Tuesday, 8 March 2011
The Mermaid Queen
The Celtic legends of Mermaids may have their origins in the part-man part-fish Sea-God Oannes who was worshiped by the Babylonians around 5000BCE,
who was also the Sun-God, rising out of the sea each day and disappearing back under the waves each night.
He was a civilizing force for the good, bringing light and life to his people, representing the positive values connected with the sea.
Oannes' Goddess counterpoint was Atargatis, a Semetic moon Goddess who became the first official Mermaid and represents nature herself..
The Mermaid is the most persistent and pervasive symbol of the old Goddess energy that represents women, particularly their mysterious, life-generating element.
However, battling the Ancient ways in an effort to establish itself, the early Christian church promoted the ideas that mermaids were dangerous temptresses and had no souls, but embodied the lure of fleshy pleasures to be shunned by the God-fearing.
The anti feminine propaganda was also carried out against many harmless old women who were put to death as witches by burning or hanging for practicing traditional herb-lore.
Similarly the Goddess-Mermaid was stripped of all her spiritual qualities and relegated to be an evil Siren of the seas.
Such views have endured in the many sailors stories that simultaneously tell of one family of mermaids, the Nereids, who were protective of sailors, whilst another, the dangerous Sirens, lured men to their doom.
In contrast with such negative portrayals, the earlier myths and legends such as those of the Isle of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland, present many tales in which Mermaids and Druids abound in happy community.
Known as the Isle of Druids and once called Innis nan Druidhneach, Iona is known to be a 'thin place' where the veil between worlds can be traversed, a place where the sense of the sacred seems more pronounced than in more mundane parts of the world.
Iona was also a seat of learning long before the first Christians first came to these lands.
There are tales that a new Divinity will take human form on the Isle of Iona, this time in the body of a woman, an amalgam of the Divine Sophia and the Goddess called by many names including Brith, Brid and Mary of the Gael. It is said that when She arrives, the world will know peace.
Today the remains of over 350 standing stones are still to be found on Iona....
In this film we also see the Selkie, who according to Celtic folklore is mythological shapeshifting sea fairie, usually living in the form of a bright-eyed seal and found in Northern Scotland and the Shetland Islands.
In earlier times Selkies often came to land in a human form, where they would dance, especially on the night of the full moon.
In taking human form the Selkies would shed their Seal-skins, and hide them in a safe place.
There are many tales from the clans of leaders taking Selkie wives by stealing their skins, because Selkies are said to make good wives, although they always longed for the sea, and would return to their Seal form as soon as they gained repossession of their skins.
Fortunately for us, our Selkie was not pursued by anybody, but runs free to this day, as far as we know.
Following Lisa Thiel's lead in her beautiful song, in this film we celebrate the life giving goodness of the Goddess of the Seas, the Mermaid Queen restored.
For the sake of narrative unity, I have named our Scottish man Morcant-Taisch, composed of two ancient Celtic names, MorCant meaning Sea Circle, or Circle of the Sea, and Taisch being the Celtic name given to those with the Second Sight.
Morcant-Taisch then has been blessed with the Second Sight and sees the Queen of the Mermaids visiting her ancient kingdom of Innis nan Druidhneach, The Isle of Iona.
Grateful thanks for Lisa Thiel's permission to use the Song of the Mermaid Queen (C) 1990 Lisa Thiel,
And David J. Macvitie for Kaan Pipes Intro instrumental, from Circle of the Seasons (c) 2005 Lisa Thiel
via Sacred Dream .com ( http://www.sacreddream.com/ )