Conchomancy: Janthina, the Blind Mystic

Janthina janthina is one of my favorite shells and, to my great delight, not only did I receive an actual Janthina shell from my friend and teacher Michelle Hanson, but other representations of the Janthina keep finding their way to me. This, combined with the natural attraction I have always felt to the shell and how much I relate to various aspects of it, reinforces it as at least one past & current (and perhaps mainly transitionally) personal shell partner for me.

janthina trinket box

A few years before I started studying the Ocean Oracle and received the actual shell, I inherited from my grandmother a lovely little porcelain trinket box in the shape of a Janthina. At the time I just thought it was a purple seashell but was so happy to later discover exactly what shell it represented.

My life has been filled with painful personal challenges for several months now, and it has been nigh impossible for me to apply myself to almost any spiritual or creative endeavors. Indeed, any endeavor more complicated than getting out of bed and through the day has been a battle. Especially throughout these struggles and changes, the meanings and messages of Janthina have been all the more profound and have revealed themselves to be somewhat more varied and intricate than I thought, at least in ways and for me personally, which I can’t emphasize enough.

In Michelle’s guidebook Ocean Oracle: What Seashells Reveal About Our True Nature, the meaning attributed to the Janthina is as follows…

“Living in a fantasy world, clinging to the clouds with no desire to be shown anything different; a state of denial.”

She continues with a more detailed explanation…

“Although it is unable to swim, the Janthina lives on the surface of the ocean far from shore. It accomplishes this by attaching itself to a homemade raft of mucus-cemented air bubbles. Its survival depends on clinging to these air bubbles, which is equivalent to the desire to live in fantasy, for if it becomes dislodged from the raft it will drown. In addition, the animal is blind, indicating a preference to not see the reality”.

Janthina is indeed very unique among mollusks in the way that it lives in the ocean. Frankly, I found it to be of a more admirable, daring nature than one of just denial and being willfully blind to reality. But this isn’t entirely what Michelle Hanson means to imply, as the meaning of the shells can be complicated and their ultimate interpretation depends strongly on the reaction or attraction of the one choosing the shell in a reading.

I take that to be perhaps the more “negative” or shadowy side of its meanings, rather like a reversed Tarot card or upside-down rune, but again this “negative or positive” interpretation or influence is more determined by whether someone likes the shell or not.

Researching the mollusk and how it grows and lives left me in awe of its very magical ways, and inspired this little poem, which I would like to confess I actually still took some artistic license with and in no way meant to change or disparage its meaning within the Ocean Oracle

Fair little Janthina,
lilac fairy of the sea –
you are no clinging coward
lost in vain fantasy.

You are a treasure rare and brave
for your raft is your life,
or the depths are your grave

The very depth you gaze upon
from your lofty sea-ceiling,
where you see all that I’m feeling,
little empath floating In-Between.

You need not eyes to see
For still you feel and dare
and feast on most dangerous fare!

Your glistening, highest abode
is shared by none other pelagic
And though so delicate and small
You are filled with transformative magic!

Life is so precarious and unpredictable and I feel that, to some extent, we are all barely holding on to whatever we create to keep ourselves afloat. We sometimes have to be very resourceful and creative and I feel that this can be beautifully reflected in the Janthina.

Of course, sometimes we create or think we have created something that may end up not being what we believed, or that we shouldn’t hold on to anymore, as I personally learned in my life recently. It can be bad enough that perhaps we are or can come across as something of a “clinging coward lost in a vain fantasy”.

But Janthina can also further teach us to adapt and to make the best of what we have, especially when it is not what we planned, wanted or is uncomfortable.

Here are some helpful associations and correspondences that presented themselves to me as I studied and meditated upon all aspects of the Janthina shell and the miraculous mollusk that creates it. I admit I may have, in my enthusiasm, dug for a few a little more than they may have presented themselves! But not much.

 

Janthina correspondence graphic

© 2018 Meredith Everwhite

To elaborate on all these, let us begin with gender, which I have assigned as feminine. This is due not only to its small, delicate nature and coloring and how passively it lives (apart from its predation!), but almost entirely to the fact that all Janthinas are born as males and turn into females as they grow.

While this is not the only mollusk to have unique sexual features, including undergoing sex change in its life, I still find at least some of the following to be relevant and helpful. But I also want to clarify that there are other shells that may still, while having some of this in common with Janthina, illustrate these points and energies better and more directly.

