In the last two days it has become clear to me that Rena and I were brought together to bring a reconciliation of the German Teutonic People – with the World! Why – us?
Hey – ya all! Look what I found! I posted this in 2014 before Disney invented a Black Mermaid. The Andromeda Mermaid was posted in 2013.
Rena Christensen’s people are from Denmark, where Hans (John) Christian Anderson was born. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival put on a Mermaid play starring Black Folks.
Most of Guy’s books are about the dependability of family members and friends who care and love each other, and her trilogy of novels for young people — The Friends (1973), Ruby (1976), and Edith Jackson (1978) — is based on her own personal experiences, as well as those of many young African Americans growing up in New York City with little or no money or support from family. Ruby tells the story of a young girl seeking love and friendship, who finds it in Daphne Duprey, allowing both girls a new insight of relationships and love.
Guy’s 1985 novel, My Love, My Love: Or, The Peasant Girl, has been described as a Caribbean re-telling of Hans Christian Andersen‘s “The Little Mermaid “with a dash of Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet.” In the tale, Desiree is a beautiful peasant who falls in love with a handsome upper-class boy whom she saved in an accident. His family does not approve of Desiree, for she is too black and too poor for their son who will be king. Concepts of sacrifice and pure love reign throughout the novel. It was adapted for the Broadway musical, Once on This Island by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. The show’s original cast ran for a year, from 1990 to 1991, and was then revived in December 2017 at Circle in the Square Theater. It won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
Rena feared the sea because she is a land-locked mermaid. She is the muse of a brother and sister who died at the edge of the sea. The painting I did of her in 1971 put her in a sea a summer grass. A crescent moon crowned her. Her blue mantles was full of stars.
I am the wounded Fisher King who has captured a strange fish in my net. Her caviar is a million unborn poems that she spill upon your shore. She begs me to put her back, to forget forever her declaration…..
“Here I am!”
“Where is my epic poem?” is all I ask of her.
The White Goddess
All saints revile her, and all sober men
Ruled by the God Apollo’s golden mean –
In scorn of which we sailed to find her
In distant regions likeliest to hold her
Whom we desired above all things to know,
Sister of the mirage and echo.
It was a virtue not to stay,
To go our headstrong and heroic way
Seeking her out at the volcano’s head,
Among pack ice, or where the track had faded
Beyond the cavern of the seven sleepers:
Whose broad high brow was white as any leper’s,
Whose eyes were blue, with rowan-berry lips,
With hair curled honey-coloured to white hips.
The sap of Spring in the young wood a-stir
Will celebrate with green the Mother,
And every song-bird shout awhile for her;
But we are gifted, even in November
Rawest of seasons, with so huge a sense
Of her nakedly worn magnificence
We forget cruelty and past betrayal,
Heedless of where the next bright bolt may fall.
Yemanja is an orisha, originally of the Yoruba religion, who has become prominent in many Afro-American religions. Africans, from what is now called Yorubaland, brought Yemaya/Yemoja and a host of other deities/energy forces in nature with them when they were brought to the shores of the Americas as captives. She is the ocean, the essence of motherhood, and a fierce protector of children.
Because the Afro-American religions were transmitted as part of a long oral tradition, there are many regional variations on the goddess’s name. She is represented with Our lady of Regla and Stella Maris.
Africa: Yemoja, Ymoja, Yemowo, Mami Wata
Brazil: Iemanjá, Janaína
Cuba: Yemaya, Yemayah, Iemanya, Madre Agua
Haiti: La Sirène, LaSiren (in Vodou)
USA: Yemalla, Yemana, Yemoja
Suriname: Watra Mama
Dominican Republic: Yemalla or La Diosa del mar (sea goddess)
In some places, Yemaja is syncretized with other deities:
Diosa del Mar
La Sirene (lit. “The Mermaid”)
Yemaja is said to be the mother of all orisha. She also is the spirit of water, and her favorite number is 7.
In Yorùbá mythology, Yemoja is a mother goddess; patron deity of women, especially pregnant women; and the Ogun river. Her parents are Oduduwa and Obatala. There are many stories as to how she became the mother of all saints. She was married to Aganju and had one son, Orungan, and fifteen Orishas came forth from her. They include Ogun, Olokun, Shopona and Shango. Other stories would say that Yemaya was always there in the beginning and all life came from her, including all of the orishas.
