Symbols - What does heaven look like
- A nymph is a spirit being – a collection of water functions and an Intelligence - albeit a minor Intelligence
- A mermaid is a female shaman, a merman a male shaman
- A siren however is now an archetype, but at one time was also a female shaman
In Greek mythology, the Sirens were ‘dangerous women’[sic!], portrayed as seductresses who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.
Homer’s Odyssey is the story of the Spiritual path and many spiritual paths require chastity. Thus a siren when you are travelling by boat may be a diversion which means you lose all the spiritual energy you have accumulated by avoiding sex. The idea can be correlated with the technique of sexual stimulation as a technique
“The term "siren song" refers to an appeal that is hard to resist but that, if heeded, will lead to a bad result.”
BUT, it is also worth mentioning that in early Greek art, Sirens were represented as birds or female figures with the legs of birds, with or without wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps.
Thus they were female shamans equivalent in their role to Geisha – they helped with sexual stimulation . Later, Sirens were sometimes depicted as just beautiful women, whose bodies, not only their voices, were seductive. Thus they helped in the build-up of sexual energy and then helped release it – the result was figuratively speaking ‘death’ – the mystic marriage.
Over time this aspect of them got forgotten and the technique of sexual stimulation died out; as Franz Kafka wrote in The Silence of the Sirens, in 1917,
"Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence.”
But the archetype of the siren appears to have been hijacked later and used frequently in a more general way during the times of sexual repression. Christians took it up with a vengeance during the middle ages.
“Sirens are seductresses, they entrance and hypnotize their male targets. They try to achieve their hidden purpose by using feminine wiles such as beauty, charm, and sexual allure. They may even drive their men-prey to the point of obsession and exhaustion so that they are incapable of making rational decisions”.
She then represents in most cases an erotic fantasy, temptation of a sexual nature, a call from the subconscious or deeper the autonomic system and lust and passion! She is something of a lovable figure today, but in the 17th century right through to Victorian days, when moral rules were repressive and harmful, sirens were really looked on as the personification of evil!
She came from the water because the water was used symbolically to represent the ‘deeps’ within you. And in her new role she was always depicted as having a fish’s tail because you couldn’t have sex with her. She was unattainable for anatomical reasons. Sit on your bed with a copy of Playboy in your hand gazing longingly at the photos and you are dealing with sirens.
Sirens are always female, presumably because women did not bother with sexual repression when it was at its height. They were either not bothered with sex and uninterested in having erotic fantasies of men. [After ten children sex loses something of its appeal – after one child without anaesthetic sex loses its appeal] . Or they just went out and smiled at some poor repressed bloke and ignored the moral idiocy of the day, becoming sirens themselves.
Sigmund Freud was interested in sirens, because as a repressed man he saw repression as the cause of all psychological problems.
Both Catholic and Protestant countries at one time were chock a block FULL of sirens. No public bar was without them. Ireland bred them. The Dutch and Germans caged them. The French and Italians fed them – frequently. The English painted them or pretended they didn’t exist but kept a number under their beds and in closets. Sadly [or thankfully] they are almost extinct.
Choose the route of chastity and you will find they start to reappear, especially in your dreams.
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- Cirlot on sirens #004824
- Dante and the siren #006712
- Debussy - Sirenes #011949
- Holmes, Oliver Wendell - The chambered nautilus #004325
- Homer - The Odyssey - The Sirens #002661
- Juan Luis Arsuaga - The Neanderthal's Necklace - Galtxagorri #014281
- Knut Ekwall - The Fisherman and the Siren #002662
- Lowell, James Russell - The sea is lonely, the sea is dreary #007141
- Matisse - Parrot and Siren #007726
- Nerval, Gerard de - El Desdichado #013740
- Plato - Republic X - 03 Tale of Er #013766
- Siren of Cannossa #002660
- Stobart, Henry - A view from the Bolivian Andes – The inspiration from the sirens #022075
- The Louvre - Cast terracotta funerary figure made in Myrina, 1st century BC #002659
- Waterhouse, John William - Ulysses and the Sirens #008107
- Watson, Lyall - Nixies, sirens and tritons #011371
- Yeats, W B - Collected poems - A Mermaid found a swimming lad #002653