Atargatis the first mermaid
Updated: Apr 8
Most of us have heard of Disney’s the Little Mermaid and love all the mermaid paraphernalia that fills seaside cities. I am obviously one of those who has fallen in love with the mermaid fairytale and have adapted the “mermaid lifestyle.” Ancient stories of these mystical creatures have appeared in every civilization on every continent for thousands of years.
Mermaids possess the gentle and destructive energy of the sea with the head and upper body of a female human and the lower body a of fish, Atargatis was an ancient Assyrian goddess worshiped about 4000 years ago all over the Mediterranean. She was the goddess of the moon, and water and was responsible for well-being of the people and was often consulted for help. Atargatis fell in love with a mortal Shepard named Hadad, and sadly accidently caused his death. Unable to cope with her guilt and heartache she drowned herself into a lake near Ascalon, Because of her great beauty, however, the powers of the sea refused to take away all her magnificence and only allowed her legs to be transformed into a fish tail. Thus, Atargatis became the first mermaid. The story of Atargatis traveled all the way to Greece and Rome and even British Isles with Roman invaders. The Greeks called her Derceto and Romans called her Dea Syriae the Assyrian goddess. Greeks feared mermaids and called them sirens. Sirens were dangerous creatures who lured the sailors to the sea with their songs and drowned them. In the British Isles sailors regarded mermaids, and sirens as bad omens and the sighting of a mermaid represented the coming of the storm, sinking of the ship and almost always eventual death of the person who saw them) In Chinese legend the tears of mermaids form the most beautiful pearls on Earth, and mermaids can grant immortality to the worthy man. Irish believed that mermaid called the sailors to the sea with their songs as the sign of love. In Persia mermaids were not half fish, but a complete human being that were able to live in the sea.
As for me, my mermaid life consists of spending my days exploring the Gasparilla sound, not singing sailors to their death or giving them immorality but finding the beautiful marine life that inhabits the estuary and sharing a little education along the way. The flower of the sea is one of those beautiful creatures that is a frequent find in the day and life of a mermaid.
The sea anemone looks much like a beautiful flower flowing in the sea, but it is actually a predatory animal related to corals and jellyfish, Sea anemones are classified in the phylum Cnidaria, class Anthozoa, subclass Hexacorallia. There are over 1,000 species of sea anemones and are 46 sea anemone families. Their tentacles are typically arranged in multiples of six, the same six-fold symmetry stony corals. They consume a wide variety of organisms including plankton, mollusks, crustaceans, and fish giving them a very important role in the ecosystem. Anemones are mostly sedentary critters, so they wait for their food to come to them. Anemone’s tentacles are covered in stinging cells called cnidocytes that inject a toxin into the prey immobilizing it. Once the prey has been immobilized it is brought into the anemones mouth. Yummy Yummy. There are even anemones than can get so big they eat birds, now that is something that would be interesting to see. It’s a strange would out at sea indeed, the perfect place for a mermaid to be.