Below the Reflections

A lot of the mythology I’ve been reading has themes of reflections — faerie world as a reflection of modern life, the jealousies of the gods reflecting those of the people who live below Mount Olympus, the reflections or waves on water hiding the world beneath the depths.

If you’re interested in water + mythology, you might want to check out the Celtic myths. Here are a few that I really enjoyed in Celtic Myths and Legends by Peter Berresford Ellis:

  • “Princess of the Fomorri” — with boats coming up out of the ocean, away from their docks under the sea, a princess who needs a drink from a specific chalice, and a smart, intelligent healer, this Scottish tale has me looking at the deepy darks and shadows in a good way.
  • “Gilaspick Qualtrough” — has a sailor who tells tall tales experiencing an unbelievable adventure and casting his nets for a bell. This Manx tale includes the ocean god, a beautiful princess, and some amusing comedic scenes.
  • “The Ben-Varrey” — involves a fisherman, a mermaid, an evil Druid, and a cat with a fiddle and a jigging mouse and cockroach. Again, this one is from the Isle of Man and is a lighthearted tale with dark deeds mixed in.
  • “The Destruction of Ker-Ys” — which is a dark, dark tale from Brittany. Destruction, fire, flood, poisoning, and a tale of multiple revenge. This one is complicated by the presence of lots of false-faces and a bishop vs. a Druidess.

It makes a great deal of sense that the coastline areas (and smaller islands) of the British Isles would have lots of tales that about the changeableness of water. It’s a life-giving force, and yet it can take things away so quickly. Even wells have a changeable nature.

In a way, we all deal with the reflections of the real world all the time, not pondering the deeper realities. It isn’t healthy to look beneath the shadows of the waves all the time — it’s hard for us to breathe down there. But, sometimes, it’s useful to reflect on where we are, search what has changed in our goals, and try to push at the water a little to redirect our course. [Note: the Gardener has requested help securing portions of the garden against high winds. To everyone else who might be affected by Hanna or the other storms playing pinball with the East Coast (and Cuba, Puerto Rico, etc), please stay safe.]

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