Her name is a contraction of Yoruba words: “Yeye omo eja” that mean “Mother whose children are like fish.” This represents the vastness of her motherhood, her fecundity and her reign over all living things.
Yemaya is celebrated in Ifá tradition as Yemoja. As Iemanja Nana Borocum, or Nana Burku, she is pictured as a very old woman, dressed in black and mauve, connected to mud, swamps, earth. Nana Buluku is an ancient god in Dahomey mythology.
Image of lemanjá, Brazil
Offerings for lemanjá in Salvador, Brazil. The culture of various areas in Brazil is a syncretization over centuries of African elements brought by slaves and Brazilian modes of living
The goddess is known as Iemanjá or Janaína in Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda religions.
The Umbanda religion worships Iemanjá as one of the seven orixás of the African Pantheon. She is the Queen of the Ocean, the patron deity of the fishermen and the survivors of shipwrecks, the feminine principle of creation and the spirit of moonlight. A syncretism happens between the catholic Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes (Our Lady of the Seafaring) and the orixá Iemanjá of the African Mithology. Sometimes, a feast can honor both.
In Salvador, Bahia, Iemanjá is celebrated by Candomblé on the very same day consecrated by the Catholic Church to Our Lady of Seafaring (Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes). Every February 2, thousands of people line up at dawn to leave their offerings at her shrine in Rio Vermelho. Gifts for Iemanjá usually include flowers and objects of female vanity (perfume, jewelry, combs, lipsticks, mirrors). These are gathered in large baskets and taken out to the sea by local fishermen. Afterwards a massive street party ensues.
Yemanjá is also celebrated every December 8 in Salvador, Bahia. The Festa da Conceição da Praia (Feast to Our Lady of Conception of the church at the beach) is a city holiday dedicated to the Catholic saint and also to Yemanjá. Another feast occurs on this day in the Pedra Furada, Monte Serrat in Salvador, Bahia, called the Gift to Yemanjá, when fishermen celebrate their devotion to the Queen of the Ocean.
Outside Bahia State, Iemanjá is celebrated mainly by followers of the Umbanda religion.
On New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro, millions of cariocas, of all religions, dressed in white gather on Copacabana beach to greet the New Year, watch fireworks, and throw (white) flowers and other offerings into the sea for the goddess in the hopes that she will grant them their requests for the coming year. Some send their gifts to lemanjá in wooden toy boats. Paintings of lemanjá are sold in Rio shops, next to paintings of Jesus and other Catholic saints. They portray her as a woman rising out of the sea. Small offerings of flowers and floating candles are left in the sea on many nights at Copacabana.
In São Paulo State, Iemanjá is celebrated in the two first weekends of December on the shores of Praia Grande city. During these days many vehicles garnished with Iemanjá icons and colors (white and blue) roam from the São Paulo mountains to the sea littoral, some of them traveling hundreds of miles. Thousands of people rally near Iemanjá’s statue in Praia Grande beach.
In Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul State, on February 2, the image of Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes is carried to the port of Pelotas. Before the closing of the catholic feast, the boats stop and host the Umbanda followers that carry the image of Iemanjá, in a syncretic meeting that is watched by thousand of people on the shore.
From the moment she emerge from the darkened door at the edge of the sea, Rena Victoria gave me one great Art Lesson after another. I could barely keep up as she dipped into the Master Creator’s palette. When she told me she was afraid of the sea, I wondered if she was the embodiment of Andromeda. Poseidon punishes this most beautiful of maidens by chaining her to a rock by the sea. Surely if I were her reincarnation, I would avoid the ocean – at all costs!
Christine was terrified she would meet her death via a MONSTROUS wave! I died after falling on rocks by the sea. And here come Rena from Nebraska. She gets near the Pacific Ocean, and is in great peril. Her boyfriend is beat-up by Hercules’ followers. Oh, and she gets kidnapped.
Art lesson! Art lesson! Art lesson!
One can say Poseidon had it out for these beautiful and creative siblings ( and their muse) who rendered beautiful young women as pretty as the Nereids – if not prettier!
Who is giving these art lessons – is the question!
In Greek mythology, Andromeda is the daughter of Cepheus, an Aethiopian king, and Cassiopeia. When Cassiopeia’s hubris leads her to boast that Andromeda is more beautiful than the Nereids, Poseidon sends a sea monster to ravage Aethiopia as divine punishment. Andromeda is chained to a rock as a sacrifice to sate the monster, but is saved from death by Perseus, her future husband.