It is also because of this feature that I find it can assist men with developing and honoring their feminine side, as well as those who undergo male-to-female sex change, or biological males who simply identify as female. Even those, male or female, who discover they are not heterosexual can benefit from Janthina’s peaceful, accepting energy, I believr.

Additionally, it can be beneficial for healing (or can represent the need to heal) sexual abuse as there is no direct contact between males and females when it comes to reproducing, and males do not even possess a penis.

Obviously the first element I would associate with any seashell is water. However, some have certain characteristics which may align it with other elements. In the case of Janthina, I associate the secondary element of air, as it resides permanently between Air and Water, a powerful “in-between” place. It can therefore represent balance between logic and emotion, which are represented by Air and Water, respectively.

This helps us see different ways to interpret its attachment to its raft, and when we use that as a metaphor for our own lives and habits, we can ask ourselves many revealing questions. Are we balanced between logic and emotion, staying afloat? Or are we losing our grip and sinking, being controlled by emotion alone?

What is it that keeps you afloat in this world, and how do you view it? Is it something you could let go of if you had to, allowing you to move on in a healthy way? Or is it something that you have made so weighty and important that you feel like you would die if you lost it?

 

janthina on bubble raft

© 2016 Jackie Sones – Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute

 

I find Janthina to be most closely related to and representative of the astrological sign of Pisces, being not only watery, but a color associated with both Pisces and its planetary rulers of Jupiter and Neptune (as well as with other correspondences). Hence, I also consider the shell’s “planetary rulers” to be not only Neptune but the Moon.

Pisces is also the sign that is most likely to become severely emotionally crippled and afflicted if out of balance or bereft of nurturing. The Moon, apart from its marine associations, also has much to do with illusion, a shadow side of the shell’s meanings.

Janthina carries energies that are appropriate to the Third Eye chakra, which has to do with spiritual Sight, intuition and higher spiritual understanding. I also relate it to the Crown chakra, the highest, as it too dwells high on top of the sea.

Its color, again, is related to both of these chakras, as its hue can vary from pale violet to indigo.

The fact that Janthina is eyeless further attests to its associations with intuition, in my mind. I was reminded of the advice of Obi-Wan Kenobi to young Luke as he began his Jedi training…

“Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them!”

Janthina seems to do just fine without eyes! Being small, fragile, unable to swim and blind does not stop it from feeding on dangerous velellas and Portuguese Man-O’-War jellyfish! (velellas are technically hydrozoans, Portuguese Man-O’-War is technically a siphonophore, closely related to jellyfish)

I personally am not sure that a natural lack of physical eyes is necessarily a fair metaphor for a conscious choice that would be a “preference to not see the reality”, but it can remind us that it is all the more important to use our intuition and be honest with ourselves about what we are perceiving and clinging to. As long as you sense the truth and reality one way or another!

 

janthina eating velella aphotomarine

Janthina janthina eating a velella, image courtesy of David Fenwick – Aphotomarine Photography

 

Seashells and crystals have wonderful similarities and make great partners in healing, meditation, ritual work, etc. No prizes for guessing my reasons for partnering Janthina with amethyst! Not only for the obvious color similarities, but the energies and uses attached to amethyst (dream work, meditation, intuition, mysticism, high vibrations) make these a perfect pair.

Remember, many energies and uses attributed to natural substances often begin with their very deliberate color. It is not a purely coincidental visual aesthetic, and this is the case with many of my Janthina correspondences.

 

janthina and amethyst

 

There is a good handful of Tarot cards in which I can see the energy, messages and variations there of of the Janthina, the main three being the Hanged Man, the Queen of Cups, and the Seven of Cups.

 

shadowscapes-hanged-man.jpg

The Hanged Man is suspended in a rather precarious but enlightening position, much like Janthina is. Again, the fact that the Janthina has no eyes means that it must rely on other ways of perceiving, just as the Hanged Man teaches us is sometimes necessary, and that a simple shift in perspective can make all the difference.

 

shadowscapes queen of cups large

The feminine Queen of Cups also dances most gracefully and fearlessly upon the surface of the waters she knows so well. She has mastered her emotions and the realm of intuition and is the Lady of the first and most magical element.

As you can see, Stephanie Law’s representation of the Queen of Cups and the Seven of Cups in her Shadowscapes Tarot are especially appropriate for the correspondence of this shell.

