Archive for January 19, 2007

Mermaid Musings

Mermaid tales are ancient and lovely myths first blooming 3000 years ago among the Assyrians. 

The goddess Atargatis fell in love with a shepherd and . . . in the process, killed him.  Proving once and for all and early in our civilization that “love hurts”.

Horrified, she tried to take the form of a fish but because of her divinity the magic warped wrong and the result was half human and half fish.  The earliest pictures of this showed poor Atargatis with the head and the arms of a woman and the rest fishy.  Luckily for her image, subsequent tales made her more beautiful – so much so that later, the Greeks mixed the story up with Aphrodite and, of course, the Sirens, those famous sea creatures that lure men to their deaths – like Atargatis’ hapless shepherd.

There is though another tale of Atargatis that the young man impregnated her and in shame she flung herself into the sea and again human female/fish.  The child grew up to become Semiramus, queen of the Assyrians.

There is a blue then green then black poem by Adrienne Rich   “Diving into the Wreck” which is achingly lovely. Disturbing. Perfect.

Thus the origins of the name for the Glintlit’s Mermaid Blue Collection.