The Old Mermaids Datebook 2019 Now Available!

The new Old Mermaids Datebook 2019 is here. It is filled with Kim Antieau's beautiful photos and inspiring quotes from the Old Mermaids.

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The Old Mermaids School of Everything & The Old Mermaids Mystery School

Go here for more details on The Old Mermaids School of Everything (TOMSOE).

Go here for more details on The (Second) Old Mermaids Mystery School (TOMMS).

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The Old Mermaids School of Everything is Open for Enrollment!

Magic, mystery, and mermaids: Just what we need to navigate these turbulent times. Toss in beauty and inspiration, and we have The Old Mermaids School of Everything beginning February 1, 2019.

When the Old Sea dried up and the Old Mermaids found themselves in the New Desert, they had to quickly figure out how to live in a new world. They exchanged their finware for skinware and learned a few things along the way. Now they bring their wisdom and knowledge to you in The Old Mermaids School of Everything, a year-long, four-course exploration of creativity, folkways, healing, dreams, and magic with 13 teachings from each school. The teachings of the Old Mermaids help us imagine and build a new world.

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The Old Mermaids Mystery School

The Old Mermaid Mystery School Begins February 1st, 2019.

Are you feeling overloaded? Surrounded by chaos? Or maybe you’re no longer sure what your purpose is. Perhaps you’ve never known. Perhaps every once in a while you hear a whisper or a heartbeat—something—and you’re certain there is more to...everything. Maybe you’ve heard of the Church of the Old Mermaids and the Old Mermaids Sanctuary and you wonder if you could find refuge with the Old Mermaids and learn their ways.

You can.

Now their unique, practical, mystical, and poetic ways of being in and connecting with the world have been codified into The Old Mermaids Mystery School, a 13-month self-directed program to help you explore ways to swim, walk, and dance with beauty, joy, and authenticity through all the days and nights of your life. 

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The Old Mermaids Oracle

The Old Mermaids Oracle guidebook which was originally only available to novices of The Old Mermaids Mystery School is now available to all. This small guidebook is for your use once you make your own set of oracles. Or you can use the book itself as the oracle by asking a question and flipping the pages until you stop on an Old Mermaid entry.

You can easily make your own set for your use, but if you want me to make a set for you or someone else, I will gladly do that. I will choose the materials—usually shell, but I can use gemstones or river stones if you prefer. I will make a set just for you (or someone else). Contact me for prices for 1-5. If you don't want to pay by paypal/credit card, contact me. kim at kimantieau dot com.

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Church of the Old Mermaids is Now an Audiobook!

The wonderful Elinor Bell narrates Church of the Old Mermaid in the new audio book. Take a listen. She does a fabulous job with this favorite book of so many of my readers. 

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New Cover for COTOM!

We spruced up the "classic" cover of Church of the Old Mermaids. Same novel you all love, just a more readable cover. Enjoy!

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Glitter from the Old Sea

Sometimes Grandpa and I would sit in the plaza watching the people go by. He’d nod to this woman or that man and say something like, “I bet she’s from the Old Sea. You can tell by the glitter in her hair.” Or, “He’s definitely from the Old Sea. I hear bells when he walked by. Did you hear them?” —The Blue Tail

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Mugwort and Mermaids

Last week, I harvested my mugwort. I was humming when I started, but soon I began to sing. I continued singing until I was finished. Yesterday when I walked to the raised bed the mugwort shares with comfrey, meadowsweet, black cohosh, and lady’s mantle, the mugwort told me it was time to harvest. I felt holy as I harvested. Ancient. Doing what witches and other wise women have been doing for all time. 

I have only been growing mugwort for a few years. I planted it when I decided I wanted Druid herbs in my medicinal herb garden. I didn’t want to eat them or medicate myself with them: I wanted to be in their presence. Mugwort was one of the plants that called to me when I visited Mostly Medicinals in Portland, a local herb grower. The proprietor warned me that mugwort could take over and I should be careful with it. I took her admonition to heart. Every year I’ve cut the mugwort before it has gone to seed. Including this year.

Before I harvested the mugwort, I regularly went out and hugged them. And when the neighbor children came over and we walked around my yard, the little girl hugged the mugwort without any prompting from me. When I meditated, sitting next to the mugwort, wise women emerged to share laughter and secrets with me. I always feel as though I’m near power when I am close to the mugwort. I feel as though I am with my elders and I had better pay close attention.