The Seven of Cups is probably the most fitting card for the Janthina, as it reflects the duality of her fragile and somewhat illusory nature.

Many consider the Seven of Cups to automatically represent illusions and getting lost in fantasy but, somewhat like Janthina, it is more complex than that.

The reversed Seven of Cups can certainly indicate temptations, indulgence, being blinded by fantasies and futile pie in the sky, or poorly guided choices, i.e. an excess or sort of perverse or twisted version of its potential energy.

However, upright, it represents imagination, possibilities, choices and visions. Seven is the number of understanding, magical forces, esoteric knowledge, imagination and mystery – all relevant key-words for the Janthina, again at least in accordance with my personal experience of additional energies of the shell.

Though all those aspects and energies can indeed have a lot to do with the Ocean Oracle’s meaning of Janthina, and are powerful tools that can help one understand and see clearly and wisely choose what to build a life on and hold onto.

shadowscapes 7 of cups

Just as seashells can and do have helpful crystal partners, they also share similarities with herbs and flowers. All the magical tools & treasures of nature have various  correspondences, connections and allies!

I relate Janthina to lavender, violets and periwinkle. Again, color and its natural attributions and energies play a part in my perhaps obvious and predictable choices!

lavender

The beautiful, floral lavender has long been associated with calming, healing energies and high vibrations. Janthina, as we have seen, also has very peaceful energy and a naturally high vibration which is reflected in its mystical color and the literal height at which in lives. Lavender is also associated with the Air element.

Violets, apart from being violet, also have watery associations in Greek legend to link them to Janthina. The playwright Aristophanes referred to Athens as the “Violet-Crowned City,” because the name of Ion, the legendary founder of Athens who was crowned there, is identical to “ion,” the Greek word for violet. According to legend, Ion was leading his people to Attica and was welcomed by water nymphs, who gave him violets as signs of their good wishes.

 

The periwinkle flower I associate with Janthina because of its color, its five, slightly spiraling petals that echo the shell’s spiral and give it a magical, pentacle-like appearance, and the fact that its name derives from the Latin vincire, meaning “to bind”, or “fetter”, and the Janthina is surely bound to its airy raft as a matter of life-or-death.

Infact, periwinkle is associated with death, as it was frequently grown in graveyards (both intentionally and naturally as it is invasive and thrives on undisturbed land) and the Welsh believed that one would be haunted for a year should they pick periwinkle from a grave.

 

In conclusion, most of the energies I attribute to the Janthina, including the shadow meanings and conditions it may assist in healing, should be more or less self-explanatory. And while “feelings of separation from Source or of divine abandonment” may also be especially obvious, let me expound on this notion.

Much of the following explanation of this notion is very personal for me, to be fair, and is somewhat my own unique extrapolation though I don’t believe it to be too excessive or off the mark.

The Janthina, as has become thoroughly illustrated by now, depends entirely upon its bubble raft to survive in a vast ocean in which it cannot swim. Do you ever feel like this? Like you live in a world in which you barely know how to get by as the unique spirit that you are?

As I asked earlier on, what is your personal raft? Your spirituality? A relationship? Your career? Sometimes, no matter what we do or consider the center of our world, we can find ourselves becoming tempest-tossed and sinking into the depths of despair, losing what we so loved.

When something we have been clinging to with all our strength and determination turns out to not be what we thought – or even to be our very undoing – it is so easy to feel like we’ve been abandoned or betrayed by whatever higher power we believe in.

Itis easy to believe in, to trust, or to love something or someone when everything is going your way. Our convictions are put to the test when we lose what we held nearest and dearest.

Janthina teaches us that sometimes we have to let go. Letting go of what does not serve you does not have to result in the very literal end that Janthina experiences when she loses her raft, though it can feel just like that’s what is happening.

From this little shell that lives in constant danger, we also learn that we must continue to trust and to remain true to ourselves no matter what we lose. Whatever is at the center of your spiritual beliefs – Goddess, God, multiple deities, Nature, Buddha, elemental beings, ancestors, etc – it is still always there for you and you are never truly cut off or abandoned unless you cut yourself off.

Find the thing in your life that, no matter what you have to lose or let go of, you will never really lose. Something that you carry in your heart, mind and soul, and that reminds you of your own worth and divinity, and you will never be lost to an abyss of hopelessness.

