Last night I had the pleasure to be a guest on The Witch’s Hour podcast on Inner Demon Media and it was a great hour of discussion and conversation. I talked a bit about how I began my spiritual path, the “dark” side of paganism, Gatekeeping and its detriment to the Pagan community plus more. I am looking forward to being invited back in the future for another episode.
Be sure to also check out their Facebook page HERE.
Since I was a child playing on the beaches of Oregon and California, I have had a fascination with all things regarding the sea from its marine life to maritime history and especially the mysterious tales of its beings told in ancient to even modern folklore. One of those mystical beings of the sea I adore are Mermaids which can be seen in folklore tales all around the world. Today’s post is all about Mermaid folklore, their origins, mythology and more. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did putting it together for my readers.
Early origins of Mermaids
The roots of mermaid mythology are more varied than one would expect. In modern myth we tend to see mermaids in a singular way – kind and benevolent to humans who keep to their own kind in the deep waters of the ocean. Not all stories go this way, though, and in most cases the most ancient tales of mermaid mythology follow quite a different view.
The earliest known mermaid legends come from Syria around 1000 B.C. where the Syrian goddess Atargatis dove into a lake to take the form of a fish, but the powers there would not allow her give up her great beauty, so only her bottom half became a fish and she kept her top half in human form.
As myths tend to do, the story changed over time and Atargatis became mixed with Syrian goddess Ashtarte, who is generally considered the counterpart to Greek mythology’s Aphrodite. Though Aphrodite is rarely portrayed in mermaid form, this evolution of mermaid mythology is what led to Aphrodite’s role in the mythology of Pisces, which clearly has roots in Syrian mythology.
Later tales in the mythology of mermaids stem from Homer’s epic “The Odyssey”, where some mythologists believe the Sirens to have been in mermaid form. This was an extremely popular version of the mermaid throughout history. Many popular tales including legends from the British Isles and the famous Arabian Nights tales identify mermaids in exactly this fashion. In these myths, mermaids would sing to men on ships or shores nearby, practically hypnotizing them with their beauty and song. Those affected would rush out to sea only to be either drowned, eaten, or otherwise sent to their doom.Continue reading HERE.
“Flows the Rhine as flowing wine, Bright in its unrest, Sweet with odors of the vine; Heaven in its breast.”
So the boatman Hugo sung, Long, long ago, By the Lurley-berg that hung In the sunset glow.
At that fateful rock, upraised From its foamy base, Suddenly the boatman gazed With a stricken face.
On its summit, wondrous fair, Shining angel-wise, Sat a maid, with golden hair And beseeching eyes.
From a shoulder’s rosy sphere All the robe that slid, Ripple bright and water-clear, Rather show’d than hid.
As her hair her fingers through (Fingers pearly white) Slowly pass’d, the diamond dew Fell and broke in light.
But a gold harp from her feet Lifted she ere long, And its music, pulsing sweet, Fed a wondrous song.
And the boatman, drifting fast, Listen’d to his cost; On the rocks before him cast! In the whirlpool lost!
Then the Lorelei’s luring form Faded from the eye, As a cloud fades, rosy warm, In a purple sky.”
– The Lorelei, 1869 From Harper’s Weekly, January 16, 1869 The Mariners’ Museum Research Library and ArchivesSOURCE
Though not as well known as their female counterparts, mermen have an equally fierce reputation for summoning storms, sinking ships and drowning sailors. One especially feared group, the Blue Men of the Minch, are said to dwell in the Outer Hebrides off the coast of Scotland, according to The Scotsman. They look like ordinary men (from the waist up anyway) with the exception of their blue-tinted skin and gray beards. Local lore claims that before laying siege to a ship, the Blue Men often challenge its captain to a rhyming contest; if the captain is quick enough of wit and agile enough of tongue he can best the Blue Men and save his sailors from a watery grave.
Japanese legends have a version of merfolk called kappa. Said to reside in Japanese lakes, coasts and rivers, these child-size water spirits appear more animal than human, with simian faces and tortoise shells on their backs, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Like the Blue Men, the kappa sometimes interact with humans and challenge them to games of skill in which the penalty for losing is death. Kappa are said to have an appetite for children and those foolish enough to swim alone in remote places — but they especially prize fresh cucumbers.
