Aside

An undine (also spelled ondine) is an elemental of water and the word itself is derived from the latin root “unda” which means wave.  Guardians of the west and ruled by the moon, the undine in the tarot is represented by the suit of cups. Like the ocean they come from, undines can be temperamental and have various emotional extremes from calm to ferocious.

I personally resonate with the water element even though I am predominately an air sign. I think this connection comes from my father’s influence as I spent lots of time near or in the ocean growing up.  My father was a deep sea diver, captained various vessels and was an avid fisherman who also served in the navy.  He taught me how to swim when I was 4 (by throwing me off a pier) and a few years later I reached the highest levels in my swim/dive class at school due to my fearless confidence.  Even after a close call with a shark (which could of taken my left hand) when I was 6 and nearly drowsing (due to a rip when I was deep sea swimming) when I was 16, nothing has put off my obsession with the ocean.  I have always felt like I was being taken care of and protected by the elementals of water and developed a fascination with mermaids and later on sirens.

800px-WATERHOUSE_-_Ulises_y_las_Sirenas_(National_Gallery_of_Victoria,_Melbourne,_1891._Óleo_sobre_lienzo,_100.6_x_202_cm)

(Odysseus and the Sirens by John William Waterhouse)

I have had a thing for Sirens ever since I first visited my maternal grandmother’s home island of Lemnos and learned about their mythology from the Ancient Greek point of view. There was more to their myth than trying to lure Odysseus and his crewmen with their song to their watery deaths by crashing their vessel against the rocky shoreline.  They were known to have beautiful voices which lured people (predominately male mariners) into the depths of the sea where they resided.  However some of the locals I spoke to during my last trip to Lemnos insist it wasnt the sirens voices but the words they used which was so poetically entrancing that it would seduce anyone anywhere.

(The Siren by John William Waterhouse)

In Lemnos at a place near my grandmothers home was a place called Kaviria (where the kavirian mysteries took place) and where according to local folklore legend, the Sirens reside. The siren is known as the handmaidens of Persephone and are part bird and part woman.  When Persephone was was taken by Hades, Demeter gave the sirens wings to search for her.  Demeter then cursed the sirens for not assisting when they witnessed Persephone’s abduction by Hades. Muse of the underworld, the siren was considered a very powerful creature whose image was used as a protective totem by the locals of Lemnos.  Where my grandmother’s house is located near the Kaviria in Lemnos (far east of the island) they have found many images of the siren buried under homes as a protection charm (see image below).

image
(image from http://odysseus.culture.gr)

 (c) T. Georgitsis 2014
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