Mermaria, as one of the Aeruillin Gods, has control over the great Element of Water. She is one of the lesser High Gods. Her followers hold deep respect, more so than many other Gods (bar perhaps Polmaen), for her. They see her as the ultimate Giver of Life, as it is she who will fill the clouds with rain, determining whether their crops will fail or be successful, or if their well shall be dry or full, and her precious Water, as most Aeruillin people believe, is also the main constituent of all life upon Caelereth. Should Mermaria withdraw the gift of Water, then all life would die. Due to her ability over this element, the very essence of life, she is said to be able to change her form. Mermaria is seen as a solitary Goddess – she prefers to spend more time alone in her watery palace within the waters than with the other Gods in Asharvéa.
Officially, she is the High Goddess of Life, but other names for Mermaria
include the Translucent Lady, the Life-Giver, and the Solitary One.
Appearance. Mermaria’s physical appearance can vary greatly from place to place, even from person to person. This is because it is believed that the High Goddess of Life is able to shift her form at will, the reasoning behind this being that Water is the basic essential of life – and the Goddesses control over Water has enabled her to have the ability to change her form at will. So, due to this ambiguous nature of her appearance, she is generally drawn in a watery, translucent form, as that said to be how she appears when within her oceanic domain, where she spends most her time, away from the other Gods who reside in Asharvéa. So commonly she is depicted as a pure, watery, ethereal being in the shape of a lithe, female faerie, the only solid, definite colour being icy blue eyes.
Representations of her solid faerie form vary greatly as mentioned, but perhaps one most widely used gives her a generally blue-tinted to milky white shade of skin, icy blue eyes, long, dew-like tresses, a soft, smiling mouth with wings that cascade from her back in a soft, watery colour. She is crowned with a tiara made from common seaweed and encrusted with small, sparkling, deep blue gems. Her body is perhaps not so lithe as her watery representations are, which gives her a more motherly look.
A favourite way to paint Mermaria is surrounded by her Myriads, her own symbolic creation, riding the waves of her underwater domain. Also popular is to blend her form with the waves, showing her oneness with Water, a sight remarkable should the artist be of good enough standard to interpret this.
Mythology. It is told that Mermaria took some time to be convinced of the rebellion against the Void, not wanting to harm the creatures of the seas, such is her devotion to Water. During the creationof the world, the Goddess filled the hole Nakashi made with Water, ensuring that life could begin; Arkon took some of her Water and shaped it to land, showing that Mermaria is truly the Giver of all Life. When the God Of Creation asked Mermaria what creature she would like to have created, she chose a to create a Myriad – aquatic beings, playful in their ways, that are depicted as some sort of water-faeries, so that she could have company during her lonesome times within the Water.
Lore. Mermaria is known to want to live in solitude, in her oceanic palace, and not become involved in life on land. Her ability to become Water means that she spends much time within the waves of the Void, and is consequently seen by many as quite a solitary Goddess – hence she is sometimes called the Solitary One.
Mermaria is rarely mentioned in various myths and legends that are told of the Gods due to her nature, but she is seen as a caring individual with a hidden love of playful fun – her mischievous Myriads are embodiments of this inner desire. Mermaria is seen as a motherly figure, due to her life-giving ways, supplying her vital Water to Arkon who moulds it into an earthly representation.
Importance. Obviously, Mermaria is worshiped with great reverence by those who make their trade from the sea – fishermen especially. It is quite common, just before a boat sets sail, for the crew to hold a short prayer session to the Goddess, for good conditions and a good catch.
Particularly in the hot, dry continent of Aeruillin, Mermaria holds a great importance – their lack of rain makes them aware that every time Mermaria grants them her gift, it is truly a life force, one that will allow their crops to grow, and ultimately themselves to live.
would be assumed, blue is Mermaria’s symbolic colour. All shades belong to
her, representing the deep oceans that are her domain. Fish are also
representations of the Goddess. Arkon
created the playful Myriad to be with her in her domain, as her personal
creature, and the dolphfolk around Aeruillin’s shores are held in special
reverence due to the fact that they are believed to be the embodiment of her
Myriads within the world, although different in shape, they are seen to possess
the intelligence and playfulness of her symbolic creations that Arkon
created for her.
Celebrations. It is customary on the first day of each month to stand facing an ocean for a short while, and spend time remembering the Goddess of Life, in her solitude within the oceans of the Void.
There is also the “Xania Tarna” ritual, which is shared in symbolism with Arkon, at the beginning of every birth. Every new-born undergoes the ceremony, in which some Water, the element of Mermaria, is mixed with Earth, the element of Arkon, to make a paste, which then is smeared upon the forehead of the infant, whether it be an animal or a human. It is believed that if this ritual is not performed, the newborn will not live long upon the world.
Mermaria does have a special day that is devoted to her, although when it is can vary. It is called the Festival of Life, and is celebrated on the first day of the rainy season, when the storms begin in earnest. When the rains begin, people are obliged to leave their work and houses, to stand outside in the rain, for however long they deem worthy and necessary. Spontaneous dancing is performed, games are played and fervent prayers are given, and local priests and priestesses of the Goddess will venture inland for the only definite time each year, as they are bound by their oaths to remain near at all times to Water. And so, it is in this way that those who worship Mermaria welcome her gift.
Temple Design. Mermaria is a favourite amongst those who make their trade from the sea, such as fishermen, and particularly those who live in Nys, who pray to her daily for protection when they brave the seas of Aeruillin. A shrine to the Translucent Lady will have a bowl of water in the center, which is generally renewed each day, as evaporation is quick in the hot conditions of the continent. Blue cloth adorns the edges, and it is quite common for seaweed to be intertwined in this material. As with most shrines, there is a picture of the Goddess. Those in Nys (and some other predominantly fishing towns and cities) also like to offer her a fish at their shrine after every trip to the seas, as a thank you for a successful and safe day of fishing.
The materials tend to be rock gathered from beach and cliff areas, so that there is a special connection to the water in its construction, and the temples tend to resemble a beach themselves, with the cliff-like outer appearance, sand swirling at the bases, and the watery moat surrounding it. Just through the door is a bowl of holy water – water that the Priest or Priestess of the temple has blessed – from which worshippers and visitors should dip their hands into, and then touch their forehead, in a gesture of submission. Unlike other temples, there is no statue or effigy of the Goddess, simply some sacred water in an ornate bowl, high on a grand altar at the opposite end to the entrance of the temple. It is refreshed once a year, from water collected during the first day of the rainy season, during Mermaria’s Festival of Life.
Anyone may enter into the service of Mermaria, whether they be man, woman or child. The only strict rule that is placed upon them is that they must not stray far from water, which is generally a sea, except for the first day of the rainy season, where they may join with the people of the nearest village, city or town, to praise Mermaria. They may marry and bear children, drink and be merry. All that is asked of the priesthood is that they respect water, and it is their duty to teach to the people how important it is – how, ultimately, it is their life.
Temple Locations. Temples to the Goddess of Life tend to be very close to water, or even situated on a raised platform within a shallow area of sea. It is common for them to have a small moat surrounding the building, which should be filled with water. However, especially during the arid summer months it can become dry, which unfortunately some people take to be a bad omen, and so every effort is made by the Priests and Priestesses of Mermaria to keep the moat filled. The fact that most temples are built near a large body of water makes this task easier.
Information provided by Artemis