Since ancient times, women and men around the world have been enraptured by folk tales of merpeople. Down through time, stories of people who are half fish, half human have held us in thrall. In addition to their long and storied legacy, mermaids also hold a current place in pop culture.
Memorializing your loved one with a wonder-filled mermaid urn could be just the way to express your sorrow while at the same time honoring the wonder and magic of life.
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Mermaids: The Stuff of Legend
All across the world, over a long period of time, legends of monsters and mythical creatures have been tied back to the sea. These legends include tales of mermaids.
The reality of mermaids was assumed during medieval times, when they were depicted matter-of-factly alongside known aquatic animals such as whales. Hundreds of years ago sailors and residents in coastal towns around the world told of encountering the sea maidens. One story dating back to the 1600s claimed that a mermaid had entered Holland through a dike, and was injured in the process. She was taken to a nearby lake and soon nursed back to health. (Live Science)
From Africa to Europe to Asia, legends of mermaids have been passed down through generations.
Many of us grew up hearing about mermaids (and perhaps wishing they were real).
Mermaids: Good or Evil?
Depending on your culture of origin, mermaids may represent either good or evil. While some legends have mermaids signaling good luck or serving as romantic partners for sailors, others depict mermaids as "sirens," wicked forces, or ill omens.
In some popular legends, mermaids have been depicted as luring sailors to crash against the rocks, seeking to entice young women to come live with them under the sea, or causing bad luck/misfortune to all who encounter them.
In current popular culture, however, mermaids are typically depicted in more positive and magical ways. The popularity of films such as Disney's 1989 The Little Mermaid have perhaps had something to do with this.
Many's the little girl who's shimmied into a dress-up mermaid tail, daydreaming about a magic-filled life at sea.
Why We're Drawn to Mermaids
It's not hard to understand why we're drawn to mermaids. No matter how we've seen them depicted in culture, they're almost universally beautiful, graceful, and magical.
Mermaids can do things we can only dream of doing: they can swim deep into the ocean, live in an underwater world of brilliant blue, and enjoy a life free of the everyday worries and cares that so drag us down. Typically depicted as wearing very little clothing, mermaids also live close to nature, enjoying its simplicity.
When we were young (or perhaps even when we were not-so-young), our imaginations were captured by the romantic possibilities inherent in the life of a mermaid.
Crossing the Bar
In his beautiful poem about death and loss, Lord Tennyson depicted death as if he were rowing out across a sand bar in a boat. He referred to the final journey as "crossing the bar," asking that there be "no sadness of farewell" when he embarks on his final voyage.
It's easy to see why he chose ocean imagery to depict death. With its vast and boundless possibilities, the sea is a wonderful metaphor for the depth and mystery that shrouds life's final journey.
It's easy to imagine that here, at the bottom of the ocean, where perhaps only the mermaids dwell, lie the answers to so many of life's questions.
While none of us would ever promise not to grieve our loved ones, we know that the process can look different for everyone. Perhaps a wonder-filled mermaid urn is exactly what you need as you find yourself saying goodbye.