Mermaid Myth & Magic

December 11, 2018

Mermaid Myth & Magic
Written by The Otherworldly Oracle

Today the idea of a mermaid is pure fantasy. Mermaids are in the movies, books, and are the stars of internet memes and marketing logos. But the mermaid was once more than fantasy to our ancestors, particularly to those who sailed the sea. The belief in merfolk dates back hundreds of years and crosses cultural and continental boundaries. Take for instance the goddess Yemaya in the Orisha tradition from West Africa: a goddess of the ocean with half the body of a fish – a mermaid. Much further north, there are tales of mermaids from nearly every country in Europe. In Ireland, the mermaid was known as the merrow. The female merrows were known to marry men and were of gentle disposition, while the male merrows were said to be ruthless, soul-snatching creatures from the ocean’s depths. In Orkney, mermaids were known as finfolk and were just as fearsome as male merrows. If we travel to Greece, we find the goddess Atargatis who was part-fish part-human, as well as stories of the Greek sirens who were initially birds but over time evolved into mermaids.

Believe it or not, there have been quite a few fairly recent sightings of mermaids. One of my favorite mermaid stories takes us to the Isle of Man and occurred in the eighteen-hundreds. A local newspaper printed the news about a man who found two children with green skin, seaweed-like hair, and half-fish bodies washed up to shore one day. One of the mer-children had died during a storm, so he took the other one home and nursed it back to health. Another sighting happened Kiryat Yam, Israel in 2009. A mermaid was seen by hundreds of locals and visitors for a period of a couple months until disappearing into the water never to be seen again. In Zimbabwe in the early 2000’s, men working at a reservoir were driven from their jobs by the singing of mermaids. They refused to return to the reservoir until giving an offering to the mermaids which apparently settled the disturbed sea creatures.

Where do mermaids come from? Are they truly human creatures or something different altogether? Some theories suggest mermaids are close to human beings but were caught in a different cycle of the evolutionary process, somewhere between sea and land. Some believe mermaids are shapeshifting elementals, such as the Wiccan belief in Undines (water elementals often summoned in elaborate rituals and circle-castings). Or are they demi-gods of the sea? We may never know.

One thing we do know – mermaids are magical creatures and will lend their magic to witches who call upon them. Sea witches are magical women and men with the ability to harness the sea’s energy to make changes in their own lives and the world around them. Do you live near the ocean or a body of water and want to work with the magic of the mermaids?

First, study the folklore of your local body of water. Take into consideration all of the water spirits that may reside there. Start by leaving bio-degradable and eco-friendly offerings by the water-side such as seashells, stones, and driftwood. Use these natural objects to create mandalas or messages on the beach as offerings to the mermaids and mermen. Take care of the seashore by picking up trash and other waste. Water spirits and creatures will appreciate your care and reward you with their magic. The more you do this, the more you create trust with the water spirits and eventually the merfolk. Ask for the merfolk to appear to you in your dreams or send you signs. Keep images of mermaids on your altar or sacred space. Call on them during ritual and in a circle. Record your experiences and continue to develop that relationship with them. The more you care, the more magic the merfolk will lend you.



Written by The Otherworldly Oracle , follow her site and FB group 
as it is the best online sources for information and tips on the mystic, pagan, and supernatural enthusiast.

Cover image by: @annetteb


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