Mugwort is a common European plant that was called the mother of all plants for some time. It was one of the plants in the nine-herb charm of the Anglo-Saxons. It’s genus is Artemisia (think Artemis), and it’s been used all over the world as medicine and food. Pharmacologically mugwort is an aromatic bitter (helps digestion and nutrition), and many herbalists considered it the go-to herb for all kinds of women’s complaints. The moxa used in Chinese medicine is mugwort. Matthew Wood says that constitutionally, highly intelligent, gifted, and artistic people benefit the most from mugwort.

In times past (maybe still?) people apparently put it in their shoes or carried it around their waist when traveling to relieve fatigue and to protect them from wild beasts and evil spirits. It was also considered a power plant and was used by shamans and other healers alike to smudge and clear people and places. And regular folk have been using it in dream pillows to help incubate dreams for a long while.

I read in several sources that mugwort was considered a fairy herb, particularly because of its ability to relieve fatigue (tiredness is often associated with fairy mischief). I was surprised to learn that mugwort was also associated with mermaids. In fact, some sources said mermaids actually gave mugwort to humans. I tried to track down the origin of this particular association. It may have started with a Scottish folktale about a mermaid who called out to the villagers when she learned a young girl was dying. She insisted they give the girl mugwort. The villagers did as the mermaid instructed, and the girl survived.

That was about all I could find. Beyond that, I’m not sure why—in folklore terms—mugwort and mermaids are associated. Perhaps it is because mugwort is considered a “female herb” or maybe it is because mugwort has been used to help people dream; after all, the dream world is a kind of oceanic realm. In Church of the Old Mermaids, Myla has her first encounter with the Old Mermaids via a dream.

It must go deeper (or differently) than that, but I haven’t found anything else that explains this link between mugwort and mermaids, and I haven’t had any lightbulb moments of insight about it. Perhaps after reading this you’ll have some dreamy ideas on why mermaids supposedly gave mugwort to land-loving humans.

Let me know if you do. In the meantime, I’ll put some mugwort under my pillow. Perhaps I’ll dream an answer.

(19th century illustration of mugwort.)

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“Old Mermaid Sanctuaries are places where beauty, love, and magic still hold sway, where old is beautiful and young is becoming.”  —The Blue Tail

(This quote can be found along with 364 other Old Mermaids quotes in The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights.)

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The Enchanted Ones

Mermaids are essentially shapeshifters: one of those ancient shamanic beings who turn up in fairy tales and myths all over the world. Like the swan maidens and the selkie, mermaids sometimes stay on shore in the form of whole women, becoming fish wives eventually, often tricked by fishermen who have stolen their discarded tails.

It never ends well. The mermaids are never happy, and the husbands are often haunted. And the children—well, their children eventually lose their mothers to the sea and their fathers to the drink. 

The Gaelic merrow can be enticed to permanent shore life if her magical red cap is lost or stolen. Without it, she cannot safely return to the sea. Without it, she is at the mercy of the person who took it. In my book The Fish Wife, Sara O’Broin’s life is nearly destroyed when Cormac MacDougal steals her red cap. She should have never let it out of her sight, but what can one do when the Wind decides to step in to change fate—or to hurry it along?

Mermaids and sea women of all sorts usually live happily in beautiful palaces beneath the waves. It’s often a puzzle why they ever come to shore or why humans interest them at all. Something about looking for love in all the wrong places?

In Brazilian myth, a kind of fairyland exists beneath the surface of the mighty Amazon River where the Encantados reside. (Encantado literally means “enchanted one;” in this case, we’re referring to the Encantados who are the Botos, the pink dolphins of the Amazon River.) The Encantados live in the Encante much like the people do who live above the surface of the water, only the Encantados are happy, healthy, and very rich. 

The Encantados leave their amazing lives in the river to party and make love with humans, shapeshifting from human-like Encantados to pink dolphins to humans and then back again. They dress very well when they leave the waters, often wearing white suits, and they are either white-skinned or very pale. Once ashore, they will mate with humans—that’s often their goal—and children can result from these trysts.

These powerful beings can also enchant and kidnap humans and take them down below to Encante. Even today, some Amazonians don’t go near the water at dawn and dusk—those in-between times when faeries the world over make mischief or magic. Humans can spot the Encantados by their blowholes. When they come ashore all decked out in their stylish suits, they most often wear a hat to cover the Boto blowhole. Trick the hat off an Encantado and you’ll be able to see whether he or she is fully human or not. 

