick for calling/drawing something or someone to you - love, money, power or people - should be worked when the tide is coming in.
Mer-Magick for strength, energy, power and growth should be worked at high tide. This is to assure that you are working for the highest possible success in whatever the need might be.
Mer-Magick for ridding yourself of problems, fears, banishing and cleansings - by means of cleansing your inner self - should be cast upon the waters of the outgoing tide. In this way the tide carries away all the undesired fragments of life.
Mer-Magick for balancing your life-force, focusing and clearing metaphysical sight, which is contained within magick or others, should be worked on the low tide and when the waters are as calm as possible. This is a time when all the things we hide inside the shallows of our lives can be seen or have been washed up within the waves of life.
As with the Moon, Mer-Magick's planetary corresponding hours are 9 am to noon and 9 pm to midnight. These hours are best for: land cultivation, like gardening or farming; seeking favors from the feminine gender; attending to family matters; the needs of mothers, sisters and daughters; artistic pursuits; starting out on long journeys and the starting of a new business venture.
The gems corresponding with Mer-Magick include: pearl, shell, emerald, coral, lapis, blue crystal, jade and opal.
Herbs corresponding with Mer-Magick include: bladderwrack, Atlantic kelp, Norwegian kelp, sea salt, Irish moss (chondrus crispus), agar, algae and seaweed.
Note to all:
Without water, She (Earth) would literally dry up and blow away, considering 73 percent of the planet is covered in salt water and 3 percent in fresh water. Even this human body we hold in such high regard would become less than flesh and bone if we were not 80 percent water. I'm not trying to give a science lesson here, only make a very important point: Without the power of water, all life that is known to us would cease to be. Let us all give respect and honor to our Mother Earth, Her Waters and Lands, Her creatures on land and sea.
So Mote it be.
Location: Greenfield, Indiana
Author's Profile: To learn more about Lady Abigail - Click HERE
Bio: Lady Abigail is High Priestess of Ravensgrove Coven, an eclectic coven of solitary witches in the Orlando, Florida area. She was raised in the Craft by her Great Grandmother, a Cajun Witch, who taught her the powers of Earth, Nature and Magick.
Lady Abigail has studied and taught in herbs, metaphysics and Magick for over 35 years. Her articles and poetry have been featured in various Pagan publications, and her first full-length book on natural Witchcraft is expected soon.
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