what's a fire and how does it - what's the word? - burn
so i have this disney playlist i listen to usually when i’m driving and i was blasting poor unfortunate souls this morning and i was thinking
what if ariel didn’t sign the scroll?
because she’s about to, okay, and she looks at the paper. the parchment made of seaweed, the ones that’s specially treated to survive underwater. and she thinks of her cave of treasures, her books that remain perfectly preserved underwater.
“no thank you,” she says slowly, becoming keenly aware of air of this place, of the not-people she’d seen who hadn’t been able to pay the price for sea witch’s bargain. “i – no. thank you. but no.”
ursula tries to convince her otherwise, but ariel runs. she goes back to her cave, destroyed as it was by her father’s anger, and thinks.
she’s the daughter of triton. her books never got wet, though she lives in the ocean. she feels a pull inside her, to the land, to somewhere else, but what if – what if –
what if she doesn’t need the sea witch or her father to perform magic for her? what if she has her own?
ursula had wanted her voice because that’s how she performed her magic. singing in this cave had given it powers and protection, and when she saved her prince from the sea – she sang then too, to keep him safe, to guide him back to life and away from death.
so she has magic. she only needs to figure out how to use it.
so that’s what ariel does now. she’s quiet and keeps to herself, and her father and sisters think that it’s because she’s upset with her father, that she’s busy licking her wounds.
she’s moved on from that. she has no trident, and is uninterested with fueling her magic with the souls of the damned like ursula has. so she needs to figure something else out.
she does what she’s not supposed to do, and goes where she’s not supposed to go, slipping past the guards and patrols to the one place in the sea that is forbidden to all of them.
the crevice in the earth where what remains of her grandmother lives.
ariel goes to amphitrite, and the sea goddess is so much bigger than ariel, the size of great whale as she curls at the bottom of the sea floor, too old and too tired to do anything more than sleep. “granddaughter,” the great being croaks, opening an eye as blue and as unfathomable as the sea, “you look like me.”
“they say i look like my mother,” she says, and to herself adds: that’s why father can barely stand to look at me.
“you have more of me in you than your mother,” she says, and she shifts and pulls her mass of red hair over her shoulder. “more of me in you than your father does, even.”
“i have magic,” she says, pulling her bravery to the fore as she swims closer to her grandmother, “i want you to teach me how to use it.”
amphitrite pushes herself up, and it’s the first time she’s moved in a millennia, and ariel notices for the first time that her grandmother isn’t a mermaid – she has legs.
she has legs.
“you have power,” amphitrite corrects fiercely, “and i will teach you to wield it.”
and so she does. ariel spends her nights by her grandmother, learning to harness the power of the sea that runs in her veins, and sleeps her days away while her sisters and flounder and sebastian grow more and more concerned, but she refuses to tell them why. she refuses to be stopped.
but her heart still aches. she fell in love with her prince, and she wants him still. so she swims to the edge, goes to the beach where his castle resides in the dead of night when her lessons with her grandmother are complete, and sings
she’s careful not to let any magic leak through, only her voice. she does not want to enchant him. she wants him to love her as she is. so she sings, her voice clear and powerful and cutting through the air. she hopes he can hear it.
then one day a figure walks to the beach, and it’s him, her prince. “hello?” he calls out, “are you out there? are you – please, it was you that saved me, wasn’t it? won’t you come out and let me see you?”
so she does, waves her tail at him until he catches sight of her and takes hesitant, disbelieving steps closer.
“you’re a mermaid,” he says, eyes wide, “i thought i saw – but it couldn’t be.”
“i am, and it can,” she says, heart beating wildly in her chest. he’s just as handsome as she remembered, and she wants him just as much. “my name is ariel.”
“ariel,” he repeats, and pulls off his boots and goes wading into the water, watching her to see if she flinches away from him. she doesn’t, and his strides grow bolder. “my name is eric.”
“eric,” she whispers, and when he’s close enough he touches her, trailing fingers across the bare skin of her shoulder and tangling them in her hair.
when he kisses her, she feels powerful enough to undo the world.
so there’s that now, spending her nights with her grandmother and her prince, and she knows how to make her own legs now, could walk onto land and be made a queen among the two legged men.
but she’s a princess here first, and before she can do that she needs to take care of something.
the rotten sea witch with her rotten sea magic won’t be allowed to torment her people any longer.
she tells her grandmother, and amphitrite smiles and says, “an excellent decision, child. i’ve enjoyed our time together, but i think it’s time for me to sleep once more. i’ve taught you everything i can.”
and tears prick ariel’s eyes, but she holds them back. she knew that it couldn’t be forever, that her grandmother can’t die but no longer desires to live and this is the in-between.