In many of the European stories of mermaids, the mer women are virtually stripped of power—except the power to lure men to their deaths. They’ve become sirens of horror rather than maintaining their stature as powerful life- and death-giving fish goddesses. The shapeshifting Encantados have remained powerful. Maybe they were never gods and goddesses, so they didn’t need to fall from grace. After all, they’re almost like us ordinary people, only healthier, better dressed, better looking, and richer. 

I love the stories of the Encantados and the Encante. The Boto Encantados inspired my story Seeing Pink. I like imagining Amazonian faeries. I can see them dressed up all in white—or maybe all in pink—dancing on a 
houseboat, looking for (and finding) love in all the wrong worlds.

("The Encante," by Ray Troll. Used with permission; all rights belong to Mr. Troll. Click on painting to see it bigger.) 

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Siren Soup

Sister Ruby Rosarita Mermaid decided to make a pot of chili out of the anasazi and pinto beans she had got­ten from the Old Man who lived with the Old Woman in the mountains. She talked to the beans all the while she cooked. She always talked to the food. “Beans, beans, we’re Mermaid Queens. Make this stew a healing brew.” —Church of the Old Mermaids 

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Sea Women

I write about mermaids. Not little mermaids. Not those over-sexed depictions of mermaids we see everywhere, with their breasts pointing to the sky and their backs arched like some kind of wannabe Playboy mer-bunny. No. My mermaids are old mermaids. Ancient. They are creators and destroyers, poets and dreamers, artists and musicians, cooks and gardeners, mystics and conjurers, leaders and mediators, witches and sorcerers. They are sirens, calling us to our true wild selves. They are oceanic and powerful, not mere maids, but goddesses all. 

I came to mermaids not as a child but as a grown woman. As a young girl, I wasn’t interested in anything frilly or girlie. At least not that I can remember. I played with trains and printing presses. I wrote stories and books and created an imaginary world where girls and women ruled and had magical powers. Any depictions I saw of mermaids made me think they were powerless, so I wasn’t interested.

Later as an adult, I studied goddess mythology and came across fish-tailed goddesses, but I didn’t relate them to the European notion of mermaids who supposedly lured men to their deaths. Then one winter, I was sitting at my annual writing retreat in Arizona when thirteen women calling themselves Old Mermaids walked out of the Old Sea and into my life. They begin whispering stories to me, so I began writing the novel Church of the Old Mermaids.

I was baffled but interested when these mermaids appeared in my imagination, so I started doing research on mermaids. I learned that one of the first depictions of a goddess was the Syrian fish-goddess Atargatis (who was also known later as Aphrodite). In fact, many cultures had stories of ancient fish-tailed goddesses and myths and legends of mermaid-like creatures belonging to seas, oceans, and lakes. It seemed the modern mermaid was a transformation of the ancient goddess from a powerful creatrix of all life to a kind of fish-tailed Barbie.

During this time, I saw a painting of Yemaya rising out of the ocean—her skin black and her tail bright blue—and I was filled with awe. I could almost hear her head breaking the surface of the water as she rose, could almost feel the drops of ocean and sense the sea shiver as she made Herself visible. I understood then, fully, the power of the symbol of woman as part fish. She was the ocean and she was woman. She was all powerful—the birthplace of life.

Mermaids are ubiquitous these days. Young adult novels are swimming with mermaids. Depictions of them are all over the internet. Is this commercialization of mermaids watering down their power? Or have their powers already diminished over time? After all, most of us have either forgotten or never knew their genesis as fish-tailed goddesses of birth and death. 

My 7-year-old neighbor likes mermaids. The other day she brought over one of her favorite books about a Barbie mermaid, along with several small Barbie-like mermaid dolls. They looked alike, all very thin with bigger breasts than a real woman that thin would actually have. Nothing powerful or goddess-like about these creatures. They struck me as the latest doll form of woman as a kind of monoculture.

Despite the Barbie-ization of mermaids, I wondered why these particular mythological creatures had suddenly become so popular. It could just be the whim of culture or some form of commercialization? 

Then why did they show up to me eight winters ago, before this present mermaid craze? They came into my imagination and I wrote about them. And I keep writing about them. I’ve never written about the same characters or the same world before. Since Church of the Old Mermaids, I wrote a kind of prequel to it, The Fish Wife. And the Old Mermaids are supporting characters in The Desert Siren and The Blue Tail. I’ve put together a book of quotes (mostly culled from the Old Mermaids books) called The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Night. And I have many other Old Mermaids novel in mind. 

