What happens when a mermaid dies?
Is there a mermaid funeral? In popular literature, the original Little Mermaid redeems her soulless self by joining the air nymphs and beginning a journey that could one day allow her to reincarnate as a being with a soul. The rest of her mermaid kind is doomed to long life and then obliteration, their bodies becoming one with the waves and their existence snuffed out.
Not to depress you or anything. Obliteration seems like a harsh word for Friday morning.
In the Equilibria Collection, the cultures are all determined by their element and the Ancient Greek god that corresponds. This is from a snippet of poetry often overlooked in Ancient Greek cannon, which posits that the creation of man was not the action of Prometheus, but of Persephone and the other three gods who play centre stage in the religion of Pangaea.
The water people, shapeshifters, the Mer, worship Persephone for her watery qualities – empathy, romance, innocence and mutability.
Water qualities are key to the average Wave Singer. While Merry might not be up to scratch on cultural traditions, the Mer are a complex people. They live both on land and in the water, with an intense desire to be constantly near or in the water. They share the same changeable qualities of water, able to shift their bodies to adapt to their environment at will.
So what happens to those bodies when their will is gone – when they’ve died?
There is a ceremony of course, a mermaid funeral to mark the passing of a life. As the Ancient Greeks believed, so do the Mer – one’s soul passes down, to the Underworld regardless of actions in life. The body left behind returns to the water, a funerary song taken up by all the attendant Mer dissolving it to return to foam on the waves. So the cycle continues. From water, to water.