To quote another wise, magical teacher, Gandalf the Grey…

“Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt.”

queen of cups detail purple tint


© 2018 Meredith Everwhite – All Rights Reserved

Featured Image: Janthina on bubble raft, courtesy David Fenwick – Aphotomarine Photography

Resources:
Ocean Oracle by Michelle Hanson
https://comenius-legends.blogspot.com/2010/07/legend-of-violet.html

 

World Dolphin Day – Our Most Important Lesson

dolphin quote graphic1

Original dolphin image © Peter Chadwick http://www.arkive.org

Once again the Oracle celebrates World Dolphin Day! See last year’s post – The Dream of the Dolphin

Every April 14th (the day after my cat’s birthday and the day before my birthday, much to my delight!), people and organizations the world over honor and celebrate these amazing creatures, these magical cousins of ours in the ocean.

While it is wonderful that there is a world-wide day dedicated to dolphins, we need to be aware of them and their plight every day, and we need to do something about it.

All the important and obvious reasons for this can be boiled down to the most important reason: dolphins are us. What happens to them and to their habitat is happening and will happen to us.

Dolphins are still in grave danger all over the world, particularly in Taiji, Japan, where barbaric dolphin hunts and massacres still occur every year. Also, the precious, rare little Vaquita porpoise found only the Sea of Cortez (northern part of the Gulf of California) is teetering on the brink of extinction.

At the time of writing last year’s World Dolphin Day post, there were thirty Vaquitas left. Now there are only twelve.

This means the Vaquita porpoise will be the second cetacean to go extinct in our lifetime. The first was the Baiji river dolphin of China, pronounced extinct in 2006.

This is thanks to the absurd over-fishing of the totoaba fish (also in danger of going extinct), whose swim bladder unfortunately and foolishly goes for as much as $20,000 in Asia. The Vaquitas also fall victim to the nets intended for the totoabas.

Read some of the latest news about the Vaquitas here…

https://ladyfreethinker.org/tragedy-vaquita-porpoise-fate-12-remain/
https://www.yahoo.com/news/race-mexicos-cocaine-sea-pushes-2-species-toward-040804238.html

be like the dolphin graphic

Dolphins and other cetaceans are not the only ones in crisis. We humans have been abusing Mother Earth and her resources and other precious children to almost no end, and we are all in danger of going extinct. Yes, all 7 billion+ of us.

One of my favorite things about dolphins is that they evolved from a land mammal called the Mesonyx.

Since all life originated in the oceans to begin with, this means that a creature came out of the sea, onto land, evolved into the Mesonyx, which hunted in the water and then continued to evolve and gradually became a permanent denizen of the ocean, beautifully coming full circle.

So, what lesson do we need to learn from this? We need to come full circle. We need to return home to the salty womb that birthed all life, the source that we have been polluting, exploiting and wasting for decades.

How?

By forgetting space travel and colonization of the Moon or Mars. This is beyond folly and NASA wastes exorbitant amounts of money every year on ultimately futile space exploration and even more futile space colonization.

It would cost several millions of dollars just to get the first few hypothetical explorers to Mars and to feed them on the way. We have nowhere near the technology we need to make these absurd sci-fi dreams come true, so why are we bothering?

There are much more pressing matters and conditions right here on our perfect, beautiful home. What right have we to waste and destroy this magnificent planet only to attempt to use up resources we don’t even have to try to go live out in the cold void for which we are not remotely designed to survive?

The answer is the sea. The true final frontier, the blue frontier. Captain Nemo of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea had the right idea.

captain-nemo-art-by-george-roux.jpg

Captain Nemo by George Roux

Robert Ballard, the ex-Navy officer, professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhose Island, and the explorer who discovered the wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1985, was strongly influenced by Verne’s 20,000 Leagues, hence the name of his research vessel – EV Nautilus.

 

robert ballard hamilton edu

Dr. Robert Ballard, image courtesy Hamilton College

 

Dr. Ballard, one of my new heroes since watching his series on Netflix, Alien Deep, is a strong advocate of colonizing our seas instead of Mars or anywhere in outer space. To paraphrase him, “Space colonization is a bunch of baloney”. I agree.

Watch Ballard’s TED talk on ocean exploration.

According to Ballard, NASA’s annual budget could fund NOAA’s ocean exploration for 1600 years.

So why not take all that money and pour it into a much more real, nearby and possible future….floating cities?