Why now? Mermaids come from the watery realms. Carl Jung and others might say they represent the feminine—maybe even the submerged feminine. Perhaps it’s more literal than that. Could it be they’ve stepped out of the Imaginal Realms to remind us that we are the blue planet, the water planet, and our waterways are in trouble? Without clean oceans and rivers, we die, along with most other creatures on this planet. As climate change wreaks havoc on our weather systems and drives water temperatures dangerously high, is it any wonder that a creature from the watery depths rises up and cries, “Answer the call to the wild! It is time. Wake up, now. Wake up!”

Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, Sasquatch is part of the local legends. You don’t have to go far before you find someone who has a story about seeing or almost seeing Bigfoot. But according to some Native American beliefs, Sasquatch only shows up when life is out of balance: You do not want to see a Bigfoot because it means things are either going bad or about to go bad.

Maybe mermaids—in my case, Old Mermaids—are appearing to warn us or to show us that life is out of balance.

I know that sounds like a stretch. One could ask, why are vampires so popular then? What message from the collective psyche do they bring? I really don’t know. But I do believe stories are important. I believe storytellers are voices for the planet: We speak for the planet and all her creatuares. Some stories—maybe all?—come to us from the Imaginal Realms for some reason: to teach, enlighten, warn, encourage. 

When I was 19 years old, I tried to kill myself. I didn’t want to die, but I wanted the awful emotional pain to stop. Afterward, I moved out of the house I shared with three other women and into a tiny attic apartment. For weeks (maybe even a year), I barely said a word to anyone—beyond what was necessary to get through the day since I was working and going to school full time. One night I dreamed about a watery nymph. I remember thinking she was a naiad even though I didn’t actually know what a naiad was. She had water and seaweed running up and down her very white body. She had big soulful eyes. In the dream, we made love all night long. It was a profound healing. When I awoke the next morning, I began to recover and I knew I would survive. Years later, I realized she was probably my first encounter with the Old Mermaids.

Mermaids next appeared to me eight winters ago, just two months before I had two surgeries (when I wrote Church of the Old Mermaids), and they haven’t left me since. I’ve felt like their appearance in my life has been tantamount to a miracle. 

Can they be more than that? Are their appearances or re-appearances on this planet a siren call to us all? Can the stories about them be more than escapist fiction? Can the mermaids—and Old Mermaids in particular—help us uncover or compose our own siren songs—that part of us that is true and valiant and able. 

I hope so. I hope we can finally and forever be full of our powerful true wild oceanic selves—we can be sea women and men—ready to ride the waves of our lives and fix that which is broken and heal that which is sick. 

After all, we are creators and destroyers, poets and dreamers, artists and musicians, cooks and gardeners, mystics and conjurers, leaders and mediators, witches and sorcerers. It is time to awaken and heal ourselves and the world.

(Artwork in public domain, from 1880s poster of a snake charmer; used now as common depiction of Mami Wata, water goddess of the African diaspora.)

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Sea Maidens

“I was in love once,” Murphy said, “when I was too young to know better. I was working in the Sea of Cortez and our ship went aground. We went to land for a time. I wandered around just as you have been and I met one of the local girls. She was beautiful. But it was more than that. Something about her eyes and the way she was in the world. I can’t explain it. I loved her the moment I saw her. How does anyone explain these things? I didn’t see her often. She would come and be with me and then disappear for days at a time. So one day I followed her.”
“Without her knowing?”
“Without her knowing,” he said. “I lost sight of her for a moment and then I saw her swimming away from shore. I stayed there, waiting for her for a long time, but she didn’t come back. I fell to sleep. When I woke up, I saw her and her sisters on the beach up a ways from me. I got closer to them, without them seeing. They were naked, you understand, so it was only natural I’d want to see more of them.”
Sara laughed.
“In the sand I saw their clothes,” he said. “At least that’s what I thought they were. They were shiny and glittery. Like nothing I had seen up to then—and only once since. When the women had their backs to me, I grabbed the cloth that was nearest my lady love. This gave me away. The other women cried out and grabbed their dresses. Only they weren’t dresses. They wrapped them around their waists, and I can’t be certain, luv, but it seemed I saw a flash of tails as they each dove into the water. Every one of them except my love. I knew the stories of the red cap. I knew about the sealskin women. I knew that if I kept a hold of this beautiful thing I held in my hands, my love would be mine forever.”
Sara looked over at him. 
He nodded. “Yes, I knew what would happen. I wanted her so much, Sara. I thought my life depended upon her being a part of my life.”
“What did you do, O’Murphy?”
“She held out her hand to me,” Murphy said. “And I returned to her what was hers. She kissed me. Then she bent over and picked up the most beautiful shell I’ve ever seen—tiny and shaped in a spiral—and she said, ‘You know what this means, don’t you?’ I shook my head. She pressed the seashell into my hand. ‘Whenever you find a seashell it means a mermaid has found her tail and is free again.’ And then she dove back to the sea and swam away. I never saw her again.”

