Mermaid Myths: Lasirenn

Lasirenn has various spellings: Lasiren, La Siren, Lasyrene, etc..

One of the three Ezili sisters in Haitian mermaid myths is Lasirenn. All three symbolize female power and problems but only Lasirenn is actually a mermaid. Ezili Danto is the mother, alone and usually angry. Ezili Freda is the sex bomb, sensual, flirtatious and often frustrated. Lasirenn is the mystical mermaid living underwater. The three are also related to various aspects of the Virgin Mary.

Lasirenn lives underwater in both a real and a symbolic sense. Water is female and often represents the unconscious. There is a song or poem about Lasirenn that goes:

The mermaid, the whale,
My hat falls into the sea.
I caress the mermaid,
My hat falls into the sea.
I lie down with the mermaid,
My hat falls into the sea.

To see Lasirenn underwater is like catching a glimpse of something mysterious, something huge, powerful and sudden. That is to say that she represents sudden, powerful insight. " My hat falls into the sea" means that one is about to be consumed by this insight.

Like all mystical symbols Lasirenn is described in opposites: she is black and white. She is also Labalenn, the whale (remember that killer whales are black and white). Her hair is black or blonde, but always very long and shiny. She is always combing her long hair as in other mermaid myths. She is related to the African goddess Mami Wata in form and attributes. Click here for more information about Mami Wata.

In her mermaid myths Lasirenn captures people and pulls them underwater. Some merely drown, others return alive but altered by their communion with the goddess. Most of the returnees are women. They disappear for three days, or three weeks or three years and when they return they are changed. Their skin is paler, their hair is longer and straighter, and they have gained secret knowledge of healing. When they first come back they are disoriented. They cannot speak and do not remember what has happened to them. After some time the story emerges of them being instructed by Lasirenn under the water.

Click here for more mermaid myths and here.

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