Visit the Seasteading Institute to learn more about an incredible vision that may well be the last hope of humanity.

Once a walker of the land, the dolphin returned home to the deep magical source of everything – the Ocean. We need to do the same.

1280px-Delphinus_delphis_02 knossos queen's megaron

Detail of a fresco in the “Queen’s Megaron” of the palace of Knossos on Crete


© 2018 Meredith Everwhite – All Rights Reserved

Featured image: Dolphin Dream by Carol Cavalaris

Resources:
https://www.seasteading.org/
https://www.seasteading.org/2009/06/robert-ballards-ted-talk-ocean-exploration/
http://understanddolphins.tripod.com/dolphinevolution.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesonyx
https://nautiluslive.org/

Conchomancy: Messages from the Sea

Seashells-Vintage-Images-GraphicsFairy2-658x1024

There are, probably literally, countless forms of divination throughout the world. While you have undoubtedly at least heard of many, such as Tarot, astrology, crystal gazing and dream interpretation, you may be less familiar with conchomancy – the art of divining with seashells.

Just like the myriad spectral crystals that grow deep in Mother Earth’s flesh and bring us healing vibrations and messages, so too do the similarly composed shells that grow in her blood, the oceans.

Purple-Rock-Crystals-GraphicsFairy

Calcium carbonate, the primary compound in seashells and pearls, is also found in its more stable form, calcite, in rocks and crystals.

This scientific fact alone interestingly mirrors the nature and energies of these two different Earth treasures – the broader, original compound comprising the shells that move within the moving element, and its most stable polymorph making up the grounded, much-less-moving crystals.

There are different methods and rituals within conchomancy, depending on the culture. For instance, probably the most commonly known are Obi and Diloggun, originally of West African Yoruba tradition.

These systems, particularly as they have now evolved in Santeria traditions in the Americas, may make use of kola nuts, coconut shell pieces, or cowrie shells.

Yoruba_divination_board

Yoruba divination board – Possibly Owo region, Nigeria, Late 19th to early 20th century

 


The modern method of conchomancy that I am currently studying is the Ocean Oracle that has been painstakingly developed over decades of research by Michelle (aka Shelley, most appropriately!) Hanson.

The following excerpts are from the 200-card oracle deck guidebook, “Ocean Oracle: What Seashells Reveal About Our True Nature“.

The book you hold in your hands is the culmination of a lifelong quest for information, first about shells and then about the depths of awareness. Having never lived near the ocean, my first exposure to seashells came courtesy of my grandparents. Upon returning from a vacation in Florida, they gifted their four-year-old granddaughter with shells that had gathered off the beach. Even at that young age I was famously curious among my family, and these wonders of nature inspired my curiosity with a new intensity.

The following pages contain what I call the language of the shells. To help you as you develop your own interpretation skills, I have included snippets of past readings that represent a broad spectrum of what I have witnessed. I hope you will look upon what the shells have taught me as an indicator of what they may hold in store for you.

Michelle offers an in-depth certification course consisting of five modules of thorough lessons on both the biology and the metaphysics of shells and the creatures that grow them.

ocean oracle kit

Complete Ocean Oracle kit by Michelle Hanson, 2007

I am currently about halfway through the first module and it took no time at all for me to start to tune in to the language of the shells. I found that I intuitively agreed with many of her interpretations, and also received even more (and, sometimes, just different) messages from multiple shells.

One story that Michelle shares early on in the course, is her experience with the book “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Almost every chapter of the book is named for a shell upon which Lindbergh contemplated and meditated while spending a reclusive two weeks on Captiva Island, on Florida’s gulf coast.

Over a long period of time, Michelle Hanson was repeatedly gifted copies of the book, which she hesitated to read for fear that Lindbergh’s interpretations would clash with her own, leaving her to perhaps question the results of her own work and meditations.

However, after receiving a fourth copy (the day after she gave one away, attempting to cull the collection), she finally read it and found that the additional and different meanings presented only reinforced that there indeed is a shell language, and that, of course, different people may receive slightly or even very different messages. This doesn’t mean that any of them are wrong.

pink shell with seaweed 1937 georgia o'keeffe

Pink Shell with Seaweed
by Georgia O’Keeffe 1937

I could not have been happier to have discovered, and then much later, acquire, the Ocean Oracle. For a split second I was slightly intimidated by the size of the deck (200 shells strong), but immediately felt much more excited and satisfied once I realized that that only meant how very much there was to learn and enjoy.