“you’ll be an amazing queen,” amphitrite murmurs, and closes her eyes for a millennia more.
this isn’t something to be done in the dead of night, although it would be easier to do it then.
she will make a spectacle of it, she will remind the sea that her people are not to be trifled with.
once upon a time they feared a blue eyed, red haired sea queen with the power to destroy them all. it’s time for them to do so again.
so she drives ursula to the center of the city. her sisters cower and people hide, and her father comes rushing forward to save her.
“you’ve committed great crimes against my people,” she says, not flinching as lightning gathers in the sea witch’s hands, “so now shall a great crime be committed against you.”
“foolish girl,” the sea witch snarls.
triton is yelling. he won’t get there in time.
he doesn’t have to.
she doesn’t need to sing anymore. instead she lifts her hands and pulls ursula apart without ever touching her, not only renders flesh from bone but also sets free the souls she’s been hoarding, reverses the magic done to those who’d fallen into the sea witch’s trap.
they all stare at her, her people, her father, and her sisters. she looks to triton and says, “i’m not a little girl anymore.”
he opens his mouth, closes it again, then says, “i can see that.”
all at once everyone’s perceptions are turned sideways about their youngest princess. she commands a power that even her father doesn’t have access to, she’s not depressed and dreamy – she’s powerful young woman who knows exactly what she’s doing.
so she does what she wanted to do, she gives herself legs and steps onto the sand and launches herself into eric’s arms. she becomes his bride, and the rumors run rampant of what she is, of where she came from, but they can’t prove anything and so they rule.
they live long, happy lives. ariel is his consort, his advisor, his wife, his tactician, and his best friend. all those years reading drowned books have certainly paid off. she ages herself along with her husband, bears his children and then teaches them they ways of her – their – people.
her husband dies, and she disappears, like the stories of selkie women that everyone whispers around her. their children give their father a sea burial, and vow to see him again one day. what they know and none of their subjects do is this – their father’s body isn’t in that casket.
she returns to her ocean, her legs form into her glittering green tail, and she goes home. she uses her terribly powerful magic, and brings her husband with her. she went from princess ariel of the sea to queen ariel of the land, and now she’s back again.
she’s not quite a teenager, but neither is she the old woman she pretended to be on land. she’s returned her and her husband to the prime of their life, and as she gained legs to be with him, he now gives his up to be with her.
eric becomes a merman, and a prince by virtue of being ariel’s husband.
she returns to her family and her world without missing a beat, and they all welcome her as if she never left, treat her husband with kindness and respect.
because they all know.
it doesn’t matter that she’s the youngest. when, far in the future, triton’s reign ends –
At the request of so many followers, I have decided to mock up a little bit of information on Sea Magick and Sea Witchery. This is just a brief overview to give you some information when wanting to research or begin working with the ocean, storms, the tides, and the many creatures associated with the sea.
However, I will caution you that the many sea creatures (especially the Merfolk) are not very forgiving creatures, thus they can be pretty tough to handle for beginner, baby witches. It takes an experience sea hag to get them to cooperate properly, so keep this in mind when studying them.
Once again, this is a brief overview and introduction to my craft and path. if you have any questions, you can direct them to me via PM or ASK.
Let’s get started!
WHAT IS A SEA WITCH?
Traditionally, sea witches are witches who appear among sailors or others involved in the seafaring trade. Sea witches use witchcraft related to the moon, tides, and the weather, and are believed to have complete control over the seas. Many sailors fell prey to the sea witches curse on ships and were finally delivered to the one who rules all. In some folklore, sea witches are described as phantoms, ghosts,or in the form of a mermaid. These creatures would then have the power to control the fates of ships and seamen.
As the name implies, sea witches are believed to be able to control many aspects of nature relating to water, most commonly the ocean or sea. However, in more modern times, sea witches can also practice witchcraft on or near any source of water: lakes, rivers, bath tubs, or even simply a bowl of salt water.
In addition to their powers over water, sea witches could often control the wind. A common feature of many tales was a rope tied into three knots, which witches often sold to sailors to aid them on a voyage. Pulling the first knot could yield a gentle, southeasterly wind, while pulling two could generate a strong northerly wind.
Sea witches often improvise on what they have, rather than making purchases from a store or from another person. Common tools include clam, scallop, or oyster shells in place of bowls or cauldrons. Other items include seaweed, fishing net, shells, sea grass, driftwood, pieces of sea glass, and even sand.
Other types of titles they use are: sirens, water witches, storm witches, and sea hags.
