Mermaid mythology and art inspire me. Ever since I can remember, I've been fascinated by the alluring story of the mermaid. One of the first books I read as a child was Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid.
My first mermaid movie was Ron Howard's 1984 Splash. One of my favorite scenes is when the mermaid, played by Darryl Hannah, makes a bathtub filled with salt in the middle of the night. The bath seemed so relaxing. It was something about the salt and the warm water. The beautiful song that plays at the end of the movie as mermaid Madison swims away with her love Allan to her world always stayed in my heart. It later became the song I sang my sweet child to sleep to each night.
Now that I think further back, Disney's 1953 Peter Pan was actually the first movie I saw that featured mermaids. Ever since I can remember, mermaids have been a part of me. I was even gifted a harp once, which made me feel like a mermaid.
Mermaids have beautiful long hair, majestic iridescent tales, and shiny pearls. Mermaids get to swim all day in the mysterious and deep blue ocean and also hang out at glorious waterfalls with their friends.
I feel like I've always been part of that world, and so...I now identify as a mermaid. Perhaps you do too. Having said that, it's nice to meet you. I'm The Dreaming Siren. I want to tell you all about our kind. In this article, I share our history and some of my favorite things.
Who are we?
A mermaid, translated as “woman of the sea”, is an ancient mythological creature. Mermaids appear as half woman and half fish. The top portion of a mermaid’s body is human, while the bottom portion of the mermaid's body (below the waist) is the tail of a fish. A mermaid’s tail is long enough to replace what-would-be human legs. In many myths, a mermaid’s tail can split in half and transform into human legs to travel on land. The sirens in the story, Aquatic Queendoms of the Four Winds have the ability to do just that.
One thing mermaids must do is avoid water while on land - at all costs. Just a few droplets of water on a mermaid's land legs can cause scales to form quickly! Wearing a long skirt while on land is the best option for a mermaid, baggy pants come in second. Why should mermaids on land wear baggy pants? Because a mermaid's land legs tend to swell when coming in contact with water, which causes pants to tear if too tight. Not a pretty sight!
Mermaids spend most of their time in the ocean; however, mermaids can travel to and from all sorts of bodies of water – including swaps! Mermaids can gather near caves surrounded by water, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and fountains.
In the Aquatic Queendoms Story the mermaids live in a place called Siren City, but they spend most of their time in Mermaid Falls - a mysterious waterfall in the middle of the ocean formed by a magnetic field. Even the mermaids in Disney's Peter Pan are seen spending time at a waterfall in Neverland. Waterfalls tend to be perfect habitats for mermaids. Waterfalls and the rock formations around them make them a great spot for mermaids to socialize, play the the harp, sing songs.
Mermaids throughout history are often portrayed as captivating women with beautiful long tresses reaching down to their waists. A diet rich in marine fungi, which is high in biotin, is said to contribute to a mermaid's beautiful long locks. Did you know that a mermaid's hair grows two inches in one week?! Some mermaids prefer to keep their hair short to remain inconspicuous on land or for practical reasons. For example, Siren Rayne likes to keep her hair at a reasonable length to avoid it getting caught in coral reefs. Ouch! Sounds quite painful.
Mermaids are known for having the power to enchant you with their enigmatic voices. We all know about the power of Ariel’s voice in Disney’s The Little Mermaid and how it attracted the prince and made the witch Ursula envious. The Little Mermaid is just one example of how enchanting a mermaid’s voice can be. By the way, I highly recommend Hans Christian Andersen's original version of The Little Mermaid from 1837; it's quite intense and a bit dark. Not everything in mermaid world is sunshine and rainbows - mermaids have issues too.
Speaking of dark...in some earlier myths, the term "mermaid" and "siren" were not used interchangeably. Sirens were often known to be evil in that they are said to use their voices to lure sailors to their death! This is the case in The Odyssey, an ancient epic poem written by Homer around 700 BC. In Homer's poem, sirens used their enchanting voices to lure sailors to an island where their ships would crash against the rocks nearby. The sailors were then stranded on the island listening to the siren’s voices until they perished. Talk about getting a song stuck in your head. I hate when that happens!
Sirens were often depicted as the "evil mermaid", as the one that seduced and killed. I've heard of mermaids that turn into sirens when life isn't so kind to them. What can I say? We're not all perfect.
It seems that the depiction of the mermaid or siren at a particular time in history is representative of the views about women during that period. We see the depiction of the siren as that of an evil temptress - a Jezebel if you will - that would "make" men commit adultery to no fault of their own. "Burn the siren witch!" But with progress comes open-mindedness and with that we begin to see the siren's reputation transform from an evil witch into a benevolent free-thinker that even rescues sailors now. In time, we saw authors and artists treat us with a little more respect and kindness.
Mystery surrounds mermaid history. Mermaid tales have been told throughout history going all the way back to Syria in 1000 BC where the Syrian goddess Atargatis dove into a lake to take the form of a mermaid. There are also some documented accounts of mermaid sightings throughout history by well-known people.
Explorer Christopher Columbus reported in his log that he saw mermaids on his voyages. It has been debated as to whether or not they were actually mermaids or manatees; however, there is a very big difference between a manatee's appearance and a mermaid. Wouldn't you agree? *Glances at a mirror*
A mermaid sighting was reported by the infamous English pirate known as "Blackbeard". Blackbeard was actually terrified of mermaids to the point he ordered his crew to steer clear of what he believed were mermaid-infested waters. It was said that mermaids actually told him to keep away from a certain area in the ocean or face the consequences.
From what I heard, Blackbeard tried to barter his way through the area by leaving a treasure chest filled with stolen jewels. It was soon discovered who the jewels belonged to - another mermaid! Even worse, the jewels belonged to a well-respected elder mermaid. It's no wonder why he was banned from the area.
A mermaid sighting off Newfoundland in 1614 was said to be recorded by John Smith. This story may or may not be true, but it's something to ponder on. The same John Smith from the story of Pocahontas is said to have written in his log the following:
“Her long green hair imparted to her an original character that was by no means unattractive,”
The interesting thing here is that some mermaids like to color their hair in different shades that resemble their environments. Green is a common choice for mermaid hair color as it works to camouflage as seaweed when close to the ocean's surface.
Brown, black, and red are other common color choices for mermaid hair. Mermaids dye their hair using octopus ink. Red is my favorite mermaid hair color, unfortunately it's not always easy to get your hands on it as not all squids produce red ink - only certain cephalopods.
A mermaid's natural hair color is far from conspicuous, as colors are wild and can even be multi-colored. If a mermaid is planning a visit to land, she needs to avoid consuming foods with biotin and she must carry octopus ink to dye her roots lest she be discovered. I can talk about mermaid hair all day!
Another vision of a mermaid included the well-reputed fisherman from Pennsylvania by the name of Henry Loucks. In 1881, Loucks reported not just one mermaid sighting, but several. It was actually on the June 8th, 1881 issue of the York Daily.
These are just some accounts of mermaid sightings. I encourage you to do some research and make sure you find good sources. If you are interested in finding out for yourself if there are mermaids among us, check out my blog post, 8 Ways to Discover Mermaids Among Us.
For now, I'll tell you this much...
If it's a full moon and you see a woman out and about singing joyfully, check to see if she's wearing moonstone...if she is, chances are you've spotted a mermaid. 🧜🏼♀️✨