Throughout time, there has been a presence of mermaids. It might have been fairytales, folklore, art, or real-life accounts, but it’s undeniable that they have played a part in human history. They haven’t always had the same reputation. Some were symbolized as omens of evil and seduction, while others are good luck or fertility. Each is different in unique ways, just like you. Keep reading to know different types of mermaids, and which one you relate too!
The term”Mermaid” is the all-encompassing name given to a humanoid fish
Sirens have the biggest reputation of being mischievous, or deadly with passing sailors throughout the world. They can conjure a storm, fog, foretell death, read minds and wreak havoc at their pleasure. They have the ability to be demi-polupitisy, meaning, they can speak and have clear voices in which to sing. The ancient spelling of Siren is “Seirén” meaning “the ones that tie or grab” referring to their enchanting songs.
The Sirens in Greek Mythology were women with a human lower body, and wings of a bird. But at some point, they lost the feathers in a singing contest with the Muses and were not able to fly. They either died or turned into mermaids depending on which legend you read. Sirens are sore losers so they might be taking their anger out for loosing on humans.
A Water Nymph can either be a spirit living near water, or a “natural” goddess which is a class of inferior female divinities. They are not considered immortal but can live for an extremely long time. There are different types of water nymphs which are distinguished by the nature around them. They are knowns for taking care of their existing bodies of water, and nature they are connected to. They do this by growing plants or blessing a nearby city with clean water. The different Water Nymphs include:
- Nereides – Protector of the sea
- Naiades – Protector of fresh water
- Oceanids – Protector of the deep oceans
Nereides – Protector of the sea
Nereids are mostly found in the Mediterranean sea and tend to hide in deep cavernous spaces within the earth. They are some of the most beautiful creatures in existence and can have either legs or tails depending on the body of water.
Their personalities are friendly and will help sailors in times of need. They love children and often give birth to influential heirs like Achilles. You can find them hanging around the God Poseidon will often fight with each other for the chance to carry his trident.
Naiades – Protector Of Fresh Water
Naiades are found in most fresh bodies of water like rivers, springs, wells, and even fountains. They are, for the most part, good and nurturing spirits to people and the water in which they protect. Usually, these freshwater sources are the main life-giving current to which nearby civilizations are built. Offerings will occasionally be made to keep the Naiade in a good mood, so the waters will continually be blessed.
If you swim in a place protected by a Naiade, you could absorb some of her magical qualities. These waters have often been known to heal the sick, inspire poets, and bring fertility to women and crops.
They are widely known for their beauty with flowing long hair and often roam around without clothes on leading both men and Gods falling to love with them. If she is provoked or a dramatic romance occurs, this will be reflected in the waters. She can unleash flash-floods, or inflict droughts on her enemies. She can change the quality of water making it undrinkable if she is irritated.
Naiades can live as long as their body of water remains strong. If the water runs low, their strength slips away and could eventually die.
Oceanids – Protects of the Ocean and Salt Water
An Oceanid is a water nymph that lives in the deep water of the ocean. There are more Oceanid than any other mermaid population. Important water Goddesses like Metis, who was Zeus‘ first wife, whom he later impregnated with Athena. Other important Oceanid Demigods are Amphitrite and Doris.
Their main role is to protect the deep oceans and serve as wives and lovers to the Gods. They watch over their children who later become Gods themselves. Because of their compassion, many sailors dedicate prayers and sacrifices to the Oceanids in order to receive protection from the deadly sea storms.
British Isle mermaids
Merrow Mermaids, also known as “wee folk”, are found in Ireland and have been known to have seaweed green hair and webbed fingers. If you are from Wales, these same mermaids are called Murgas. These particular mermaids are able to swim under the water with the aid of a magic red cap. If that cap is stolen, the merrow will not be able to return to their home underwater.
Merrows have been known to fall in love with humans and even give birth to children. There are legends of Merrows singing to sailors and dragging them to the bottom of the sea. However, the Irish believe these men were enchanted and could stay alive under the water to enjoy the company of the mermaids. What do you think?
Ceasg – Scottish Mermaids
A Ceasg (pronounced “kee-ask”) is known as a “maid of the waves” whose lower half resembles a salmon tail. These mermaids can be both dangerous and good fortune. If captured, she will grant you 3 wishes. If the captured mermaids and sailor find true love together, she will transform into a human and walk on land giving her husband good luck for the rest of his life. Some Scottish families even claimed that their family descended from a mermaid-human couple.
Don’t get on a Ceasgs bad side though! She will lure you to your death and not think twice about it.
The Ceasg can be immortal by putting their soul in an object, like a shell, and hid it so humans can’t find it. If you are a Harry Potter fan, this will sound familiar.
