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Caught in Transition: Liban the Mermaid

I love the story of Liban, for it reflects God’s heart so beautifully!  God longs for all to be saved, and He’ll stop at nothing to make Himself known.  Liban is unique: she was a mermaid who became a saint.  Rather than be reviled and judged, she was accepted and hallowed.

And despite all odds, it shows how some sea priestesses felt the tug of the Gospel on their hearts…

Liban of Lough Neagh

Liban was a lovely young woman whose family died when Lough Neagh overflowed.  She, however, “lived for a whole year with her lap-dog, in her chamber beneath the lake, and God protected her from the water.”[1]  Sounds like Noah, which makes sense – many water deities echo the truths of Noah,[2] having been corrupted over time.


Mermaids of the Deep Logo

Historical Mermaids: Caught in Transition

Last week we discussed the attributes of the Celtic priestesses who became our “mermaids.”  What did these powerful women do when faced with Christianity?  Fortunately, our stories show us some tantalizing glimpses…

The Lady of the Lake

As I said last week, I got the idea of mermaid stories having their roots in historical priestesses from Norma Lorre Goodrich’s King Arthur.[1]  Although she did not make this connection, the Arthur myths seem to (almost) perfectly capture the transition from priestess to water spirit.  One of these women is the Lady of the Lake, who I believe to be a remnant of the undine tradition.



Meaningful Mermaids

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” ~ Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NASB)

When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity.  For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil. ~ Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Now to dive into our stories!  Our fist category are the “meaningful mermaids.”  These maidens of the deep explain anything from natural phenomena to family traits.  Many countries have such stories, since mermaids (and other water spirits) are not necessarily tied to the ocean, but also dwell in lakes, rivers, and streams.[1]   

They don’t always fit into our lessons, but they have equal value to us.  Even the pagans recognized that things didn’t just “happen.”  There had to be a reason, a meaning behind it. Otherwise, it was pointless.

In the sea-side countries, maidens of the deep gave meaning to historical, natural, and personal events:



God and the Mermaid

“You cannot realize our free and untrammelled existence” ~ the Mermaid to Old Man Lutey[1]

This series seems to be one of fluidity – it’s always changing, always surprising.  I had all sorts of disparate ideas about mermaid stories, and I’m beginning to see them all come together in a way only God can do.  

The Lessons

Last time, I talked about our “questions” and lessons, but I want to expound upon them further.   We are all trying to answer these two vital questions:  “Do I have what it takes?,” and, “Am I worthy of love?”  We talked last time of how mermaids answer our questions for us; however, only God can truly fulfill those questions.  He gives us the ability to “do what it takes” in any endeavor, and He gives us our worth.  

What we turn toward to answer our “questions” determines what type of “mermaid” we are.  Either we are “worldly mermaids” or “godly mermaids.”  And as such, everyone has a “mermaid tale.”  I think that’s why there are so many mermaid stories – they all resonate differently with each one of us, according to our life stories.  Or, some may say, testimonies.

“Worldly mermaids” turn to the world to answer their questions.  And sometimes the world answers in a positive way…at least it often does in our stories!  And so I found myself asking: how do you convince those who think they’re free that they are not free?  After all, we all know those people – the unbelievers who truly seem to be better people than we are, who embrace a “what will be, will be” attitude. Like the mermaid above, they tell us we “cannot realize their free and untrammelled existence.”  How do we show them that they do need Christ?  How – when Christianity looks like such a fetter to most people?



“But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.”   Read more…

sleeping beloved

The Sleeping Beloved Saga

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement.”  So the LORD God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found as his complement.  So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place.  Then the LORD God made the rib He had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man.  And the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called ’woman,’ for she was taken from man.” ~ Genesis 2:18-23

I wanted to end my Sleeping Beloved saga where we began.  It was a cyclical journey, after all…

sleeping beloved

Disney’s “Maleficent”

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” ~ Genesis 50:20

And here we are, back at the beginning.  This was the verse that introduced our very first Sleeping Beloved, and I find it highly appropriate to use it to introduce the last.

It’s been the same question down through the centuries: will your heart awaken to love?…

sleeping beloved

Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”

We are finally within the last hundred years!  The Walt Disney 1959 animated version of Sleeping Beauty is a timeless classic, giving a fresh voice to the Sleeping Beloved characters.  Disney masterfully crafted the fairy tale into something unique; and yet, the story remained true to its nature…