DO SEA WITCHES HAVE CERTAIN PERSONALITY TRAITS?
Eh, there isn’t really a specific type of person the sea calls to, however I have met many sea witches that would be described as walking contradictions. Much like the sea, we can be quite flexible, but also forceful. Moods tend to fluctuate with the tides and lunar cycle. Hags both enjoy and love music and poetry; are quite expressive with their emotions, but also don’t easily award entry into their hearts; and can easily win the attention of a crowd, but then seek solitude in the comfort of their own homes. You would be hard-pressed to find a stagnant sea witch–they’ll always be on the move, searching and discovering. However, be warned: if you fall in love with one you must understand that a sea hag’s heart belongs to the Sea first and foremost, forever and always, and it calls to them over the span of lifetimes.
WHERE DOES THEIR POWER COME FROM?
For the most part, sea witches draw their power directly from the source: the Ocean. You’ll find that many of them, even landlocked sea hags, have trinkets from the shore and enjoy baths, storms, and the moonlight. Of course, there are many different kinds of sea witches all over the world and it really just depends on what seafaring folk culture they subscribe to that determines their power source.
DO SEA WITCHES HAVE SPECIFIC DEITIES THEY WORSHIP?
I am not even lying–there are HUNDREDS upon HUNDREDS of water and sea deities that sea witches call upon for aid and worship. Probably the most popular would be Poseidon, Neptune, Lir, Gong-Gong, Hapi, Sobek,
Agwé, Aegaeon, Delphin, the Gorgons, Samundra, Pariacaca, Watatsumi, Rongomai, Njord, Nix, and even Davey Jones.
One of the beauties of being a sea witch is that you can call on many ancient and powerful deities to aid you in your craft. However, I do advise that you make sure that these deities do not come from a culture/religion/belief system that is closed. You can check out a full list of water/sea/storm deities here.
WHAT ARE SOME TOOLS SEA WITCHES USE?
*TAKES A DEEP BREATH*
Water (salt, fresh, or storm), sand, sea shells and cockles, sea glass, driftwood, ship wood, compasses, maps, mirrors, bowls and chalices, sea weed, sea grass, fish and fish bones, coral, telescopes, sand dollars, pearls, bath salts/bombs/goodies, sea salt, linen, umbrellas and mops, windchimes, ropes, weather vanes, and blood are just some of the few tools we use in our practice.
TELL US ABOUT MERMAIDS!
The Mer or Merfolk are probably one of the more popular topics when it comes to sea witchery. I get questions all the time like “DO YOU TALK TO MERMAIDS?” or “HOW CAN I GET A MERMAID TO BEFRIEND ME?” or “AREN’T MERMAIDS JUST THE COOLEST?”
The Merfolk are an integral part of sea witch culture, but they aren’t the end all be all when it comes to water spirits/fae/demons/entities. There are so many to work with and all have interesting backstories. But let’s talk about the Merfolk for a moment…
Depending to what you school you subscribe to, the Merfolk (also known as mermaids) could be fae, demon, or simply water spirits. Some believe that the Merfolk are a species of kithain (also known as changeling or fae.) Ancient and unknowable, the Merfolk pose something of a problem to both fae and human alike. The arrogance of the mer is tempered only by their truly alien natures. The Merfolk claim that they are the sole legacy of the Tuatha De Danann, the oldest fae on Earth, dreamed long before any human ever set foot on land. When curious people ask how this could be, the merfolk are disconcertingly vague and ambiguous.
As I have stated before on the blog, the Merfolk are certainly an odd lot. The product of a totally alien mindset, the mer are simultaneously deadly, serious and playful, highly ritualized and completely free spirited, repressed and yet libidinous as a drunken prom date. The first thing one will notice about a mer is his incredible arrogance. Of course, as far as they are concerned, they have every right to be arrogant. After all, in their minds, they do rule the world.
Other mythologies tell us that mermaids are the bane of seamen. These half-fish, half-women lured countless sailors to their deaths. Breathtakingly beautiful humans from their torso-upwards, their lower bodies where those of fish, complete with scales. Men find their songs irresistible and follow them willingly into the sea. Mermaids can be caught and held in exchange for the wishes they grant. The males of the species, Mermen, are regarded as vicious creatures who raised storms for the purpose of sinking men’s ships. Occasionally they are successfully courted by human men. The offspring of such pairings are often granted great powers in healing by their mothers.
In short, mermaids are extremely beautiful, temperamental, powerful, and dangerous. They are not to be confused with Sirens, either, and find contempt at the very accusation. I will probably go into more detail about Merfolk magic in a different post.
