She was waiting for me as I drifted into the Dreamtime, a deep chuckle preceding her blue-green iridescence and a sense of sisterhood…
“Of course you know me”, I heard, continuing an inner conversation of which my mind had been oblivious, but which my unconscious recognised immediately.
I had been travelling and working in southern Tuscany with my spirit-sisters Catherine, Agnes and Selma, following our guidance in this region to which Selma had been first called in search of labyrinths and the double-tailed mermaid…. Catherine and Agnes had returned to their respective homes in England and Holland, leaving Selma and I to integrate and continue our work.
The day before, Selma had given a lecture during an afternoon of presentations devoted to “La Donna” – women’s topics…This was in many ways a crowning achievement for Selma, a Dutch professor who has been in the area for seven years, studying and experiencing the magic of the region. She was presenting this information on representations of the double-tailed mermaid in the area to a crowd of mostly native Tuscans…I was excited for her!
The first woman speaking was showing part of a film to start off her presentation. As I was sitting next to the projectionist, I took a glance at the cover of the DVD that we were about to see : Signs out of Time, a documentary on the life and work of Maria Gimbutas, by Donna Read and Starhawk…! My mind flew back to last summer, sitting in Donna’s back garden in Montreal with her and Starhawk, connecting all the people we knew in common… I think a new word may have to be invented for that sensation of magical wonderment and gratitude at coming around a corner into an experience that tells us we are onto something important….that we are in alignment with something intricate and exquisite….
Selma’s presentation of the myriad double-tailed mermaid images in Europe and most particularly – and most anciently – from the region of southern Tuscany still inhabited by ancestors of the Etruscan culture, went very well – the locals seemed strangely unaware of this phenomenon on their doorsteps. Partial culpability for this may rest with the ecclesiastically-inspired definition of these beautiful images as “demonii” – demons! Selma has vowed to get the local tourist information plaques that defame the mermaids in this way, changed to reflect their true identity….
After Selma’s presentation came a herbalist and naturopath who described the healing role of women herbalists and energy workers (faith healers) in Europe. She spoke with emotion of the virtual extinction of traditional healing, as millions of woman were branded as witches and burned alive for daring to compete with Church-trained “leeches” . Those who managed to escape the wrath of the Church did so, particularly in the rural areas, by practising their arts within the cloister of Christianity. Her photographs of a renowned healer from the 40’s affected me deeply, and somehow related to my connection with this part of Italy…
The sensual voice that spoke to me in Dreamtime cohesed into form, and before me was the Mermaid, her arms reaching out from her sides to hold one tail in each hand. “Look at me”, she said – “I represent everything that you have been learning and teaching about duality all your life!”
Previously, while researching and working with the Scythians and one of their Queens Scota, I had understood that one branch of this nomadic people had left northern Iran, travelled down through northern Africa and back up through the Iberian peninsula, ending up in Ireland and Scotland. Another had swept across Italy and then up to Rumania. These are the people who became known as the Celtic Druids – their two paths can be seen as the tails of the mermaid, whose image can be found everywhere they travelled.
Now, though, I saw her body as an infinity symbol – the two circles of arms and tails meeting in the centre at her heart, where duality becomes Oneness. I saw a warm golden glow flowing through her arms to her hands, and then into her tails and circling back up to her heart.
Normally, I see the Heart (and our learned attitudes towards giving and receiving) as “feeding” the arms and hands, whereas the Belly’s energy descends into the legs, carrying what we have learned about what our paths in life are supposed to be. Also, the left side of the body is energetically feminine, dealing with what we have learned and inherited through our mothers, whereas the right- hand side is related to the imprinting of the paternal lineage. The left side holds our history and feelings about our inner lives, our bodies and our intrinsic value, while the right is about doing, performing and achieving in the outside world. The Mermaid herself represented yet another polarity – her upper body being the conscious aspect of Self, and the lower half submerged in the deep waters of the instinctual and subconscious.
As usual, my own heart understood the Mermaid’s message before my head could grasp it. I felt my whole being smile in recognition of a deep truth – an ancient Knowing that is inscribed in our human bodies. As separated as our perception may define us as being, into infinite aspects of duality, the awareness of our hearts can reassemble us, reuniting our various halves into One.
In this light, my Mermaid sister was reminding me – and all of us – that the healing of Humanity and of the planet from a state of separation, isolation, Otherness and dissonance to a reality of unity, cooperation and harmony, will be birthed through the open heart of each one of us. That this message was carved into stone by ancient hands – left for us on churches and tombs and fountains – in places where Life is celebrated and pondered, touched me with deep gratitude….
I felt a warm golden glow, leaving my heart…flowing down my arms…. The Mermaid’s gentle laughter accompanied me as the Dreamtime dissolved, swirling … shimmering …fading as I awoke and realised that I, too, was laughing….