Throughout West, South and Central Africa, the mythical water spirit called Mami Wata, which means “Mother of the Waters”, was once worshiped for their ability to bestow beauty, health and wisdom to their followers, according to the Royal Museums Greenwich. Mami Wata is often portrayed as a mermaid or snake charmer, however, her appearance has been influenced by presentations of other indigenous African water spriest as well as European mermaids and Hindu gods and goddesses, according to the Smithsonian. Continue reading HERE.
Southeast Asian folklore includes the story of a mermaid princess, Suvannamaccha (meaning “golden fish”).
In the Ramayana, the countries retellings of the Indian epic poem, one of the heroes, Hanuman attempts to build a bridge of stones across the sea.
His plans are hampered by Suvannamaccha who has been instructed to prevent the causeway’s completion. The two meet and fall in love and Suvannamaccha ends up helping Hanuman finishing the path. The mermaid is now seen as a herald of good luck and her figure is depicted in charms, streamers and icons throughout Cambodia, Thailand and Lao. SOURCE
Having a close connection and love of the ocean and all that is in its world from the Marine life, its still existing mysteries and the amazing folklore as well as the Gods and Goddesses associated with the seas. I am always exploring into different deities of the seas and learning about their importance with the native cultures who revere them and their importance. One such God is Kanaloa, the Hawaiian God of the ocean, long distance travel and associated with the underworld, fresh water sources and even healing. So in today’s blog post I would like to give honor to this important Hawaiian God.
Kanaloa is known as Kāne’s traveling partner. Kanaloa is said to be tall with a fair-skinned complexion. Kāne is darker, with curly hair and thick lips. These two gods are well known as ʻawa drinkers and for establishing sources of water. Some say Kanaloa would point out the source, and Kāne would bring forth the water. Kāne and Kanaloa are also known as growers of maiʻa.
Kanaloa and Kāne are paired together in other work as well. In building a waʻa (canoe), Kāne is invoked, while Kanaloa, lord of ocean winds, is invoked in sailing the waʻa. The northern limit of the sun’s seasonal travel is called “ke alanui polohiwa a Kāne” (“the dark path of Kāne”); its southern limit is “ke alanui polohiwa a Kanaloa” (“the dark path of Kanaloa”).SOURCE
As a whole, the pattern represents the Aka Web, or The Web of Life, the symbolic connection of all things to each other. In this aspect, the star at the center is the spider/shaman, or the individual who is aware of being the weaver of his or her own life, a dreamweaver.
In another aspect, the eight lines represent “mana”, or spiritual power, because another meaning of “mana” is “branching lines” and the number eight in Hawaiian tradition is symbolic of great power. The four circles represent “aloha”, or love, because the “lei” or garland, a symbol of love, is circular and is used figuratively in Hawaiian to mean a circle (as in “Hanalei – Circular bay”), and because the word “ha” is a part of the word “aloha” and also means “life” and the number four. Together the circles and lines represent the harmony of Love and Power as an ideal to develop.
The star pattern is composed of a dot in the center representing the Aumakua, or Higher Self; a ring representing Lono, or the Mental Self; the seven limbs of the star representing the Seven Principles of Huna; and the ring around the star representing Ku, the Physical or Subconscious Self. One point of the star is always down, aligned with a straight line of the web, representing the connection of the inner with the outer.
The Eye of Kanaloa symbol generates subtle energy, known as “ki” in Hawaiian. This energy can be used for healing, for stimulating physical and mental faculties, and for many other purposes. Most people can sense the energy, which may feel like a tingle, a current, a pressure or a coolness, by holding the hand, fingers, cheek or forehead near the symbol. By itself the symbol will help to harmonize the physical, emotional and mental energies of a room or other location. The energy may be accessed more directly by meditative gazing or by holding the symbol near something that needs harmonizing. The symbol can also amplify and harmonize other energy sources by placing it behind or in front of the source.
