Since the height of sea exploration, humans infused inexplicable oceanic phenomena with tales of superstition. The mermaid is one such creature given a multitude of powers in many legends.
The magical power of these half-human-half-fish beings can help or harm humankind with their magnetic charm and enchanting songs.
What Powers Do Mermaids Have?
Mermaids have the power of the sea. They can manipulate water in all forms, as well as protect whomever they want from water/sea and give others abilities like breathing.
Every inch of the world has some mermaids capable of various supernatural deeds.
Which Mermaids Have Powers? | Places Of Origin
Ancient Greece, Rome, and other cultures surrounding the Mediterranean are a major source of information about mermaids, especially with Sirens and Water Nymphs.
Sirens are infamous for invoking fog, storms and creating general havoc for passing sailors. They are telepathic, have enchanting voices, and can foretell death. They once had feathers but became mermaids after losing a singing competition against the muses.
Water Nymphs are water protectors who live for thousands of years and come in three types:
- Nereides are some of the most beautiful nymphs and can have either tails or legs, determined by their watery location. Friendly and helpful, they help sailors and children.
- Naiades protect flowing freshwater near cities and large communities. They have long, streaming hair with perfect nude bodies to inspire writers, grant fertility and heal ailments. They can nurture and protect or inflict drought and flood. They live as long as their home remains but, if water runs low, their strength slips away and they can die.
- Oceanides are ocean nymphs with the highest merfolk population. They guard the ocean’s depths and are often wives or lovers of male deities. They give protection and compassion to sailors.
The British Isles
Selkies are infamous shapeshifters, turning from seals into humans and living in all Britain and Iceland. To become human, they strip off and hide their sealskin. If someone steals the skin, the Selkie must endure enslavement.
The Irish and Welsh have the Marrows or Murgas, respectively. They have seaweed hair, webbed fingers, and red caps that enable their swimming ability.
They sing sailors into a trance to take them to the Marrows’ underwater home. It’s unclear whether these sailors die or if the enchantment keeps them alive.
Another Irish mermaid is the Morgens. They are malevolent water spirits who drown fishermen and sailors. Morgens cultivate underwater gardens and cause tumultuous flooding.
They’re comparable to Sirens, beautiful and sitting by the water, brushing their hair to seduce victims with their mesmerizing song.
The Ceasing (“kee-ask”), is a Scottish “maid of the waves” with a salmon tail, bringing fortune or death. They grant three wishes to captors but if the mermaid falls in love, they shapeshift into humans and give their spouses lifelong luck.
But if a Ceasg is angry, death will result. If they choose human form, they die but if they live in an object, like a seashell, they live forever.
Scotland has another but rare mermaid, called Kelpies. They live in any watery abode and are human-like as mermaids, but can change into various plants and animals, like seaweed and horses. They always avoid humans.
Undines, or Ondines, live in freshwater spots all over Europe. They’re very beautiful with golden hair, long tails, and green eyes. They protect waterways from pollution, pesticides, chemicals, and poison from industrial waste and sewage. Undines control changes in climate and tides.
They don’t have souls but can gain one through human marriage. So, they attract men with their sweet voices in the hopes of ensnaring a husband. If the man is unfaithful, he dies and she loses her soul.
Finfolk is mermaids from Norway, Finland, Sweden, and other Nordic areas. They spend their summers in the Orkney Islands and shapeshift into animals or plants to capture humans. Unlike other mermaids, their captured become slaves or spouses. Otherwise, they’re found in the depths of the sea at a palace called Finfolkaheem. They’re greedy for sparkly treasures like jewelry and coins.
The Rusalka are ghosts of Russian girls who suffered a violent death and life at the bottom of lakes and rivers. They lure children and men into death by trapping them with their long, luscious hair.
The Caribbean and South America
As caretakers of all oceanic life, Sirena Chilotas is helpful and caring. They’re gorgeous and youthful vegans, with golden hair, large fins, and strong tails.
Sirena Chilotas rescued drowned sailors, restore health and bring them to dry land. If the sailors die, they’re taken to El Caleuche, a ghostship for the dead.
Disowned and banished by their Caribbean communities, Aicaya mermaids seek those like them, so they don’t feel alone. All are different with varying powers, but they are very compassionate and accepting.
The Amazon River
Pink, dolphin-like shapeshifters, called Encantado, live in the Amazon River. They control storms, insanity, death, and illness. At nighttime, they become well-dressed wealthy young women skilled at music and dance.
They enchant married men for a night of lovemaking. They return the following year for one week. On the seventh night, the man turns into a baby and the Encantado transfers the baby to his wife’s womb.
Iara is another mermaid from the Amazon. They love music and design instruments.
These were once great warriors. They sit on rocks, combing their long hair to lure men with their beauty and song.
They’re irresistible and men follow them to their doom. If Iara falls in love, they are attentive to the man, but most Iara means to kill all men they encounter.
In Japan, the seductive and beautiful, Ningyo cast curses, have terrifying tempers, and cause devastating earthquakes.
The African Mami Wata give luck and fortune stemming from their sexuality, beauty, and fertility.
In New Zealand, Marakihaus appear human with dark skin, kelp-like hair, and a translucent, dark tail.
Mermaid’s legends are as old as humankind and as vast as the depths of the sea. They are often helpful and compassionate, with the power to give blessings.
But they can be the stuff of the worst nightmares, with the power of luring people to their deaths.
Also Read: What Do Mermaids Eat?