great egret rear)
This is a subject I cam across and followed... the mermaid saint.
I will number the points as it spreads like a strange and wonderful,
I think , tree.
1.A woman named Liban in ancient Ireland had her house swept away by
a great flood. all died but her dog who was turned into an otter and
herself who became a salmon and lived as such for 300 years before
being found , perhaps only partly salmon now, by monks. who after
consultation gave her the choice of living 300 years on earth or
immediate death and entrance to the world that is coming...she chose
the latter and was baptized as Muirgen, sea born, and died and was
canonized as a saint.
2.as to Salmon they are wise as James Stephens starts his novel The
Crock of Gold "IN the centre of the pine wood called Coilla Doraca
there lived not long ago two Philosophers. They were wiser than anything
else in the world except the Salmon who lies in the pool of Glyn Cagny
into which the nuts of knowledge fall from the hazel bush on its bank.
He, of course, is the most profound of living creatures, but the two
Philosophers are next to him in wisdom."
3. Remember that one of the transformations of Taliesen, the eternal
spirit of poetry who will walk the earth until the day of doom, was as
a salmon when he was pursued by Ceridwyn.
4.As to the baptism, perhaps someone might say that it represented
(or standing back from the story and treating it as a legend, the story
itself that is represented) the desire to baptize every aspect of the
5.consider also Muirgen as in some way behind Morgan Le Faye. using
short hand of not filling out but anyone not familiar may follow up
6.Think also of Saint Faunus told by anatole france of one of the last
of the fauns who guided persecuted christians through the forest and was
buried as a christian at the end of his days. and of the painting of him
by Mikhail Vrublev.
7.But back to Muirgen and the choice of death and heaven over 300 years
of extended life...consider the Sybil " "Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego
ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent:
Σίβυλλα τί θέλεις; respondebat illa: ἀποθανεῖν θέλω." ("For I indeed once
saw with my own eyes the Sibyl at Cumae hanging in her jar, and when the
boys asked her, 'Sibyl, what do you want?' she answered 'I want to die'.")
8. on another hand the words of the mystical Christian poet (and rather
unpleasant counter reformation polemicist) Angelus Silesius:
"A mortal yearns for death yet frees it constantly;
Yon lies impatiences way, this way timidity>"
this touches St Paul's expressions in Phillipians chapter 1. whether it
is better to be here or to pass to the coming world but he concludes for
here as fruitful..."for me to live is Christ."
9. Another approach is that of Arseny Tarkovsky(father of the master director
"death does not exist
we are all immortal
and immortal is every thing. At seventeen
one should not fear death, nor at seventy.
Being and light alone have reality,
darkness and death have no existence.
We are all already on the shore of the sea
and are among those who drag the nets
while immortality gleams beside them.
Live in the house and it will not fall down.
I shall call forth any century at all,
to enter into it and build my house.
This is how your children and wives
will sit with me at the table.
One sole table for ancestor and descendant.
The future is happening now. "
10. The choice of Muirgen is seen as an illusion born in Time
for there is only life and it is one here and there on land
and on see, in what is and what is to come.
11. It is a perception one intuits and yet as Thornton Wilder
says at the end of Our Town perhaps only saints and poets
have the beginning of its knowledge.
12. and St Muirgen who perished neither in the sea nor in
death nor in the form of salmon nor that of woman but
found herself forever.
"I'm still myself, I'm me.
Here is the true, have no fear."*
*from William Buck's conclusion to his veersion of the Ramayana.