A nymph or undine is a spirit being that is responsible for one or more of the functions of water.
As water is found in all living things, the processes of water are apparent in all those living things. For example there may be very specific ‘plant’ functions, but interacting with those functions will be water based functions [and mineral functions too].
Rudolf Steiner – Nature Spirits
Once the plant has passed into the sphere of moist air, the plant develops what comes to outer physical form in the leaves. Other beings are at work now in everything that goes on in the leaves – water spirits, elemental spirits of the watery element, to which an earlier intuitive clairvoyance gave among others the name of undines.
There are numerous synonyms in various languages for example, the Neck or Necke, in Danish the Nokke; the Stromkarl; the Icelandic Nickur, Ninnir and Hnikur. In the Faeroes the Neck are called Nikar and are said to inhabit streams and lakes.
One communicates with a spirit being via a bridge. In general it is not possible to ‘overdose’ to the extent needed on water, in order to see a nymph, however, people who are Drowning [and survive to tell the tale] do see nymphs. Furthermore there is a medical condition called Water Intoxication – that has produced its share of nymph stories. A number of visions attributed to drugs are actually caused by water intoxication not the drugs [amphetamines for example can result in hyper activity and extreme thirst, which causes the person to drink too much water in one go].
Anyone who is involved in frenetic exercise also runs the same risk, if they perspire heavily, then drink large amounts of water to rehydrate, it can lead to electrolyte imbalance and water intoxication if they drink too much in one go. Even people who are resting quietly in extreme heat or humidity may run the risk of water intoxication if they drink large amounts of water over short periods for rehydration. So seeing a nymph is not abnormal!
Fresh water nymphs usually appear in visions or out of body experiences [or near death experiences] to be beautiful, almost universally beautiful, even though the person might have seen them when drowning.
Sea nymphs, on the other hand, are occasionally seen as male figures, not as attractive and not as gentle or ‘benevolent’ if such a word can be used to describe a spirit being. Salt water has more harmful effects than fresh water from our point of view. It certainly causes dehydration and we have here yet another way in which nymphs can be seen.
Those on board sailing ships and thus more at risk from running out of fresh water, or having their water supplies contaminated by salt, were known to suffer appalling levels of dehydration with hallucinations, visions and ‘madness’. Thus we have here a prime mechanism to achieve communion with the sea nymphs.
There is another time when we may ‘see’ nymphs and that is as a baby. Bathed in fluid, and our lungs filled with fluid, this is the time when nymphs probably abound in plenty for us and being simple souls, with nothing to get in the way, I am sure we see them and are comforted by them.
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- Beuys, Joseph - Flower nymph #021046
- Bouguereau - Nymphs and Satyr #007439
- Bouguereau - The Nymphaeum #007437
- Braveheart - Rivers, locks and nymphs #000352
- Braveheart - Rivers, locks and nymphs continued #005686
- Braveheart - Rivers, locks and nymphs with demons #000987
- Burne-Jones, Edward - Sea Nymph #002654
- Cameron, Norman - Though many men had passed the ford, not one #002597
- Coleridge, Samuel Taylor - The Ancient mariner #002669
- Cyliani - Hermès dévoilé 1831 #016114
- Eliot, T S - Four Quartets - 08 The Dry Salvages I #002668
- Evans-Wentz, W Y - Alchemical and Mystical Theory  #015948
- Heine, Heinrich - Oft he sat in the gloomiest corner at home #002607
- Hesiod - Theogony - 02 Order of creation #015266
- Hesiod - Theogony - 03 Order of creation #015267
- Homer - The Odyssey - The nymphs #013383
- Hypnerotomachia Poliphili - Boat to the Isle of Venus #002045
- Hypnerotomachia Poliphili - Nymphs and the Songlines #002603
- Juan Luis Arsuaga - The Neanderthal's Necklace - Galtxagorri #014281
- Keightley, Thomas - Nymphs and Nereides #008374
- Keightley, Thomas - Stromkarl #011261
- Keightley, Thomas - The Still people #011273
- Klimt - Water Snakes #004486
- Leighton, Frederick Lord - Nymph #007693
- Mircea Eliade - Meeting a water spirit #011432
- Mircea Eliade - On the Gardens of the Hesperides #004442
- Mircea Eliade - The role of the feminine spirit helpers #002664
- Mircea Eliade – On Sea nymphs #002601
- Mr Bryant on the 'worship in caverns' #006590
- Ovid - Metamorphoses - Birth of Bacchus #002568
- Ovid - Metamorphoses - The Giant's War 2 #002594
- Paracelsus - extract from Scritti alchemici e magici #016113
- Porphyry - The cave as the symbol of the perceptible cosmos #006588
- Poussin - Sleeping Venus surprised by a satyr #004484
- Seeing nymphs by the sea shore #004618
- Seven Ages of Man - 05 The Mermaids and mermen - 01 Aquatic man #021843
- Shaivism - Concepts and symbols - Mountain #022494
- Sibelius - Wood nymph #012238
- Von Stuck, Franz - 1895 Centaur and Nymph #019640
- Waterhouse, John William - A Naiad #002600
- Waterhouse, John William - Hylas and the Nymphs #001229
- Waterhouse, John William - Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus #006321
- Watson, Lyall - Sacred wells and pools #011382