Even as a small child this story rankled me.
Mermaids and Mermen as Archtypes
The Mers in Our Souls
Everyone has felt the yearning to escape our land-locked borders, especially while watching beautiful birds traverse a noonday sky, or when lingering on a twilit beach, mesmerized by the oncoming rhythmic tides, we've all of us dreamed of having real sea legs - a tail - and being able to dive into the shimmering green waters of the sea.
Once we all were sea creatures - long ago. A part of us remembers. Even the liquid that runs in our veins is salt water.
The powerful pull of the tides, children of the moon herself, also pull our souls. Women, of course are in a very direct relationship with the rhythms of the moon and the sea, and yet men too, feel drawn by the waters of our
Planet Sea, which is misnamed Earth. Our planetary home is after all almost eighty per cent sea.
The ocean is the ruler of dreams, along with the moon, themost used image to denote the depths of our mental natures, with their multi-layerings and impenetrable mysteries.
Like the deepest seas, our own minds are really unknowable. Our brains, both of them, the original model at the base of the skull and the newer adaptation lumped atop, contribute to the complications of the self, miscommunicating and actually firing on each other's domains. Add to this confusion in the structural architecture of our heads the Soular Realm, that of the Spirit where it meets the eternal sea of the Great All, and then mix into this strange brew the dictates of culture and the ever-present drifts from and into other peoples' ideas, needs, and expectations, and you have what is called the human condition.
Often, one can see the odd expression on another animal's face as he or she surveys our countenances for clues, wondering at whatever mood or behavior which a more advanced creature, like a dog, for instance, capable of unconditional love, instant forgiveness, and complete acceptance, has caused such a strong and inappropriate reaction in us . Yes, as Freud keenly observed, human beings are not capable of unconditional love, until truly enlightened by the grace of God by becoming completely Compassionate.
One reason we love to swim around in the waters of fantasy,of myth, is that many of these cherished stories or stretches of the imagination, these happily-ever-afters,really did happen, or at least the conditions for them did and still do exist.
Powers undreamed of in the ordinary world for the time immersed in a strong storyline become possible, and the tension of surviving in our very-bounded lives is lifted.
So, why the Mermaid myth? Why is she (and the Merman!) the symbol for this site and for this section ?
Because of the popularity of this ancient image and also due to the fact that EcoMermaid honors the Sea, our name for the planet we all live on.
And also because the interpretations, unlike those of other fairytale and mythic archtypes, of the very nature of the merpeople vary so widely.
The Mermaid Myths we are most familiar with have been tamed, watered-down from the original ancient original stories and beliefs common to so many cultures that most are sure that confusion with other sea creatures are the explanation for so many Mermaid Tales.
From the timid Little Mermaid of Andersen's famous story to the wild and dangerous mermaids who would pull sailors down to their deaths, we find the angelic and the monstrous varieties, with the sensual thrown in for even more variety.
Of course, many are inappropriate for the youngest among us, and so we have the little fairylike tales of the sweet little mergirls and merboys, and the more dark Andersen mermaid, and , of course, Disney�s red-haired lovely.
Let's take Andersen's tale first.
Going against the harder images of the mermaid from time-immmorial, the sea creature who was very alien, very menacing, and who stood in for the scary sea herself, as seafaring men embellished sightings of foreign animals, foreign myths, and the embodiments of their own fears of drowning, Andersen took the fangs off the mermaid and stole her freedom, her power, and made her not only dominated by man but turned her into a selfless martyr, giving her own life to ensure the happiness - and appropriateness to society - of her beloved.
Naturally, men helpless on the sea would never want to offend the Sea by maintaining less-than-powerful and respectful images of the Mers, lest her wrath overturn their vessels. And it was believed that Mers would, on occasion, save an air-breathe
How could he possibly have been so stupid? And how could he not have noticed her courage? Her beauty? Was it outright speciesism? And even racism? And classism too, that caused this air-headed, bumbling idiot of a land-lubbing guy to turn instead to a more conventional maiden?
Andersen brought the mermaid as selfless victim into the ring where before, only the mermaid monster and the mermaid harlot, sometimes with the mermaid
wife who'd stay for awhile, being good as the somewhat strange wife of a land man.
The mermaid as harlot and wanton is seen today on the many English tavern signs which bear her image, and on the mastheads of glorious ships of old, we see sometimes the rather baudy variety, and often the powerful mermaid
as queenly image.
How a woman with no apparent vagina could become a time-honored symbol of sexuality is another story.Naturally, men helpless on the sea would never want to offend the Sea by maintaining less-than-powerful and respectful images of the Mers, lest her wrath overturn their vessels. And it was believed that Mers would, on occasion, save an air-breather.
Of course, even snakes have hidden ways, and the mermaid is very like a sea serpent with head and torso like a human sometimes, and, like the fish that
she is, lovemaking is an entertwining affair and leads to multi masses of tiny eggs released into the currents, freeing her from further duty and for more sensual play.
She's almost always in season. For love, that is, or rather, lust.
There are many, many olden tales of lusty mermen with the same aptitude and appetite to extend their prowess to the humans available to them who turn them on.
They seem to be very choosy, and fixate on just the hottest of the young and dreamy land-lubbers.
Swim back often for more installments on our investigation into the nature of the mermaid and the merman. And at MerKids, we have both Animal Stories And read the Mermaid Blog, where an actual Mer imparts her own impressions of our world to Ocean.
and Mermaid Stories on the way.
Also, Myth Mermaid our Mermaid Tales section has debuted, so let Ocean take you on wild and dreamy adventures right now !
And for all your Mermaid Fantasies, remember to swim back through our Mermaid Seas !
Cinemermaids - Ocean's investigation into Mermaids in Films!
Ocean's Song about a Mermaid and a Sailor of long ago:
Song of the Siren
Ocean's novel, The Sea Wraithe, is ready to be published, and features a haunting representation of the Mer species. Look for The Sea Wraithe !
Compassion - How To Compassionize
The Mers, c.2005-13, EMermaid,Inc., OceanTM, All Rights Reserved.
Reprints by Permission only from info@EMermaid.com