But even the 200 are less than half of what Michelle has in her personal collection that she uses for readings, that is still only a fraction of all the shells in the world. Of her “extras”, I was very blessed to be gifted a few when I met Michelle and her husband this past February.

I had been on something of a hiatus from my Ocean Oracle studies, as well as this blog, since before the holidays last year. However, in meeting Michelle and having wonderful discussions about shells, seeing stunning abalones and others from her collection, and even being gifted with a handful of beauties from her “extras”, I felt a renewed sense of motivation and energy to return to studying the shells and sharing what I learn here.

I hope to build on what Michelle has started and not only share tidbits from her work, but to help expand it and share additional and alternative meanings to shells included in the Ocean Oracle, as well as many others not included.

It is not until the third module of lessons (remember, I’m only still in the first!) that Shelley mentions partnering with one shell to create an inner self-portrait, but I feel that I may have found my shell partner already, at least for now. Interestingly enough, it came from among the shells that she gave me.

Just like guardian and power animals, crystals, trees, flowers, etc., everyone can have a personal shell teacher or even multiple shell teachers and guides throughout their lives. At this moment, at least, mine seems to be the humble little Janthina snail.

Janthina_janthina 1807

Janthina janthina 1807

 

Coming soon:
Conchomancy series continues with the purple, pelagic Janthina snail! Stay tuned for insights into the meanings and energies of the Janthina and the type of meditations and manifestations for which it can be used, and more!

 


 

Ocean Oracle © Michelle Ziff Hanson, originally published 2004

All original material © 2018 Meredith Everwhite – All Rights Reserved

featured image: At Low Tide by Sir Edward Poynter 1913

Transformation: Scorpio New Moon Oracle

scorpio-1907.jpg!HalfHD Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis

“Scorpio” by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis 1907

Tomorrow’s New Moon will occur in Scorpio at 6:42 a.m. EST.

Scorpio is probably the most famous and yet infamous sign of the zodiac, one that even the astrologically unaware seem to know and have some opinion about. I have a coworker who is very intelligent and (as usually follows) somewhat jaded, has a pithy, dry sense of humor and can be prickly in ways, but is quite likeable. I asked him recently when his birthday is, and, at the time, it had just passed. I said, “Oh, so you’re a Scorpio!” to which he knowingly replied “Yep…nothin’ but trouble!”

While this man probably knows little about astrology over all, he certainly knows enough about himself and the sign of Scorpio to believe in it and to understand what it says about his nature.

When your average person hears “Gemini”, they probably don’t immediately think of the Twins. When they think of Aries or Capricorn, they may not know or easily recognize that they are the Ram and the Goat, respectively. However, when you hear “Scorpio”, there is no room for doubt about what it is.

R. I. Pocock (1894) Scorpions of the Malay Archipelago

from “Scorpions of the Malay Archipelago” by R.I. Pocock 1894

The scorpion is a dark, frightening, secretive and deadly creature. So, there is an inherent fear attached to this sign and much of what it represents. Scorpio is a sign filled with contradictions, reflecting both the best and the worst of human nature. So, while there is fear, there is also an understandable fascination.

Scorpio’s element is Water and it is ruled by both Mars and Pluto. Mars was the traditional ruler of the sign before Pluto was discovered in 1930. Both of these planets are appropriate rulers for the brooding, powerful sign, though Pluto especially so – Pluto (Hades in Greek) is the distant, mysterious god of death and the Underworld.

scorpio glyph

Another very fitting symbol for Scorpio is the mermaid, as Gail Wood suggests in her book “Sisters of the Dark Moon: 13 Rituals of the Dark Goddess”.

“Victorian writers and artists were fascinated and repelled by the mermaid, to see a beautiful woman from the waist up and then to see her legs and her sexuality fused together in a powerful tail; did that mean she controlled her sexual activity? The power frightened them and the idea that they had no access to her spirituality bewildered them. They wrote about her and they painted her, but they never learned her secrets. Hans Christian Andersen tried to tame her by taking away her voice or her soul…No matter how hard anyone tries, the mermaid remains a powerful symbol of watery mystery, the key to emotions, love, and sexual pleasure. Her mystery is revealed to only a few and her song often draws the unthinking into the shallows and the rocks.”

