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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in mermaid

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Do You Say 'Yemaya' in Witch?

I'll just say it: Wiccans have pantheon-envy.

The gods of the Wicca are Twofold: the Lady and the Horns. Instead of viewing Them, however, as the gods most specific to witches within the framework of a larger (but lost) pantheon, most Wiccans (unfortunately) have chosen to prefer Dion Fortune's 'All gods are one god, all goddesses are one goddess' bitheism, a choice which (frankly) has not only retarded Wicca's mythological and theological growth, but has opened the gate to the much-vexed problem of cultural appropriation. If all god/desses are one god/dess, then we are entitled to steal Anyone we want from someone else, and it's all grist for our mill.

It's easy to understand why, when encountering the vibrant pantheon and living culture of, for example, Santeria, witches feel envious. What Santeria is now, the Craft used to be. Alas, how much has been taken from us.

But our choices are not limited to either cultural sterility or cultural appropriation. There's another way to navigate these waters.

If, instead, we regard the Horns and the Moon as Two among a larger (if lost) pantheon, then (to take an example) let us ask: How do you say 'Yemayá' in Witch?

Allow me to rephrase the question: What does the witch Goddess of Waters look like?

Let us start with the Moon. The witches' Lady of the Living Waters is—essentially—the reflection of the Moon on Earth. What Moon is in the heavens, She of the Waters is on Earth.

Moon, of course, was born from Sea. (Where She came from originally is what we now call the Pacific Ocean. For witches, there's no gap between science and religion, just a difference in framing the language.) Who has not seen the image of the full Moon floating on the waters of a lake, or the sea, and thought: ah, yes.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    In Latvia, they used to say that "St. Martin has nine Perkunases under his cloak." Perkunas, of course, is the old name for the Th
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Way back in the 1980's there was a TV show called Night Court. I had a dream in which two characters from the show; Dan Fielding

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Is There a Witch Culture?

Do contemporary witches have a culture of our own?

I would contend that we do.

Culture: the totality of transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and other products of human work and thought characteristic of a community or population.

I would contend that as witches, we're a people, or at least a people-in-the-making. (Look at the past: these things happen all the time.) As such, we have our own culture, whether or not we're fully aware of it yet.

True, our historic culture has not come down to us intact. That's why it's so important to be willing to learn from other people's wisdom. That's why it's so important, when we're borrowing, not simply to take from someone and somewhere else and plunk it down whole and all in our midst. That's why, when we borrow a story, a trope, or a way of doing from someone else, we need first to translate it into Witch.

That's why it's not enough to say (for instance): Yemayá.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I remember well that frisson, Anthony. Mine came while reading L. M. Boston's Enemy at Green Knowe, from her series of teen novels
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember when I first read "The Horned Crown" by Andre Norton. The author used stuff I was reading in the witchcraft books from

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The People of the Waters

In 1653, Swedish witch Karin Persdotter confessed to having learned her magic from a male water spirit, called variously the "man of the stream" (strömkarlen), "the river" (älven), and the "nix" (näcken) (Hall 32).

 

Readers of the Brothers Grimm will recognize this latter term: the nix (masculine) and nixie (feminine) (German nix and nixe) have haunted the rivers, lakes, and ponds of folk tales for (apparently) several millennia at least. They are, in effect, fresh water merfolk.

 

The Hwicce, the Anglo-Saxon tribe ancestral (some say) to today's witches knew a similar species. Their nicor survived in English folklore as the nicker or knucker. The youthful Beowulf was said to have wrestled with several while swimming.

 

In fact, all these names descend from the same ancestor: proto-Germanic *nikwiz, *nikwuz (Watkins 59). To judge by surviving folklore, all the Indo-European-speaking peoples knew of the People of the Waters. But of course, other peoples know them too; everyone knows them. Here in Minnesota, the Anishinabe (Ojibway) call them nebaunaubaequaewuk.

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
“MERMAID, GODDESS OF THE SEA”

On a recent Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete, I visited the Historical Museum of Heraklion where I saw this beautiful embroidery on silk of a mermaid identified as having come from Koustogerako, a village in western Crete. As it is unlikely that a man in Crete would have known how to embroider, in this case "Anonymous" most definitely "was a woman."

In this thread painting a mermaid surrounded by fish is holding the anchor of a ship in one hand and a fish in the other. In Greece the mermaid is the protectress of sailors. In a well-known legend, a mermaid said to be the sister of Alexander the Great, emerges from the sea in front of a ship during a storm and asks: “Is Alexander the Great still living?” If the sailors answer, “Yes, he lives and reigns,” the ship is saved.


In this image the mermaid–who does not much resemble “the little mermaid” of recent lore—is identified by the woman who embroidered her as: “GORGONA, H THEA TIS THALASSIS,” MERMAID GODDESS OF THE SEA.”

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    PS Insofar as the Greek Mermaid emerges from the Sea during a storm with a riddle whose answer leads to life or death, she is a fe
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Gorgona is the modern Greek word for Mermaid. I am not an expert in ancient Greek, but I suspect that dreadful or terrible could a
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Wow, that mermaid is Enormous! I am struck by the word Gorgona, as in Medusa and her sisters. Wikipedia tells me that the Greek

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

My fascination with mermaids has come and gone over the years. I never went through a unicorn phase as a little girl, but I definitely went through a mermaid phase. My interest in them faded, returned in my teens, faded again, then recently returned. Over the last year or so, I have been reading and writing and reading and writing some more about the aquatic ladies (and gentlemen).

Once I started looking, I was surprised at just how ubiquitous mermaids are -- they're everywhere! In literature, mermaids appear in every genre, aimed at every age group. There are picture books aplenty, but also mysteries, teen adventure tales, romance novels, collections of mythology and folklore, art books, you name it.

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  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    The Starbucks coffee logo was originally a copy of an ancient statue of a mermaid. It showed more of her body, now it is just her
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    This is great stuff! Thank you. By the way, I really enjoyed all those TIME-LIFE mythology/paranormal themed books. I read a lot

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