Artwork: "Sea Maidens" by Evelyn de Morgan (1885)

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River Maiden

River maidens stared up at Sara from their watery homes. When Juan stood beside her and saw them, too, she knew he was a kindred spirit.

She said, “You can always tell a river maiden from a human woman. If some piece of a woman’s clothing is almost always wet, then she is most likely born of the sea or the river or the lake.”

Juan touched her sleeve. His fingers came away wet. “You mean like this?” he asked.

“Aye,” she answered. —The Fish Wife

Artwork: "A Mermaid" (1901) by John William Waterhouse.

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Skein of things

From The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights: Lily handed Myla her ball of thread. “You keep it,” Lily said. “I might lose it. Or a cactus faery might snatch it from me. Or a coyote might sing a song I really like so I’d give it to him in thanks. Or a hummingbird might want to use it in her nest. Or a spider might decide it wants a web made out of red hair. You never know."—An Old Mermaid Sanctuary

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For today’s date from The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights: Sara liked the desert immediately. It was familiar in a way she did not quite understand. The silence throbbed in her ears like a distant ocean. In the forests and on the plains they had crossed, Sara had heard and sometimes seen coyotes, but the ones in this desert were different from those. These ones were leaner, more curious. They stopped and watched Sara and the others, seemed to be contemplating whether they wanted to stay and chat for a while. —The Fish Wife

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From The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights for today: Sara began dreaming again. This time she was swimming in the auld sea as it dried up and she walked up into the new desert, near the Old Mermaid Sanctuary. Her children were running around the patio. The house was full of people. They laughed and sang and worked and played. And the cacti, palo verde, and mesquite moved and danced slowly to music only they could hear. Two desert faeries sat in the sand drinking tea. They looked up at her and invited Sara for a “spot a tea.” Her girls called to her and she went running into their arms. —The Fish Wife

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From The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights for today: “I had that dream again the other night,” Myla said. “Where I’m in the Old Mermaid Chapel and the desert is singing to me.” —An Old Mermaid Sanctuary

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From The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights: “I’m not going away, Lily my Lily,” Myla said. “And even if I did, even when I’m gone, the Old Mermaids are with you. They’re in your heart. And mostly, they’re in the stories.” —An Old Mermaid Sanctuary

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What Is Unseen

For today's date from The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights:  Some bird Butch couldn’t see and whose song she didn’t recognize called out from the madrone. Butch smiled. Everything was so bright and clear. The small white flowers on this madrone looked like bells, and she was pretty certain she could hear them ringing. Butch: A Bent Western  

(This isn’t a photo of a madrone tree, but it’s so evocative, and it puts me in mind of Butch. I took this photo along a stream in Sedona.)

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This is the Place

For today's date from The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights: And so it was that the New Woman came to the Old Mermaids Sanctuary one day. She was standing on one side of the wash one moment; then in the next, she walked across the wash and into the sanctuary. She immediately felt at home. She knew this was the place she needed to be. This was what she had been looking for all of her life. And now she was here. —The Second Book of Old Mermaids Tales

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The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights: A Year and a Day Journal

We love The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights so much that we decided to make a companion for it: a BIG sumptuous luxurious "a year and a day" journal. This 8.5 x 11 book has the same cover as The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights: A Daily Guide to the Magic and Inspiration of the Old Sea, the New Desert, and Beyond, but we've removed the dates so you can put in your own and we've made one journal lined and one unlined; you can use both for journals or use one for a journal and one for sketching or mix and match. A Year and A Day is a traditional period of time set aside for study or initiation: and you can begin any time. We hope you will find these journals inspiring and beautiful. Everyone who has seen it just oohs and ahs over it. This is a perfect place to tell your own story and find your siren song.  unlined • lined

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From The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights for today: "I gift you with the mysteries of the Old Sea." 

