Double tailed mermaids

Years ago I encountered this double tailed mermaid, sitting in the Renaissance sculpture garden In Bomarzo (Lazio, Italy). For long I kept wondering why she has two tails, and what’s the story she has to tell us.

Until I met her again, this time in the Etruscan Archeological Park in Sovana (Southern Tuscany), about 1500 years older than her sister in Bomarzo. It was a reason to embark on a journey. It resulted in my book The smile of the Sirena (De Glimlach van de sireneIl sorriso della Sirena).

Memories of the Goddess

The sirena, like she is called in Italian, is an icon of ancient goddesses. In ancient times she was regarded a creatrix, a spirit who creates life from the waters. In that sense she is a Mother goddess, and a founder of dynasties. But she is also a connector between worlds.

You can see that from the Etruscan version in the picture below. It’s sculpted on an urn from about 800 b.C.from Volterra. The tails of this mermaid connect her with the wisdom of the earth, and her wings with the heavenly spheres. But she has also eyes in her wings: a sign of her ability to see what is not visible for the normal eye. Her sword is a symbol spiritual discernment. And then, she has little wings behing her ears, which makes her a female version of Hermes, the famous messenger of the Gods.

We can see her as a messenger of ancient alchemical cultures, who believed in the long journey of the soul, in this life and the hereafter and beyond. The Etruscans had indeed roots in ancient Hermetic wisdom cultures from the Middle East: they transported them to Europe. It’s all returning now…

 

The double tailed mermaid has survived through the ages, reaching far into Christian times. Sometimes she is compared with the Gnostic Sophia, which confirms her roots in the Hermetic tradition. On early Christian churches she is often in the company of  a male partner, who is depicted either as a bull, a fish or a green man. Together they stand for the sacred couple that symbolizes the marriage between heaven and earth.

But sometimes she is also the Mother or partner of Jesus, or she is represented as a symbol of spiritual transformation towards wholeness and unity. And she survived as a symbol for dynasties, like the French Merovingians who claimed to descend from Jesus and Mary Magdalene. She also returned in famous legends, like that of the French Melusine. In the late Middle Ages she often got demonized, and seen as a threatening monster.

Recently modern coffee company Starbucks contributed towards her return all around the world by using her as their logo, but unfortunately without an adequate explanation.

Guide for the soul

The image of the double tailed mermaid is a perfect example of a symbol. The literal meaning of the word ‘symbol’ is ‘bringing together’ or ‘connecting’: a symbol connects the visible with the invisible which is difficult to express in words. And that fits exactly with the role of the sirena as a ‘traveller between worlds’, between the human and the divine realms, or the material world and the ‘mundus imaginalis’. She is a carrier of the archetype of the feminine divine. It all makes her into an ideal guide for Schermafbeelding 2015-12-14 om 12.47.20

That’s also how she has guided me. After I followed my curiosity she started to appear in my dreams, and guided me on several crucial moments in my life. She awakened a new field of exploration and creativity within me, that supports the return of the feminine divine. While following her traces I found her on more and more ancient sacred places, where she is part of an extended symbolic language, left to us by people who came before us.

Deciphering that language inspired me to bring her story into the world. And that supported in turn many other persons to find their own soul path. Her connecting capabilities make the sirena into a timeless weaver of networks between people.

My relationship with the sirena took a new turn when I discovered her image in the Vatican, above the tomb of Matilda of Canossa, the only woman who is buried in in the Basilica of St. Peter. Again, I followed my curiosity, and travelled along the places of her life time. It resulted in a book about her life story, that also contains a part of my own soul journey. It was all meant to be…

Afbeelding (2)

My journey with the sirena continues.

You can meet her when you travel with me. 

And I give lectures about her, that are meant to grow into a new book.

 

real-life-mermaid-4

“The repression of the feminine has led to a planet on the edge of collapse. The re-emergence is going to be a dance to behold”

Clare Dakin

Studiedag ‘Vrouw aan de hemelpoort’

Op zondag 9 februari verzorg ik samen met Mathilde van Mill en Marielle Lassche een studiedag over mijn boek bij het Jungiaans Instituut in Nijmegen. In de ochtendsessie geef ik een lezing over het boek, met de nadruk op de rol van de meermin als inwijdster op de...

Lezing ‘ De meermin als inwijdster’

O Op donderdag 23 januari verzorg ik een lezing over mijn boek voor de Embassy of the Free Mind in Amsterdam. Deze lezing gaat over de meermin als inwijdster en als gids van de ziel op haar lange reis tussen levens, en tussen de geestelijke en de materiële wereld....

Meerminreis naar Etruskenland, juni 2020

Van 13 tot 22 juni 2020 verzorgen Selma Sevenhuijsen en Dafne Arlman weer een reis naar het Meer van Bolsena, het hart van Etruskenland in Midden-Italië, ter ere van de Etruskische godin Norzia en haar heilig huwelijk met de god Velth. We reizen langs een aantal oude...
Werken met het labyrint 2020

Werken met het labyrint 2020

Speel je al langer met de gedachte om zelf activiteiten met het labyrint te organiseren, of het labyrint te integreren in je bestaande werk? Wees dan welkom bij de inspirerende driedaagse training ‘Werken met het labyrint’, die ik al sinds 11 jaar met...

Another year with Matilda

After the year 2015, the year 900 years after Matilda’s passing to the hereafter, I could expect 2016 to be a more quiet year. And yet, many things have happened with me and the Grancontessa, that have added small but shining pearls to the string that appeared...

Het labyrint, een weg naar mystieke weerbaarheid

In december 2008 schreef ik onderstaand artikel, gepubliceerd in het tijdschrift ‘Herademing’. Het is nog net zo actueel als toen, en misschien nog wel meer. Daarom publiceer ik het nu als blog. Meer dan ooit is ‘schaduwwerk’ nodig, individueel...

De premie ‘Kronieken van het mysterie’.

Op 10 december 2016 kreeg ik samen met minstens 12 andere personen uit Italie en elders, waaronder vriendin en collega Agnes van de Beek, in Ceccano (Lazio, Italia) de prijs ‘ Kronieken van het mysterie’ toegekend voor de Italiaanse versie van mijn boek...

Premio Nazionale ‘Cronache del Mistero’

At 10 december I received in Ceccano (Lazio, Italy) the Italian price called ‘The Chronicles of the Mystery’, together with 12 other scholars from Italy and abroad, for my book ‘Il sorriso della Sirena’ (The smile of the mermaid. Journey trough...

In 2019 my journey with the mermaid has resulted in a new, richly illustrated book ‘Vrouw aan de hemelpoort. Reis door Italië op zoek naar de dubbelstaartige meermin‘. It is translated in Italian as ‘Signora della Porta del Cielo. Viaggio in Italia alla ricerca della sirena bicaudata‘, published by Effigi Edizioni. Next step will be to make a translation in English!