 

edvard-munch-the-mermaid-1896

“The Mermaid” by Edvard Munch 1896

 

Scorpio rules the genitals and reproductive organs and, therefore, unresolved emotional issues, abuse of/addictions to sexual activity and other such repressions or difficulties will often manifest in these parts of the body. Scorpios can be very prone to venereal or urinary infections and other such ailments.

Women especially (whether Scorpio or not) may experience an array of health issues in the reproductive system because of uncontrolled or suppressed emotions, stress connected to love and relationships or unhealthy/excessive sexual practices.

The New Moon phase is a time for scrying & divining, reflecting, healing and setting new goals and intentions. It is a time of renewal and hope. If you have had any troubles with relationships, emotional and/or sexual health or have just felt lost or disconnected from the divine and your higher self, this is a perfect time to restore balance and focus on transforming negatives into positives. Indeed, almost above all else (especially in its more positive aspects), Scorpio is the sign of transformation.

waterhouse_the_crystal_ball_skull

“The Crystal Ball” by John William Waterhouse 1902

This also supports the idea of mermaids representing Scorpio – not only were many known mermaids from lore originally human, but mermaids have traditionally had the ability to turn themselves into completely human forms at will, much like the Celtic selkie (a similar creature that is a seal who turns into a beautiful woman when she removes her magical sealskin).

I’ve discovered that this has been commonly depicted by Russian artists especially; many of their paintings of mermaids show them visiting the surface world in human form.

mermaid.jpg!HalfHD Konstantin Vasilyev

“Mermaid” by Konstantin Vasilyev

 

mermaids.jpg!HalfHD 1879 Konstantin Makovsky

“Mermaids” by Konstantin Makovsky, 1879

The earliest known mermaid that we have record of is Atargatis (known as Derceto to the Greeks), the ancient Syrian mother goddess. She had a mortal lover named Hadad, but she accidentally killed him in the throes of her divine passion. She was so filled with grief and guilt that she threw herself into a sacred lake to drown. However, the waters and the fishes therein knew of her divinity and would not let her die, but instead transformed her into a half-fish, preserving her womanly beauty from the hips up.

Derceto, from Oedipus Aegyptiacus by Athanasius Kircher 1652

Derceto, from Oedipus Aegyptiacus by Athansius Kircher, 1652

Atargatis is a goddess near and dear to my heart at all times, but this particular New Moon (and whole season) is ideal to work with her for any healing or transformation, especially from the woes of love, emotions and relationships.

She understands loss and sorrow on a deeply profound, personal level and this, combined with her already-existing motherly attributes, makes her a very empathetic and comforting goddess.

She represents the new forms that can be born out of tragedy and loss and how, once we heal, we can be even more powerful and special than ever before.

Atargatis is the goddess I chose to channel for this Scorpio New Moon Oracle, and so of course I use the Oracle of the Mermaids.

The upper, human portion of a mermaid represents that which is above the surface: the mundane, corporeal and temporal world. Her tail represents that which is hidden below mystic waters: intuition, magic, the mysteries of sexuality, life and death, and the Otherworld.

So, the first card for this reading represents the human part and our tangible, day-to-day lives. The second card represents the submerged tail of our inner psyches and power, personal mysteries and Spirit.

I asked Atargatis to show what we can all learn or what needs to be worked on – in regard to those two portions – during this dark, watery, transformative time until the next new moon in bright and burning Sagittarius.

First Card – Dreams
Second Card – Imramma

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from “The Oracle of the Mermaids Guidebook” by Lucy Cavendish: Mermaids cannot always reach you when you are on land…When you cannot be reached through the song of the waves, you will be reached on the waves of the sleeping brain, and in them you will be told what it is you need to let go of, what it is that fascinates and drives you, and what it is you yearn and hunger for. …When this card shows up, it is a sure sign that the mermaids are reaching out to you through the oceans of your sleep time.

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from “The Oracle of the Mermaids Guidebook”: You have long divided yourself into your parts: your emotions you keep so separate from your head. On Imramma, the lines you have so cleanly divided all into will blur, and you will at times no longer know what is real or unreal. But all the while we will sing you onwards, calling you forth, so you continue to follow the journey of the soul. You will gather so much, and experience such awe, that you will feel at times you may be dreaming. But you are not.