A person’s spirit animal is discovered in numerous ways which could be through a dream, spirit-walk or by other means in which they connect. For me it was a personal experience I prefer keeping private but the out come has led me on a path of deep connection and passion to a species of Wolf known as the Canadian Coastal Wolf also known as Sea Wolves. The Canadian Coastal Wolf is said to have “one paw in the forest and one paw in the sea” which is a saying that deeply resonates with me. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and spending a lot of my adulthood in Oregon, Washington and even British Columbia I have always been partial to the coastal forests. Even more so being a man of the sea who had a career in the U.S. Coast Guard I have a passionate love of the sea. I resonate so deeply with these Wolves on so many levels from their diet to their lifestyle that it is almost overwhelming at times when I get to see new footage taken of them in their coastal environment on the coast of Canada.
The Canadian Coastal Wolf is so unique that they get their own classification as a sub-species of the Gray Wolf. So now I am going to load you with a tone of great resources of articles, documentaries and books I highly recommend you browse through. This species of Wolf is so unique and special yet very few are aware of them and their essential part in the balance of the Canadian coastal environment. Sadly they are in danger of hunting and humans encroaching upon their environment. It for me and others so important these Wolves are protected and their feeding grounds be preserved so that the Sea Wolves can carry on with many generations to come.
The amazing sea wolves of the Great Bear RainforestByZiya Tong
“The wolves eat the brains” says William Housty. If you’re walking along the creek beds of the Great Bear Rainforest and see decapitated salmon scattered about, it’s a tell-tale sign that sea wolves have been in the area. “They just take a bite take out of the head, and everything else is left fully intact.” This unusual feeding strategy has evolved among the coastal wolves that live in and around Bella Bella, B.C.
First, sea wolves — or marine wolves as they’re also known — are fast, powerful swimmers. Housty remembers an encounter he and his father once had while boating: “We looked ahead of us and we could see something in the water. We couldn’t tell what it was, but it was moving. As we got closer, it was actually two wolves swimming across the channel.” One reason the wolves are tricky to spot, is because they move stealthily in the water, their backs and bodies submerged, and with only their eyes, ears and snouts peeking above the surface.
The wolves aren’t just dog paddling, either; they’re distance swimmers. There is at least one pack on Goose Island off the coast, about 13 kilometres from Bella Bella, and there is no other way to get there except to swim. We also know that the wolves aren’t sedentary. Many of them migrate through the archipelago, swimming from island to island throughout the year. At times, they’re tracking the salmon, but other times they show up even when there’s no salmon to be found. That’s because sea wolves have a diverse diet. A recent study found that it can be up to 85 per cent marine-based: lone wolves take down seals and otters, while packs have been spotted feasting on the occasional whale carcass. The carnivores also, surprisingly, eat shellfish. Using their paws, they dig in the sand for clams, and use their powerful jaws to crack open the shells of mussels. As for the remaining terrestrial diet? Like their larger mainland counterparts, the timber wolf, sea wolves also hunt moose and black-tailed deer.SOURCE
Unfortunately as far as books regarding Sea Wolves there are only two I know of and one of them I recently ordered from Canada which I am eagerly awaiting its arrival. The one I do have is absolutely fantastic which is called The Sea Wolves: Living Wild in the Great Bear Rainforest. This book is filled with stunning photography and wonderful detailed information about these special Wolves. The two men responsible for this excellent book are Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read. Ian is and award winning photographer and filmmaker as well as a co-founder of a great organization called Pacific Wild which supports the protection and preservation of the Canadian coastal environment. Nicholas Read is a life long lover of animals and a retired journalist and was an instructor at Langara College in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The other book which I am eagerly waiting for can be found on Pacific Wild’s website store which is The Last Wild Wolves by Ian McAllister and you can get your copy HERE.
My Recommended Documentaries
I really enjoy documentaries of many different subjects but to find some all about my beloved Sea Wolves is fantastic. Below are three videos I thoroughly enjoy and are a part of my online video collection.
The man behind Conscience and Nonsense surprised me by making a free sponsored advertisement I was told is valid through 2024! On top of that Nate said he has something else in the works regarding possibly an Úlfsvættr Craftsman inspired mini comic series but more on that if it comes into fruition.
But for now this is what he produced for me to use across my social media.