Back of mermaid mirror from my friend, Sherrie Morgan
“Are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.”
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, July 2102
This statement, by a tax-funded government agency no less, was issued in response to a ‘mocumentary’ by The Animal Plant Network. Their show, Mermaids: The Body Found, was the most successful one in its history and has been rebroadcast many times.
Fascination with mermaids has endured from ancient civilizations. Stone Age cave paintings from 30,000 years ago are the oldest known depiction of magical creatures with female torsos and fish-like trunks. Most ancient cultures, especially those by the sea, had stories and drawings of female water goddesses and mermaids. The belief spanned all parts of the globe from Japan, the Mediterranean, India, Africa and Inuit and Polynesian cultures. According to writer Doreen Virtue in her book Mermaids 101, even Christianity’s Mother Mary is known as the “Star of the Sea” and has a connection to water.
Which led me to wonder: why the popularity of mermaids and not mermen?
After researching, the reason that makes the most sense to me is because water symbolically represents the feminine. Water symbolizes deep emotions, intuition and the subconscious.
The ocean can be calm and peaceful or it may unpredictably erupt into crashing tsunamis. As creatures of the sea, mermaids were seen as powerful, alluring sirens that sailors were in danger of becoming enchanted by, just as they were at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Fascination with mermaid mythology has returned and in March, 2012 USA Today reported that the publishing industry will soon be releasing a large number of books about mermaids, particularly in the Young Adult category. The article speculated that ‘Mermaids might be the New Vampires’.
I cannot wait to read each and every one of the new books. My own book with mermaid characters, Siren’s Secret, will be out in November. I’ve always loved the ocean and the possibility of magic—small wonder I dreamed of being a mermaid as a little girl.
Related to mermaids is the mythology of the lost undersea kingdom of Atlantis. Again, the notion of aquatic beings with an advanced civilization fills me with a sense of awed fascination. It’s so much fun to wonder what if and let my imagination roam. Perhaps that will be another book one day.
Does the idea of mermaids intrigue you? Why? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Dreaming of mermaids,