WHAT ARE OTHER WATER SPIRITS THAT WE CAN WORK WITH?
Again, like the deities, there are so many different kinds of water spirits and this topic in of itself could be an entire article. So, here is a brief list and some traits about my favorites…
In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on some small islands called Sirenum scopuli. In some later, rationalized traditions, the literal geography of the “flowery” island of Anthemoessa was somewhere tucked in a cape, with rocky shores and cliffsides.
Sirens were believed to combine women and birds in various ways. In early Greek art, Sirens were represented as birds with large women’s heads, bird feathers and scaly feet. Later, they were represented as female figures with the legs of birds, with or without wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps.
These are the elemental spirits of water. Their magic centers upon this element, whose course and function they can control. Undines exist within the water itself and cannot be seen with normal human vision. Their homes are typically within the coral caves in lakes or upon the banks of rivers, though smaller undines may choose to live under lily pads. Their appearance is similar to human beings in most cases, with the exception of those living in smaller streams or ponds. Undine clothing is shimmery, reflecting all the colors of water though green is typically the predominant color.Every body of water is home to undines, from ocean waves, to rocky pools, to marshlands, to rivers, to lakes and ponds. Even waterfalls and fountains have an undine living in their midst.
The shapeshifting selkies, who are also known as silkies or roane (Gaelic for seal), occupy the seas surrounding the Orkney and Shetland isles. The exact nature of their undersea world is uncertain, though some believe it to be encased in giant air bubbles. Their true forms are those of faeries or humans, though they take the form of large seals when traveling the through the oceans. In particular: great seals and grey seals are said to take human forms. Older tales tell that selkies are only able to take on human forms on certain nights of the year, such as Midsummer’s Eve or All Hallows.
Occasionally they encounter humankind, sometimes becoming their mates. A human male may take a selkie female as his wife if he finds her seal skin on the beach and hides it from her. In the end she always recovers the skin and returns to the sea, though she may return occasionally to watch over her human family from the safety of the waves.
A human woman may bear the child of a selkie male if she weeps seven tears or seven drops of blood in the nighttime sea. Such relationships are rarely lasting. Seven years hence, the selkie would return for his child, offering the mother a fee for nursing her own babe.
One of the most dreaded and best known of the Irish faeries is the Banshee, properly named the Beansidhe literally, “woman fairy.” The Irish have many names for her (perhaps they feared invocation of her true name may invoke her presence?) They included: Washer of the Shrouds, Washer at the Banks, Washer at the Ford and the Little Washer of Sorrow. The Scottish called her Cointeach, literally “one who keens.” To the cornish she was Cyhiraeth and to the Welsh either Cyoerraeth or Gwrach y Rhibyn, which translates as “Hag of the Dribble” (to the Welsh she sometimes appear as a male). In Brittany her name is Eur-Cunnere Noe.
The Beansidhe is an extremely beautiful faery, possessing long, flowing hair, red eyes (due to continuous weeping) and light complexions. They typically donn green dresses with gray cloaks. Their wailing foretells of a death nearby, though it never causes such a death (which is why they are wrongly feared.)
As her other names might suggest, she frequently appears as a washerwoman at the banks of streams. In these cases, she is called the Bean Nighe (pronounced “ben-neeyah”). The clothing she washed takes different forms depending upon the legend. Sometimes it is burial shrouds, others it is the bloodstained clothing of those who will soon die. This particular version of the Bean Sidhe is Scottish in origin and unlike the Irish version, she is extremely ugly, sometimes described as having a single nostril, one large buck tooth, webbed feet and extremely long breasts, which she must throw over her shoulders to prevent them getting in the way of her washing . Her long stringy hair is partially covered with a hood and a white gown or shroud is her main wardrobe. The skin of the Beansidhe is often wet and slimy as if she had just been pulled from a moss covered lake. They are rumored to be the ghosts of women who died in childbirth and will continue to wash until the day they should have died. The keening music of Irish wakes, called caoine, is said to have been derived from the wails of the Beansidhe.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS?
The Sea giveth and the Sea taketh away. The sea is both mother and reaper, passionate and cold, serene and turbulent, loving and cruel, generous and vicious. And if you meet a sea witch, you’ll know this to be true:
Neither chains of steel, nor chains of love, can keep her from the Sea.
“Amphitrite was the goddess-queen of the sea, wife of Poseidon, and eldest of the fifty Nereides. She was the female personification of the sea–the loud-moaning mother of fish, seals and dolphins. Amphitrite was depicted in Greek vase painting as a young woman, often raising her hand in a pinching gesture.”