Mermaid Meaning: What Is A Mermaid?
Stories about mermaids and mermen have been told for thousands of years. Some of the oldest stories can be dated to around 2000 BC, about 4000 years ago. There have been reports of mermaids for thousands of years, and reports of sightings are still coming in even in today’s time. The story of the mermaid is a diverse one. Stories about mermaids don’t just vary across time but cultures as well. Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid continues to provide a muse for movies, stories, and even coloring books. Even in today’s world, people still believe and are even searching for the elusive mermaid.
There are several origin stories for the mermaid. One of the oldest stories comes from Syria in about 1000 BC. The short version of the story goes something like this. There was once a beautiful goddess named Atargatis. One day she jumped into the lake, determined to turn into a fish.
Atargatis was too beautiful to turn into a fish fully, so instead, only the bottom half of her had the fishtail, but her upper body stayed as beautiful as it had been before. There are many other origin stories for the mermaid that is similar to this one as well. Overall, they’re mostly about a lovely woman or goddess who gives herself to the sea, becoming a mermaid.
Ever since the first mermaid legends that began thousands of years ago, sightings have been reported in different parts of the world. It is hard to see Mermaids up close; they’re always a distance away from whoever sees them. Sailors traveling far distances often claimed to have seen mermaids. Some sailors even claimed that they fell in love just by looking at her.
There are many more reports of mermaids throughout history than there are for mermen. This is likely because the crews of ships going on long journeys were primarily full of men who could have been sick and hallucinating or lonely and looking for love even in the ocean.
There are many sailor songs about mermaid sightings and their beautiful features, as well as their beautiful voices. Mermaids share many of these qualities with Sirens, who sing to lure men to their death. It is usually believed that mermaids were like Sirens, but much kinder. Many people accepted the accepted theory because sailors were not seeing mermaids but manatees whose features were confused with those of mermaids because of the fog or waves.
Differentiating Mermaids from Sirens
Like Sirens, mermaids were said to have beautiful voices that could attract men, but these mermaids were looking for love instead of a meal. Mermaids were also said sometimes to save drowning men and bring them back to safety. Other stories talk about the horrible fate of some men who went away with mermaids, as the mermaids did not realize that the men would die in water and they would accidentally drown them while trying to take them to their underwater homes.
Still, in other stories, mermaids and mermen were said to marry and even mate with humans. Some mermaids would turn into humans once on land, which could make reproducing possible. Other mermaids, however, would dry up and die if they were on land for too long.
Mermaid: Current Beliefs
Even today, people still believe in mermaids. Several “documentaries” have been written about these creatures. The skeptics believe that mermaids were just the hallucinations of lonely sailors and that mermaids should be dismissed as purely mythical creatures. Those who believe in mermaids have several theories of how they came to be. One of the most accepted theories on the existence of mermaids is that humans evolved from them.
Science has been able to show that much of life on earth evolved from creatures that lived in the sea. Is it possible that merpeople were really the forebears of humans? There is a problem with that theory, though. If a creature evolves from another one, then the first creature no longer exists.
So, did humans evolve from mermaids? Did mermaids and humans evolve separately but from the same source? Are mermaids even real? What do you think?