Mermaid mosaic art, a sub-genre in its own right
(4 min read) Those of you who follow this blog are well aware of the fact that I LOVE reading spooky stuff. So it won’t come as a surprise that I am currently reading the blood-chilling Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. The book talks a lot about mermaids and the old myths and legends that still surround them to this day. And let me tell you something… Ariel was never a pretty little thing with vivid imagination and love for humankind.
The earliest data about mermaids were recorded in ancient Assyria, some 25 centuries before the Common Era. Records from back then say that the goddess Atargatis flung herself into the sea and transformed into the first mermaid. She did so out of desperation and grief over the death of her human lover, a shepherd whose name has been lost in the transcripts. After that first record, the legends and reports of sightings just kept coming. Almost every country with some larger water surface within its borders has its own mermaid folklore.
Now let me ask you something, if mermaids really came from deep sorrow and despair, what are the chances that they are these Ariel-like, friendly and outgoing creatures? None. Those old sailor myths about the mermaid luring them into a slow and painful death sound much more likely once you read the Atargatis myth, amirite?
You are probably wondering how did we even get to this watered-down (pun intended) mermaid version we have today. Well, I suppose it all started with Hans Christian Andersen and his story about the little mermaid, but that was also a tragic take on the legends. However, that is the story that Disney took and adapted into the children’s animated movie we all fell in love with. On the same note, these days people have a tendency to romanticize monsters. Just look at the way the bloodsucking vampires are portrayed in The Twilight Saga, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, etc. And the same goes for werewolves, witches, and all sorts of creepy creatures.
So was Ariel really a Jessica Rabbit tailed lookalike? Probably not. Was she really anything for that matter? We might get an answer to that question in the future. Now you are probably thinking that I’m one of those conspiracy theorists or something, but just keep in mind that just 5% of Earth’s oceans have been explored and charted, so who’s to say there are not some pretty AND horrible mermaids out there? In the meantime, we get to think of the mermaids the way we want to. If you fell in love with mermaids through fairytales and cartoons, stay in love. If you are a bit creeped out by the notion of a humanlike sea creature, but you are still weirdly drawn to them, you are not the only one.
So until science explains all those mermaid sightings and our fascination with them, we are allowed to dream, write stories, make movies, and create some gorgeous mosaics. Sea beauties or sea monsters, it is up to you!