“The whole glorious sea lay before the young girl’s eyes, but not one sail appeared on its surface, and not a boat was to be seen. How was she to proceed? She looked at the innumerable little pebbles on the shore; the water had worn them all round. Glass, ironstones, everything that was there had received its shape from the water, which was much softer than even her delicate hand.
‘It rolls on unweariedly, and thus what is hard becomes smooth. I will be just as unwearied. Thanks for your lesson, you clear rolling waves; my heart tells me that one day you will lead me to my dear brothers.’
“…Solitary it was there on the strand, but she did not feel it, for the sea showed continual changes— more in a few hours than the lovely lakes can produce in a whole year.”
— from “The Wild Swans,” a classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen,
born 4/2/1805 with Pluto and Venus in Pisces
March 7, 2023, 5:35am pst, 8:35am est, 1:35pm gmt;
March 8, 2:35am aedt
55 minutes after the Full Moon
The Little Sea-Maid
Another of Andersen’s classic tales, “The Little Sea-Maid” is another Piscean story of suffering, sacrifice, miracles and spiritual glory, watered down in the better-known Disney version.Disney Studios have done a good job of popularizing great stories. Unfortunately, the romanticized versions of the original stories they animate often runneth over with a kind of soggy, superficial sentimentality. Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” was a remake of an old tale recorded for immortality by Dane Hans Christian Andersen in his collection of Fairy Tales and Wonder Stories.
The Disney version, of course, had to have a happily-ever-after ending—and so does Andersen’s version of “The Little Sea-Maid,” but it’s a very different ending than the cartoon movie. “The Little Sea-Maid” speaks to a deeper level of the soul. It gives us another level at which to understand Pisces in its sensitive, spiritual nature.
Romantic fantasies and illusions get us in trouble when we try to have a ‘real life’ relationship. Pisces are especially prone to romantic illusions. They see the best side of another person and are dis-illusioned when the other person doesn’t always live up to their highest self. In Disney movies, we are swept away by the trials and tribulations, the heroic quest for love, but what happened after the prince and princess were married?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be a fish? Or at least to be able to explore the mysterious underwater world where fish and other sea creatures live? Having become a certified mermaid (diver) myself, it’s amazing what new capabilities the small space of air inside a face mask can give you, what difference a rubber extension of your legs can make, what expanded capacity to breathe underwater the air tank on your back can offer. Do you have your wet suit on? Let’s plunge down, down, down to lose ourselves in a silent dream world filled with sea colors beyond the landlubber’s imagination, to flow along the currents with the fish and the magical mer-people.
* * * * * *
Far out in the sea, where the water is clear as turquoise glass, you can dream your way deep down to the coral palace of Poseidon, God of the Oceans, who moves the tides with his three-pronged trident. Swimming through the seaweeds, the Piscean mer-people are quite at home, flowing along with the green-blue currents. In her underwater garden, planted with a coral-pink weeping willow and ruby iridescent sea anemones that glow like the Sun, the youngest sea-princess is a strange child, quiet and thoughtful, gentle and melancholy. She has the sweetest, most lovely voice of all the mer-people. When she sings, all pause to listen. She loves to hear stories of the world above the sea and longs to go there.
At the age of fifteen, as for all people of the sea, her turn comes. As she rises for the first time above the surface of the water, the setting sun ignites the clouds with rose and gold; the stars gleam bright and brilliantly beautiful in an even higher world above. On a ship, fireworks and dancing celebrate the birthday of a young prince with great shining black eyes. A sudden storm arises and changes the party to tragedy. As the ship sinks, the sea-maid lifts the prince from the down-pulling waters and brings him carefully to shore. She retreats back into the waves as a young girl from a nearby temple approaches along the shore and finds him. The sea-maid goes home, but cannot forget the handsome prince. Humans have immortal souls, her grandmother tells her, unlike mer-people who live three hundred years and then turn into sea foam. Oh, how she wanted a soul that lived forever! But only if a man were to love her and marry her would she then receive his soul into herself, as soul-mates, sharing immortality.
Untended, her garden grows wild. Restless, she goes every day to the palace of the prince, hiding herself by day in sea foam, by night in the silver light of the moon. How can she find a way to win him and an immortal soul? Binding her long hair so the monstrous polyps could not seize her, she dares her way through the black whirlpool marsh to find the sea-witch in her white house of bleached sailors’ bones. Oh yes, though a stupid request that would bring her grief, she could give the sea-princess legs to become human, yes, but it would feel like treading upon sharp knives at every step. If the prince should marry another, her heart would break and she would turn into sea foam at sunrise. And her price, cackled the sea-witch, was the lovely, pure voice of the princess.
Ready to make any sacrifice for her love, the little mermaid pays the price; her tongue is cut out. Drinking the burning liquid where the sea meets the palace steps, she swoons from the pain, but when she awakes, the prince is there, looking at her with his great dark eyes. Charmed by her beauty and grace, he makes her his constant companion, but his heart was given, he said, to a maid of the temple that had saved his life from the sea. He is seeking her throughout the country. The sea-maid suffers that she is speechless to convey the truth. Inevitably the prince finds the maiden, truly a princess, and their marriage is celebrated at sea. All night the sea-maid gazes out toward the east, awaiting her death at the morning light. Her sisters appear with a dagger from the sea-witch, for which they had sacrificed their long hair. If she kills the prince, then she can live to finish out her life in the sea. But the sea-maid cannot kill him. She plunges into the sea, ready to give up her life and her hopes for immortality rather than betray her love.
Yet, as the sun reaches above the horizon, she is still alive! Sailing toward her along the bright rays of the sun are glorious sylphs of the air that lift her into the sky to become one of them. Neither do they possess immortal souls, but they can earn one through doing good deeds. Her longing for human love is not fulfilled, but the young mermaid’s desire for the eternal happiness of an immortal soul, for which she has suffered and endured much pain, has raised her to the world of spirits. Invisible now, she kisses the prince and his bride with a sweet breath of air and floats through the ethereal skies toward the heavens forever filled with stars, seeking still her deathless soul.
O, Bright Star, you shine so near and yet so far.
How few know who you are.
Fewer still try to reach you.
Even fewer become you.
—Hanuman Women’s Choir
The Little Mermaid Lives Today
Saturn was last in Pisces in 1994 into 1996. I was sharing The Little Mermaid story back then for “Welcome to Planet Earth” magazine. As I was writing it, an astrology colleague called to tell me about the following news story which had just aired on a California news show. I tracked it down and got a video copy.
A T.V. news report on CNN, originally aired by KCRA-TV in Sacramento, California, documented the story of a little girl named Desiree, whose father had died suddenly. He always used to read her the Disney tale of “The Little Mermaid.” On his birthday in November following his death, she wanted to send him a note up in heaven. She and her mother went to his gravesite so she could send up into the sky a Little Mermaid balloon. The balloon sailed from Live Oak, California across the entire U.S. and landed on Prince Edward Island, Canada in the community of Mermaid!—4300 miles away!— where it was found by a woodsman. He and his family responded to little girl’s note with a letter and a story book of the Hans Christian Andersen version of “The Little Sea-Maid.” Desiree had never read this version, in which the little mermaid dies and flies up to heaven with her sister angels into the light. It helped her greatly to accept her father’s death, knowing that the Little Mermaid was up there in heaven with him.
Witness here the power of myth,
as these never-ending stories move in our lives and heal us.
The oceans are deep and real.
What magic & miracles will this March 2023-February 2025
transit of Saturn in Pisces bring?