|Sea Goddess mural in Monteray, California|
In modern times we think of sirens as glamorous women who captivate men with their beauty, or deliberately lure and seduce them into forgetting their own better judgement. The term "siren" comes to us from Greek mythology and literature, in which the Sirens were once handmaidens to Persephone, daughter of the goddess Demeter. When Persephone was kidnapped and taken to the underworld to marry the dark god Hades, Demeter blamed her handmaidens for allowing this to happen to their mistress.
|The Sirenuse Islands in the Mediterranean Sea|
Mermaids are found in the mythology of many countries, including China, Cambodia, Thailand, Africa, the Phillipines, the Caribbean, Brazil and Japan. They are called merrows in Ireland, and rusalkas in eastern Europe. Undines are freshwater mermaids from Celtic legends, which live in the faery realms of my Grim Series novels. In some myths, the mermaids are kind, even benevolent. In a few stories, a mermaid even falls in love with a human (Hans Christian Anderson’s 1837 tale, “The Little Mermaid, was based on such folklore). Unfortunately, most of these sea creatures behave like the Greek sirens, luring men to their doom, drowning them, and even eating them!
|Female figureheads ensured fair weather|
Christopher Columbus wrote of sighting mermaids on three occasions, noting that they weren't as beautiful as the legends claimed. It's generally accepted that what he actually saw were manatees. However, the infamous pirate Blackbeard also noted in his ship's log several times that he had witnessed mer-folk, and instructed his crew to steer clear of the areas they frequented. And in more modern times, from 1870 to 1967, both sailors and ship's passengers have reported seeing mermaids in the waters off British Columbia, Canada!
By the 1800s, most sailing ships featured an amply-endowed female figurehead on the bow, often with breasts exposed to the salt sea air. And the most popular of all? A mermaid!
The fae are cunning, powerful and often cruel. The most beautiful among them are often the most deadly. Hidden far beneath the mortal world, the timeless faery realm plays by its own rules—and those rules can change on a whim. Now and again, the unpredictable residents of that mystical land cross the supernatural threshold…