Her name is the Latinized form of the Greek Ἀνδρομέδα (Androméda) or Ἀνδρομέδη (Andromédē): “ruler of men”, from ἀνήρ, ἀνδρός (anēr, andrós) “man”, and medon, “ruler”.
As a subject, Andromeda has been popular in art since classical times; it is one of several Greek myths of a Greek hero’s rescue of the intended victim of an archaic sacred marriage, giving rise to the “princess and dragon” motif. From the Renaissance, interest revived in the original story, typically as derived from Ovid’s account.
Giorgio Vasari, Perseus and Andromeda, 1570
In Greek mythology, Andromeda was the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, king and queen of the kingdom Aethiopia.
Her mother Cassiopeia boasted that her daughter was more beautiful than the Nereids, the nymph-daughters of the sea god Nereus and often seen accompanying Poseidon. To punish the queen for her arrogance, Poseidon, brother to Zeus and god of the sea, sent a sea monster named Cetus to ravage the coast of Aethiopia including the kingdom of the vain queen. The desperate king consulted the Oracle of Apollo, who announced that no respite would be found until the king sacrificed his daughter, Andromeda, to the monster. Stripped naked, she was chained to a rock on the coast.
Perseus was returning from having slain the Gorgon Medusa. After he happened upon the chained Andromeda, he approached Cetus while invisible (for he was wearing Hades’s helm), and killed the sea monster. He set Andromeda free, and married her in spite of her having been previously promised to her uncle Phineus. At the wedding a quarrel took place between the rivals and Phineus was turned to stone by the sight of the Gorgon’s head.
Andromeda followed her husband, first to his native island of Serifos, where he rescued his mother Danaë, and then to Tiryns in Argos. Together, they became the ancestors of the family of the Perseidae through the line of their son Perses. Perseus and Andromeda had seven sons: Perses, Alcaeus, Heleus, Mestor, Sthenelus, Electryon, and Cynurus as well as two daughters, Autochthe and Gorgophone. Their descendants ruled Mycenae from Electryon down to Eurystheus, after whom Atreus attained the kingdom, and would also include the great hero Heracles. According to this mythology, Perseus is the ancestor of the Persians.
At the port city of Jaffa (today part of Tel Aviv) an outcrop of rocks near the harbour has been associated with the place of Andromeda’s chaining and rescue by the traveler Pausanias, the geographer Strabo and the historian of the Jews Josephus.
After Andromeda’s death, as Euripides had promised Athena at the end of his Andromeda, produced in 412 BCE, the goddess placed her among the constellations in the northern sky, near Perseus and Cassiopeia; the constellation Andromeda, so known since antiquity, is named after her.
Sitting on the shore, watching my beloved Rena Victoria go into, and come out of the water, was my inspiration for ‘The Birth Of Venus’ that was written while I was living on the McKenzie River.
Several days later I recorded my story on tape. The next day Marilyn showed up with the latest Enya tape ‘The Celts’ that I spliced into my story. There is another half still to be told.
The Birth of Venus
In the time before the coming of Man, before he learned to count the stars in the Heaven, and name the Seas that surrounded him, there was a morning star that danced in the deep blue sky at dawn’s first light. This was the time when wisdom and thoughts were not in man for he was not created yet. But there was whisperings in the inky night, and hushed tales reaching earth from distant stars, and in great tales yet to be stored in the hold of the moon, whose round sails traversed the sky, its sails adjusted and trimmed to the moods of the months and seasons, but not to the moods man, for even the gods did not have their whims as yet.
Then there was talking amongst the great rocks that buttressed into the sea, so deep and ancient the voices that only the seagulls could hear them and amass took flight over the horizon. There were rumors in the pounding waves as they marched to the shore that eternity was coming to dwell on Earth, and until then, only the breaking waves could count it. And they consulted the prophets in the rocks who had no form, who let the great waves take them bit by bit and turn them into sand till they fell like colossus back into the sea. But they were not vanquished for they dwelt in the spirit of all the land and had the wisdom to know they were not immortal, that their demise would take almost forever. But by then they would be wise, almost as wise as the gods, and by then, they would go wherever the gods would lead them, like dust captured in the tails of comets, they will follow.