marine mythological beliefs

Did you know that human beings have always associated the sea with threats and calamities, since it was a mysterious and unknown place? Well, this idea influenced mythology, thus creating creatures of the depths and, therefore, as a symbol of protection, the ancient sailors decorated their boats, especially their prows. In today's post we will tell you about some of the most famous marine mythological beliefs.

beliefs from different times

  • The name of a ship. Each boat had a different name and those related to fire, lightning or storms were avoided.
  • Amulets and positive objects.
    • The coin for Charon. The shipowners placed a coin under the mainmast as a preventive payment to Charon, who was the boatman in charge of making the souls of the dead cross the Acheron river to the kingdom of Hades.
    • Figurehead. Initially they were inside the ship and fulfilled a religious function and, later, they moved to the bow as animals, marine deities and female figures, in the belief that their vision soothed the gods.
  • Amulets and negative objects.
    • dates. The Anglo-Saxons considered it a bad omen to leave on Fridays (Jesus' crucifixion), the first Monday in April (the day Cain killed Abel), the second Monday in August (the day God punished Sodom and Gomorrah) and December 31. .
    • The fires of Saint Elmo. The luminescence that appears at the ends of the ship's masts was a signal that overwhelmed the sailors. 

Hispania. Iberia. Spain.

In relation to the sea there are few myths and legends since the sailors conserved much less ancestral beliefs. Even so, many of them arrived at the port and told stories of mermaids (a Greek myth widespread in many civilizations), gigantic snakes or enormous octopuses.

  • Cantabria
    • cloudrun. Common of Cantabrian mythology. They control the weather at will and have fun causing storms and tempests. They will not hesitate to use lightning as weapons if attacked or disturbed.
  • Basque Country.
    • arrainandere. Mermaid that attracts sailors with their songs who, confident, approach them and capsize their boats. They are not harmful beings although sometimes they are mischievous and jokers.
  • Asturias. 
    • sirens. She was a beautiful young woman, with a disordered appetite, who continually ate fish and shellfish, and one day, her mother wished her to become a fish and she did. While bathing in the sea, he felt how his legs began to be covered in scales to become a large fin. She, full of joy, began to sing and thus fulfilled her mission of brightening up the route and watching over the sailors.
  • Galicia.
    • bormanicus. God of the waters

Surely you did not know of the existence of these mythological beings born in Spain, and perhaps you also thought that mermaids were always painted as something evil but, as you have seen in the Basque Country, that is not the case. 

So, if you're as much a fan of these topics as we are, don't miss our next post!

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