Sunday, March 22, 2020

Getting Schooled on Mermaids - la Vie Sirene magazine flashback

Originally posted 1 June 2013

Professional mermaid Angela Schommer
of San Diego Mermaids performance troupe

mer·maid /ˈmərˌmād/ 

Noun: a fabled marine creature with the head and upper body of a woman and the tail of a fish

Origin: Middle English mermayde, from mere sea (from Old English) + mayde maid — more at marine

First Known Use: 14th century

... so says Merriam-Webster!

Dating as far back as 1000 BC, mermaids began swimming into the cultures and mythologies of Assyria, Greece, China, Europe, even the British Isles.  While far from shy, mers can be finicky as to when and where they are seen by humankind.  Indeed mermaid sightings have always been deemed a rare and beautiful occurrence — so much so, that charlatans have gone to extraordinary lengths to foist mermaid hoaxes on unwitting wishful mer fans.  Even master showman P.T. Barnum got into the act, displaying a faux taxidermied mermaid in his museum in 1842. As for the recent staged documentary by Animal Planet, their enthusiasm is lauded, but information incorrect.

Today, sophisticated underwater cameras and everyday smart phones increasingly bear witness to the fact that, with or without gills, mermaids exist among good decent folk.  To help ease tensions in current mer-human relations, in this issue our contributing urban fairy, Eleina Fae, will give the modern perspective on the subtleties and differences between merfolk, selkies, undines and the oft-misunderstood sirens.  This should go far in educating even the most skeptical landlubber.  You know the type — the ones who fail to understand why mermaids should obsess over shoes given their lack of limbs!

Our magazine's format is designed to offer this month's mermaid theme in sips rather than potentially drowning gulps.  Being an online (versus print) publication, we can do things a little differently — and so we shall.  Instead of publishing a voluminous collection of articles and tidbits all at once, we will post small portions of new content daily, with each themed issue wrapped up in one neat little digital package at month's end and available in various formats.  Imagine that, a whole month of fabulous sireny delights. From fin fashion to the business of mermaiding, you're sure to get your mer cravings sated.  What joy!

Our 'in every issue' categories include:
  • History & Mystery - facts & fantasy
  • Sirens in Business - those making a living relating to the month's theme
  • Neverending Trending - news & don't-miss events
  • Prettification - home, garden, fashion, fitness, pampering, the works!
  • Foodie Fix - nummy recipes & eatery reviews
  • We Heart the Arts - books, art, music, poetry et cetera
  • Siren's Soul - testimonials & heartfelt sentiments from the field

Whether you place mermaids in the same class as unicorns and dragons, or think their mythology grew from sightings of Japan's traditional Ama free-divers, you'll find a whimsical, informative and loving treatment of all things mer this month.  We look forward to celebrating la vie sirène (the siren life) with you for many issues to come.

For old school and classic mermaid lovers, the Vintage Mermaid offers the largest assortment of mermaid quilt prints & illustrations of any retail store on the web.  Visit their budding Vintage Mermaid site for samples of their exquisite products with additional treasures to be posted in coming weeks, or swim over to their Etsy shop to enjoy more of their vast vintage collection.