The First Mermaid is also called Lady Goddess of the Sea
In Ancient Roman times, Atargatis was a beautiful and powerful priestess who fell in love with a human shepherd boy. He, simply being mortal, did not survive her divine lovemaking and died. She became pregnant with his baby and soon became distraught and remorseful. After the birth of a baby girl Semiranis on the shore, she threw herself into the ocean to drown. Her beauty was so great that the Gods did not let her die, but changed her into a Mermaid. Not only did she become a mermaid, but a goddess of the seas. Half woman and half fish. Atargatis was depicted as having long, flowing hair like the water.
She is the first mermaid.
The reverse of a coin of Demetrius III depicts fish-bodied Atargatis, veiled, holding the egg, flanked by barley stalks
Great Mother and Goddess of Fertility of the earth and Water
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During the Roman Era, she was worshiped at the shrine in Hieropolis and had multiple temples dedicated to her. At her temples were ponds containing her sacred fish that only her priests were allowed to touch. Supposedly the fish knew their own names and would come when called. They even wore jewels and would snuggle up to people like a pet. In her day, worshipers would immerse themselves in her sacred waters to offer praise.
One way modern worshipers choose to honor and connect with the first mermaid Atargatis is to call out to her directly. Try sitting by a body of water and opening up to receive any messages that come through. You can hold a specific question in mind, or let the goddess’ wisdom flow into the quiet. Afterward, write or draw what you experienced. Don’t forget to leave a gift in her honor; consider leaving a treat for her sacred fish to enjoy.
Despite the legend of Atargatis being thousands of years old, people still worship and honor the mermaid even into modern times!
Molly the owner of Everything Mermaid wrote this post. When she isn't writing about being a mermaid, she is usually traveling the country in an RV trade and writing about it. Her specialties include Mermaid tails, blankets, pillows, and leggings . Sign up for her Mermaid monthly newsletter and hear about discounts and product reviews.
SirenitaMarch 5, 2017
I love that you focused on the first mermaid in history 🙂
cyanneApril 7, 2019
MammieMarch 31, 2020
while reading, I felt what she felt when she drowned
It’s unexplainable but powerful, it wasn’t comfortable for her turning and it was scary kinda
CarolMay 31, 2021
How did she come about? You wrote everything and nothing by leaving out her MIDDLE EASTERN ORIGIN. She was the main God of Syria. She was worshipped by the Canaanites, Arabs, and other Levantine groups. She was eventually adopted by the Greeks and the Western Romans as they have done so with many things from the oldest civilizations in the world the Middle East. If you want to teach people, make sure you get it right.
Everything MermaidJune 3, 2021
Thank you, Carol. That is really interesting. Where did you get these facts? I researched for a few weeks to get this information. If you have links I would like to include them.
Ataragtis: The First MermaidAugust 20, 2022
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