Eyre Affairs

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"Yes, you are dripping like a mermaid..." ~ Jane Eyre

'Thou rememberest
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a Dolphin's back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music.' ~ Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Oannes was worshipped by the Babylonians around 5000BCE. Early images of Oannes show him as a man wrapped in a fish cloak, but later the image evolved into the half-man, half-fish form in which he became more widely known. A civilizing force for the good, and light and life to his people, Oannes represented the positive values connected with the sea.
Oannes' goddess counterpoint was Atargatis (or, Atergatis, or in Greece, Derketo) a Semetic moon goddess who became the first official mermaid, being depicted with a fish's tail; fish were sacred to her. She and Oannes were said to be the parents of the legendary Semiramis, an historical queen of Babylon. Atargartis was an important fertility goddess, also representing the darker, night forces of love and their potentially destructive power. As Dea Syria, her cult reached as far as Britain; the migration of the ubiquitous mermaid had begun. Later this goddess became identified with Aphrodite...

My goal this summer is to swim like a mermaid.

Aside from her origins in Greek Mythology and lore from mariners, mermaid tales do not interest me since society has trivialized them. I never did like the fairy tale, I certainly disliked the animated film, I find the sexual symbolism trite, and I find many images of mermaids to be in poor taste.

The true beauty of a mermaid is her simple form; she is both a piece of the ocean and a piece of the earth.

A perfect balance of both.

To be completely submerged in water is dangerous; there is no sense of balance amidst the risk of tempests. To shift from wave to wave becomes pointless and banal; to constantly float is depressing aimlessness. To be completely on land is dangerous; there is no sense of flow to daily life and there is a risk of burnout. To jaunt from rock to rock becomes tiresome and frustrating; to constantly search for an oasis without the chance of finding one leaves a soul barren.

To swim like a mermaid means to enjoy the waves as they flow, but to seek dryer land when she sees a tempest approaching. To swim like a mermaid means to understand the importance of staying grounded and rock solid, but to indulge in an oasis as often as she can. To swim like a mermaid means to feel the balance of both worlds of the depths of the ocean and heights of the land.

Hence, my goal this summer is to swim like a mermaid...


Blogger Barry said...

OK, part of the 'atractiveness' of mermaids, is they are unreachable- or what ever good word you can come up with . You are the good one at expressing herself.

I hope you get to swimming great though.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Connie said...

Just like Darryl Hannah in Splash - right?!?! Kidding.

I like that goal. I like it a lot.

6:44 PM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

Barry ~ I am lookinf forward to being unreachable next week when swimming in Key West. :) The word was just perfect, btw.

Auto ~ You know, I never saw that movie! And I am such a big Tom Hanks fan.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

This post makes me reminisce about playing mermaids with my best friend at her grandmother's pool when we were little...we would spend hours describing what we looked like whike we sat on the steps in the shallow end of the pool and then not have any time left to play. But we did sometimes manage to find time to practice "mermaid dives" off the side of the pool, which were done from a sitting position. =)

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

8:30 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

But what about Sirens? Are they the same thing? I like Sirens. I like mermaids. Did you like mermaids a la Harry Potter? They were pretty cool. I like anything mythic; I'm a nerd. But I see your point about modern pop culture trivializing them. Bastards!

8:35 PM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

Kate ~ I love your game as a child; I do wonder what you looked like as a mermaid! I am sure quite lovely.

Marty ~ While Homer never really described the Sirens as mermaid-like, they are usually depicted that way. :) So, yes, you are certainly right. The Sirens kept Odysseus from Penelope, so while I like them, I can't bring myself to love them. However, I do love that you are a nerd and a Star Wars geek. :) And yes, anything a la Harry Potter is cool!

8:56 PM  
Blogger Madfoot said...

Tom Hanks, feh! The gem in that movie was John Candy, the greatest actor who ever lived.

Here is a mermaid: :)8*>>>><

The salt water of the ocean is so primal! it always makes me feel like I'm back in the womb. But, ya know, with more room, and sun.

9:16 PM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

Coz ~
Thanks for the mermaid. :) Did you ever dress as a mermaid in the parade in Brooklyn? Nothing wrong with visiting the womb once in a while, so long as one doesnt pull an Edna Pontellier! She always irked me.

9:23 PM  
Blogger work in progress said...

Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake, but my interpretation was that you were using mermaids as a metaphor for traveling between worlds, changing perspective, staying aware of all that takes place and not just what is in your backyard, not resting on your laurels (so to speak). Is that how you spell laurels? I'm too lazy to open another window and check.

Was I being too deep? Are you just intending to swim like a rock star (mixed metaphor) while in Key West and getting drunk on key lime pie?

Either way, great post ;-) Lucky for you, key lime pie and Key West are both reachable!

11:19 PM  
Blogger Madfoot said...

Well, what a silly question: of COURSE I DID! One year I was a generic mermaid; the next, I wore a French Maid outfit with a long black tail. I was a mer-MAID, get it?!

Er... Edna WHOM? I'm only the child of English professors, not one myself. Eep!

12:18 AM  
Blogger Eunuch said...

Danke...I believe I will go swim now!

1:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

Amy, beautiful job of reclaiming the mermaid. You are an eloquent advocate. It was much needed. You may not have the fins, but you're attuned to the spirit, and that is the most important attribute of all.

1:44 AM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

WIP ~ I was going for the metaphor, but now that you mention it, I am definitely going to swim like a rock start in the Keys (we have a tiki bar poolside) and eat lots of key lime pie (Blond Yerba offers frozen key lime pie on a stick covered in chocolate!). I loved your comment, and I love your writing.

Coz ~ Mer-maid? I love it! :) Do you have photos? I know you have read the Awakening by Kate Chopin. :)

Eunuch ~ You are overdue for a swim, sir. I wish you were on the base that had the pool! I hope the first thing you do when you get home is spend days poolside and beachside; you deserve it. :)

David ~ Thank you, as always, for your kind comment. Indeed, of late I am attuned to the spirit since mine needs some rejeuvenation.

5:18 AM  
Blogger Marty said...

Dear Thursday Next:
But, it's not MY fault that the twerps over at Disney never read Homer! The only Homer they know is Homer J. Simpson. I'm just not as cool as Aladdin (that jokey twerp) or The Lion King (his dad sounded like James Earl Jones! Yay!). Hmm. Maybe I'll go find Aquaman and see what his take is on all of this.


ps (smiles)

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

I love this post, you can apply it to whatever you want. Being free and being strong. Great visual as well.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

What a beautifully written post. You truly have an exceptional way of expressing yourself.

6:06 PM  

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