Melusine

Melusine-Fougères_(35)_Église_Saint-Sulpice_Baie_06_Fichier_03.jpg

A Year of Dragon Rituals

Part 2. Melusine (France) 

22 Mar 2019, Full Moon in Libra

Melusine (French: [melyzin]) or Melusina is a figure of Greek origin a folklore and mythology (mostly Celtic), a female spirit of fresh water in a sacred spring or river. She is usually depicted as a woman who is a serpent or fish from the waist down (much like a mermaid). She is also sometimes illustrated with wings, two tails, or both. Her legends are especially connected with the northern and western areas of France, Luxembourg, and the Low Countries. The House of Luxembourg (which ruled the Holy Roman Empire from AD 1308 to AD 1437 as well as Bohemia and Hungary), the Counts of Anjou and their descendants the House of Plantagenet (kings of England) and the French House of Lusignan (kings of Cyprus from AD 1205–1472, and for shorter periods over Armenia and Jerusalem) are said in folk tales and medieval literature to be descended from Melusine.(1)

Melusine_(Bayard).jpg‘Melusine Revealed’, by Emile Bayard, 1870

The most famous literary version of Melusine tales, that of Jean d’Arras, compiled about 1382–1394, was worked into a collection of “spinning yarns” as told by ladies at their spinning coudrette (coulrette (in French)). He wrote The Romans of Partenay or of Lusignen: Otherwise known as the Tale of Melusine, giving source and historical notes, dates and background of the story. He goes into detail and depth about the relationship of Melusine and Raymondin, their initial meeting and the complete story.(1)

It tells how in the time of the Crusades, Elynas, the King of Albany (an old name for Scotland or Alba), went hunting one day and came across a beautiful lady in the forest. She was Pressyne, mother of Melusine. He persuaded her to marry him but she agreed, only on the promise—for there is often a hard and fatal condition attached to any pairing of fay and mortal—that he must not enter her chamber when she birthed or bathed her children. She gave birth to triplets. When he violated this taboo, Pressyne left the kingdom, together with her three daughters, and traveled to the lost Isle of Avalon.(1)

The three girls—Melusine, Melior, and Palatyne—grew up in Avalon. On their fifteenth birthday, Melusine, the eldest, asked why they had been taken to Avalon. Upon hearing of their father’s broken promise, Melusine sought revenge. She and her sisters captured Elynas and locked him, with his riches, in a mountain. Pressyne became enraged when she learned what the girls had done, and punished them for their disrespect to their father. Melusine was condemned to take the form of a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. In other stories, she takes on the form of a mermaid.(1)

Melusine_JuliusHubner.jpgJulius Hübner ‘Die schöne Melusine’ 1844

Raymond of Poitou came across Melusine in a forest of Coulombiers in Poitou in France, and proposed marriage. Just as her mother had done, she laid a condition: that he must never enter her chamber on a Saturday. He broke the promise and saw her in the form of a part-woman, part-serpent, but she forgave him. When, during a disagreement, he called her a “serpent” in front of his court, she assumed the form of a dragon, provided him with two magic rings, and flew off, never to return.(1)

There are many different versions of Melusine’s story, which can be read here, and in some of them she appears as a fiery serpent with a golden key in her mouth. Once every seven years she returns in the hope that some brave soul will take the key from her serpent’s mouth and thereby win her freedom.(2)

A copy of the Full Moon ritual conducted by Spheres Of Light can be found here.

References:
(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melusine
(2) http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/melusina.html

 

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