Sea Monsters and Mermaids – Scylla

According to Ovid, the Roman poet, Scylla was a beautiful nymph!

The sea-god, Glaucus, fell in love with her.

But he had fins instead of arms and a fish’s tail instead of legs. Scylla was appalled!

So she fled from him onto the land and he despaired.

He went to the sorceress Circe to ask for a love potion. As he spoke he wove a spell over the mighty Circe and, in her turn, she fell in love with him. But Glaucus would have none of her.

Circe was angry. She decided to take her revenge and prepared a very powerful poison.

The jealous sorceress poured the vial into the pool where Scylla bathed. As soon as the nymph entered the water, she was transformed into a frightful monster with twelve feet and six heads. Each head had three jagged rows of teeth and angry, growling wolf heads grew from her waist.

Scylla’s pain was so great she was rooted to the spot. In her distress she started to strike out destroying everything that came near her. Whenever a ship passed by, each of her heads would seize one of the crew.

Greek tradition sited Scilla on one side of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and the Italian mainland. The strait connects the Tyrrhenian Sea with the Ionian Se,. On the Italian side was a vicious rock shoal – the six-headed sea monster! On the Sicilian side was Charybdis, the whirlpool, but that is different story!

Starbucks, Mermaids and Melusine

I became interested in Melusine when an old boss of mine started to calling me by the name.  I never did find out why.

But I did decide to find out more and I’ve always been fascinated by mermaids!

Melusine is a water fairy in European folklore –  a feminine spirit of fresh waters in sacred springs and rivers.  She is usually depicted as a serpent or fish from the waist down – a kind of mermaid.

The “Lady of the Lake” in the legends of Kind Arthur who spirited away the infant Lancelot and raised the child,was just such a water nymph.

Water fairies and mermaids are considered seductive and dangerous to humans, especially men!

There are many Melusine legends. The chronicler Giraud le Cambrien reported that Richard I of England was fond of claiming he was a descendant of a countess of Anjou who was supposed to  be the fairy Melusine. Richard used to tell the tale and finish with a flourish, concluding that his whole family “came from the devil” and would return to the devil.

Richard the First - the Lionheart!

There are many mermaid stories around the world. The first known such stories appeared in Assyria  around 1000 BC.

The goddess Atargatis, mother of Assyrian queen Semiramis, loved a mortal shepherd and unintentionally killed him. Ashamed, she jumped into a lake to take the form of a fish, but the waters would not conceal her divine beauty. Thereafter, she took the form of a mermaid—human above the waist, fish below!

A popular Greek legend turns Alexander the Great’s sister, Thessalonike, into a mermaid after she died. She lived, it was said, in the Aegean and when she encountered a ship, she asked its sailors only one question: “Is King Alexander alive?” to which the correct answer was: “He lives and reigns and conquers the world”. This answer pleased her so she would calm the waters and wish the ship farewell. Any other answer would spur her into a rage. She would raise a terrible storm, with certain doom for the ship and every sailor on board.

In British folklore mermaids are considered unlucky!    One tale tells of the Laird of Lorntie who  went to aid a woman he thought drowning in a lake near his house.  A servant pulled him back, warning that it was a mermaid.  The mermaid screamed that she would have killed him if it were not for his servant.

So take care!

Although a mermaid has been very lucky for Disney and it is interesting that the female figure in the Starbucks logo has been likened to Melusine.

Beautiful Crystals – the Mermaid’s Aquamarine


Aquamarine, the gem of the sea, is named with the Greek word for sea water.  Aqua sparkles like the sea and its color is pale to medium blue, sometimes with a slight hint of green. Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl family (which includes emeralds). Its blue / blue-green color comes from ferrous iron – a double refraction of light from different angles within the stone causes it to reflect the two different colors.

Aquamarine is the birthstone for March and legends say that it is the treasure of mermaids coming from their tears; with the power to keep sailors safe at sea. Aquamarine is said to be a particularly strong charm when immersed in water – which is a good thing, since that is when its power is most needed! Aquamarine was also said to have a soothing influence on land, also on married couples. Its power is supposed to help husbands and wives work out their differences and ensure a long and happy marriage, which makes it a good anniversary gift. Traditionally, it has been held as the gem for the nineteenth wedding anniversary. Aquamarine is said also to protect  against the wiles of the devil.

Aquamarine, March’s birthstone, is the universal symbol of hope, health and youth. A traditional protection for travelers, it was said to prevent seasickness, quicken the intellect and enhance courage.Wearing this stone is to enhance one’s personal power and help to project an aura of strength.

Long used by royalty, Egyptian amulets of the XII Dynasty (circa 2000 BC) included Aquamarines carved into the forms of animals. 

Aquamarine is found in Brazil, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria, and other countries. However the majority of Aquamarine comes from Brazil, even though the finest Aquamarine is mined in Africa.