Atargatis speaks…

You may well be surprised to see “Dreams” representing that which needs attention or can offer you lessons in your tangible, waking, everyday life…for what of your human experience is more directly linked to the hidden depths and mysteries of the soul and the subconscious mind than dreaming?

However, that is the key – to acknowledge and understand how blurred are the lines between this world and that one, and that dreams are a gateway from your mundane life to the deeper meanings and higher truths that give your life meaning. Dreams serve many purposes and, in many ways, they are just as “real” as what you experience when you are awake.

This physical world is in fact but a shadow of the real world, as attested by the Oglala Lakota hero Crazy Horse during his profound vision quest. So don’t dismiss the one third of your life that you spend submerged in the oceans of dreams, and don’t ignore or doubt the messages you can receive therein. That which seems of the other world is actually crucial to your survival in this world.

During this time of year especially are the borders between the worlds nearly invisible, so take advantage of these opportunities for learning and growth and make a point of meditating on and recording your dreams.

Immrama* are Old Irish tales of heroes taking sea journeys to the Otherworld, including the islands and challenges that must be encountered and overcome along the way, and often with no chance or plan of return. This is a deep spiritual journey that can take a lifetime, and the idea of no return refers to the permanent change that such journeys and evolutions of the soul often entail.

Now is an ideal time for such personal journeys and explorations, and you may even have certain opportunities soon to take such a voyage, whether literal or spiritual and metaphorical. Let the dreams that you experience in your physical, mundane life (the shadow world) lead you into your personal journey where you can experience the real world.

There are many who would have you believe that what is real is false and what is false is real…use your intuition to avoid these traps. Believe in that which your soul cries out to believe in and to know.

We mermaids rule these realms of dreaming, journeying and the ethereal waters of spirit and magic, and we know the truths that the material, corrupted world attempts to conceal and destroy…call upon us for strength, guidance and healing and know that you are far stronger than you believe. But it is your belief – or lack thereof – that makes all the difference in both worlds.

 

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“Bather Between Light and Darkness” by Rene Magritte 1935

*Lucy Cavendish misspells the term “Immrama” in her Oracle of the Mermaids, and also incorrectly refers to it in the singular, as when she says “…embarking on an Imramma…”, when the term is actually the plural of immram.


featured image “The Little Mermaid Dissolving into Foam” by Edmund Dulac

© 2017 M. Everwhite – All Rights Reserved

 

Words of Water: from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

In Coleridge’s longest and most famous major poem, a lanky old mariner regales a stranger on his way to a wedding with a supernatural tale of a long sea voyage-turned-nightmare due to the shooting of an albatross. At one dire point, the thirst-crazed mariner and his shipmates encounter (or hallucinate..?) a crumbling shell of a ship bearing Death himself and a yet more frightening female companion, playing at a game of chance to determine which will claim either the crew or the mariner who killed the fateful albatross.

The ghostly hulk comes alongside the mariner’s ship, and surprise and confusion turns quickly to terror as he recognizes the figures aboard…


Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)

How fast she nears and nears!
Are those her sails that glance in the sun,
Like restless gossameres?

Are those her ribs through which the sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And is that Woman all her crew?
Is that a Death? and are there two?
Is Death that Woman’s mate?

Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she,
Who thicks man’s blood with cold.

The naked hulk alongside came,
And the twain were casting dice;
`The game is done! I’ve won! I’ve won!’
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.

The sun’s rim dips; the stars rush out:
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper o’er the sea,
Off shot the spectre-bark.

We listened and looked sideways up!
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steersman’s face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip –
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The horned moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.

One after one, by the star-dogged moon,
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.

 

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Death and his companion, Life-in-Death, from “Poems of Coleridge” illustrated by Gerald Fenwick Metcalfe 1907

Life-in-Death preferred, obviously, to have won the mariner, securing for him (as is her role, made evident by her name) a fate worse than death as punishment for killing the albatross. He is condemned to watch his shipmates die one by one, and then to spend seven days and nights staring at the curse in their eyes, their faces frozen in haunting, accusing expressions.

Though mercifully, he was freed of his punishment and the dead albatross which had hung about his neck, but only once he acknowledged in awe the beauty of all the creatures in the sea, to which he had earlier disdainfully referred to as “slimy things”.

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Read the full poem here

Featured image: “Ship” by Mikalojus Konstaninas Ciulionis 1906

Original material © 2017 M. Everwhite – All Rights Reserved