Mermaid Origins: Lemuria and Atlantis
In the 1980s, Disney produced a movie known as The Little Mermaid. This movie was based on a tale written by Hans Christian Anderson in 1837, which in turn was based off many of the oldest legends spanning continents all across the world. You will find legends of the mermaid or other similar creatures in countries such as Ireland, Scotland, England, Israel, India, Greece, Syria, China, and various countries on the continent of Africa. How is it that so many different cultures across the world have their own ancient legends of the merpeople? How is it that some of these cultures who never met one another share similar stories of creatures from the sea?
The true origins of mermaids may never be proven, as most people find these creatures to be simply a make-believe creature fit for children's imaginations and nothing more. But there are those of us who believe that legends come from somewhere...that there is truth behind every legend to varying degrees. This is one take on mermaid and merman origins.
Lemurian Merpeople and Shapeshifters
Before the proposed beginning of history, there were civilizations of beings who were a bit different than the civilizations of humans we have today. These beings were very human-like and some of them included human beings; however, these beings were made up of different strands of DNA. Some of the beings are what we might call today "extra-terrestrial", as they were created by beings from another dimension and/or planet.
One of these prehistoric civilizations that is now considered a "Lost Land" was Lemuria (also known as Mu or the Motherland). In Lemuria, there were various types of beings included those who seemed to be able to shift their shapes according to their needs. Some of these "shapeshifters" had the ability to breathe underwater. This was the beginning of the "mermaid" legend that we have today. Lucy Cavendish explains this ability to breathe underwater by stating that these Lemurian beings had a hole that was located about where one's third eye might be, and the water could be breathed in and out through this third eye/mouth of sorts. She also states she has past life memories of being an underwater being in the times of Lemuria, one who was very much connected with the land and sea around her. Sound crazy?
She's not the only author nor person who believes they lived a past life as a mermaid or underwater being during the times of these lost civilizations. In fact, many people have memories of Lemuria...many people have memories of swimming underwater with dolphins and whales. They have memories of swimming underwater for hours and then walking right up onto the land and being able to also breathe the air. So what happened to these mermaid beings from the lost civilization? There are a few theories.
Some believe that after Lemuria began to fall apart, these beings lived and worked in the lost civilization of Atlantis with other beings such as extraterrestrials and other types of shapeshifters. Unfortunately, there were some darker beings that decided they wanted to morph the DNA of the underwater beings or mermaids, and the "gods" decided to destroy Atlantis because of their corruption. Some of the mermaids and shapeshifters escaped the fall of Atlantis, while many perished in the catastrophe along with their extraterrestrial and human counterparts.
So if they escaped, where did they go? What happened to these mer-beings next?
The Merbeings and Greece
After the fall of Atlantis, the refugees spread out all over the world and took it upon themselves to start new lives and new civilizations. One of those civilizations would give rise to an ancient and powerful country now known as Greece. These refugees might have also included the race of mer-people and various "shapeshifters", if you will. One type of shapeshifter that is prevalent in Greek legends is the Siren. The Sirens are very often depicted as beautiful mermaids that are able to lure sailors to their deaths by the mere sound of their lovely voices; however, in Homer's Odyssey these Sirens were actually said to be women that could shapeshift into birds. Be the Sirens fish or birds, this is synonymous with the beliefs of shapeshifters inhabiting the once-beautiful Lemuria and once-powerful Atlantis.
In other Greek legend, Alexander the Great's sister was said to have turned into a beautiful and strong mermaid following her untimely death. It was believed that she would turn the seas into a raging storm until the sailors would tell her that her brother was still alive and conquering the known world. This apparently would calm her and subsequently the seas around her. Mermaids and mermen appear in other tales from ancient Greece, and a few times were in conjunction with the ancient deities adopted from other ancient cultures such as Assyria.
Where would these merbeings have lived if indeed they had ties to ancient Greece? In the Mediterranean and Ionian Seas, of course!
Europe, The Celts, and Their Merbeings
Not only did the ancient Greeks have their version of the mermaid, but the ancient Celts also had their beliefs in these human-fish-like creatures. The names for these beings varied by region, of course and included merrows, selkies, and ben-varry. And again depending on the region, the mermaid and/or merman could be viewed as dangerous, manipulative beasts or as helpful, loyal friends and even as lovers to some. There is many a tale of fishermen falling in love with a mermaid, only to have the mermaid leave them to return to their home in the sea.
The mermaid that is somewhat different than the other tales is the story of the selkie. The selkie is thought to be a shapeshifter - one who can shapeshift from a seal into a woman when she is on land. This legend is often compared to that of the swan maiden or even the frog prince.
Many mermaid sightings have been documented in Europe, dating back centuries. My most favorite mermaid sighting story was of a man who found two mer-children dying on the cliff by the sea. He took the one who was surviving home and nursed it back to health (the other one had died before he could help it). The mer-child never talked but would eat shellfish and stayed in a tub in the man's home. It did drink milk. The man believed the mer-children had washed to shore during a very strong storm on the water a few nights prior to. This was said to have happened in the 1800s in Ireland. The man was a good soul and returned the mer-child back to his home in the sea. And it is said that this story was published in a local newspaper at one time.
So where did these shapeshifters come from? Were they all in the imagination of the people of Europe or was there some truth behind the legends?
Please tell me...
Do you believe mermaids and mermen could be real?
What Do You Think?
Legends of mermaids permeate cultures all over the world, from Asia to Africa. From Europe to North America and beyond. Is it possible that evolution could have gone a separate way when we were developing from mere fish as some theories suggest? Could these fish have evolved into a fish-like human who might still live in the oceans to this day? Why are there so many legends and stories of sightings if these things were nothing but our overactive imaginations?
If Lemuria and Atlantis might have existed, who is to say that mermaids and shapeshifters of various kinds didn't reside in these ancient cities alongside of human beings? There are those who believe this is how it was in ancient times, and when corruption came into these cities in waves...it drove the shapeshifters and human beings apart forever.
What do you think? Could mermaids or mer-beings be a possibility? Do you ever wonder where those hundreds of thousands of years of human history have gone?
© 2014 Nicole Canfield