Selkies are found in the British Iles, as well as Iceland. They are different from Merrow and Ceasgs because Selkies are not cold-blooded. Selkies have the ability to shapeshift from a seal like a creature to a human who can walk on land.
These Selkies shed their seal-like skins to become human and hid them from sight so they can suit back up when done on land, and return home. If these skins are found, the women are forced to stay on land and enslaved to the one who has their seal suit and lives as a loyal wife. Unfortunately, the Selkies have an insatiable longing for the ocean and if she finds the skin, she will put it back on and run to the ocean and never look back.
Morgens are the most dangerous of Irish folklore. These are water spirits that are notorious for drowning unsuspecting sailors and fishermen. They are the Irish equivalent to the Greek siren and show up in the form of a beautiful woman. You can spot a Morgan by her comb. She loves sitting by the water combing her long hair and singing a seductive tune to helpless victims.
These Morgans love natures and often cultivate underwater gardens with buildings of gold or crystal. They are also to blame for any heavy flooding in the area that destroys crops or villages. You really don’t want a Morgan on your bad side.
Finfolk are northern mermaids from places like Norway, Sweden, or Finland. They migrate south to spend summers on the Orkney islands looking for humans to capture. FinFolk are notorious shape-shifters who intentionally turn themselves into sea creatures or plants to get the attention of humans, then kidnap and marry their victims.
Unlike other mermaids, Finfolk’s aim to force their captured prizes into marriage and slavery rather than eating or killing them for pleasure. When they are not trying to capture humans, they live in a deep water palace called Finfolkaheem which is a far off luxurious castle in the sea.
Finfolk have deep greed for things that sparkle like jewelry, coins, and other silver land dwellers can provide. If a victim were trying to escape, they could distract the Finfolk by throwing a silver coin their way, they just might have a chance of getting out.
A Rusalka is a ghostly mermaid from Russia who has a dark past. They were girls who died violently and will thus lure men and children to their deaths by capturing victims with their long hair. Often living on the bottom of rivers and lakes, these Rusalka will water crops in her spare time when they are not being dangerous and seductive.
Undines are also known as Ondine who dwell in lakes, rivers, forest pools, waterfalls, and even fountains. These maidens are very beautiful with gold hair, green eyes, long tails, and lush lashes. However, she is missing one important thing, a soul.
In order for these mermaids to gain a soul, they must marry a human. That is why they will attract unsuspecting men by their voices, then play the role of a victim in hopes they will fall in love with them. These relationships are not without risk, if he is unfaithful, she will lose her soul, and he will die.
Undines are also known for protecting nearby waterways from pollutions or poisoned by sewage or industrial waste. She cleanses chemicals, pesticides, and other substances from the water. They work relentlessly on the environment by controlling the tides as well as climate change.
south America and Caribbean Mermaids
Sirena Chilota mermaids care for all aquatic animals and fish of the sea. They are very happy in natures and known for rescuing drowned sailors and restoring them to life by helping them back to dry land. They are very beautiful and youthful with long golden hair. Don’t worry about getting eaten by a Sirena Chilota, they are Herbivore and only eat plants.
For those who have drowned, she carries the dead bodies and their spirits to El Caleuche which is a ghost ship sailing the seas.
They have very large flukes and strong tails so they can swim long distances while carrying victims of tragedies. It is said that a Sirena Chilota’s tears are very delicate and can be used in spells.
A Encantado is a pink dolphin like shapeshifter found in the Amazon river. During the night, these river dolphins change into beautiful, well dressed, wealthy looking young women who are excellent at dancing and musical ability.
They go into married men’s houses to place them under a spell. They then take the men to a nearby hut and visit them every year on the same night to mate. On the 7th night, she changes the man into a baby and transfers him into the man’s own wife’s womb. This is known as the cycle of a baby.
Besides enchanting married men, the Encantado has the power to control storms, or inflict illness, insanity, and even death.
If Iara finds true love, she will make a good companion as they cater to all the needs of their lovers for the rest of their lives. However, don’t be too quick to fall in love. Iara usually has evil intentions and normally plans to kill.
Aicaya is mermaids who live in the Caribbean. These are humans that were disowned by their native communities and banished to the sea. Aicaya seeks out others whose fates are the same and turn them into one of their own so they don’t feel rejected or alone. They are all different, but they love and accept others just as they are.
Mermaids In Asia
The Ningyo mermaids are very beautiful and seductive beings known in western culture but are known to be more fish than human in Japanese folklore. It’s described as a giant fish with horns and fangs.
These creatures are believed to cry tears of pearl, and it was thought that eternal youth and beauty would be imparted upon any human being who consumed its flesh. However, don’t go fishing just yet! Catching one is a bad idea and should be avoided at all costs.
They have a terrible temper and have been known to place curses on humans who try to capture them. Some have been provoked so much they created an earthquake so big it swallowed a whole town.