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Wild Ride

From The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights for today's date:

Because I'm a writer, I often see the world in metaphor—the land is like our body, the land is a quilt, the land is our mother. But I feel the world in my bones, too. I breathe the world in and out. I take off my shoes and I step on the grass, on the dirt, on the earth, and feel my soles against the soul of the world. I feel the Earth—Nature—beneath my feet like an ocean wave and I know I should grab a surf board and enjoy the wild ride.  —Under the Tucson Moon

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Why Does the Dirt Shine?

“Why does the dirt shine?” Lily asked.

Myla smiled. The Church of the Old Mermaids had no dogma, but Myla did adhere to at least one golden rule: Answer all questions put to her by a five-year-old child with honesty and beauty.

“Well, Lily my Lily,” Myla said, “I can’t be sure, but I think those shiny bits of sand are star dust—at least that’s what Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid told the other Old Mermaids when they first got to the New Desert. They had to sleep in the wash for a while, and Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid told them the sand would keep them warm and give them good dreams because it was made from star dust, shed by the stars the way we shed skin. I’m not sure the Old Mermaids believed her, but they did agree that the star dust was much more comfortable to sleep on than they would have guessed.”
—An Old Mermaid Sanctuary

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The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights

We are so happy, elated, ecstatic, and happy (did I say) to announce the publication of The Old Mermaids Book of Days and Nights! We found 364 quotes—one for every day of the year—from the Old Mermaids novels (and from my other novels) to create this inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes mystical, always mysterious collection. It's available in print or as an e-book. (Here's the kindle version.) Even if you get the e-book, I hope you can get the print book. We just love this book! 
From the cover: Kim Antieau guides you through a year of wisdom, humor, beauty, inspiration, and love in these daily quotes from her own writings featuring the Old Mermaids and some of the other wise and mystical characters from her books and stories. See what gifts Grand Mother Yemaya Mermaid, Sister Laughs A Lot Mermaid, Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid, Sister Sheila Na Giggle Mermaid, and others have to share with you all year long. (Cover art by Nancy Norman.) You can read FAQ and some excerpts here.

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First Book of Old Mermaids Tales

Green Snake Publishing has published another book in the Old Mermaids' universe. This beautiful little book is perfect to take with you anywhere to look at and read when you need some words of wisdom from the Old Mermaid Sanctuary. This is from the cover copy:

The Old Mermaids left the disappearing Old Sea and stepped onto the New Desert where they exchanged their finware for skinware. With barely a backward glance, the mysterious and mystical Old Mermaids began building their sanctuary from earth, water, straw, and their own breath.

These standalone tales, many excerpts from the novels Church of the Old Mermaids and An Old Mermaid Sanctuary, remind us of the beauty all around us, even on those days when we wonder how we’ll survive, let alone thrive. Sister Ruby Rosarita Mermaid brews a magical storytelling soup to bring peace. A mysterious stranger brings the Old Mermaids an elixir which is supposed to heal all. And then there’s the Tea Shell where the Old Mermaids serve the most marvelous teas, and Sister Sophia Mermaid dispenses bits of wisdom like, “Never try to stop a wave,” “A watched pot eventually boils,” and “This is not the end of the world, it just feels like it.” Despite having lost their home and community, the Old Mermaids support one another, love their new world, and build community with all their new human and nonhuman neighbors. You can be assured when you stop by the Tea Shell for a cup of Essence of Coyote Laughter Tea that no coyotes were harmed in the making of your brew. printkindlenooksmashwords

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The Fish Wife: an Old Mermaids Novel

I am very pleased to announce the publication of my new novel, The Fish Wife: an Old Mermaids Novel. Like Church of the Old Mermaids and The Blue Tail, The Fish Wife takes place in the Old Mermaids universe where great magic and great heartbreak is possible. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I loved writing it. This is from the back cover:

The women got closer to the water or the water got closer to them. In the semi-darkness, a wave of light filtered through the storm, and the beach shuddered and shimmered. Suddenly Sara saw the women for what they truly were, saw their tails gleam and glimmer, and she looked down and saw her own true self. A gust of wind unsteadied her and snatched her cap from her head. She broke from the line of sea women and tried to run after her hat; only she couldn’t run at first, so she shook off the part of her that was of the sea, as though it was a skirt she no longer needed. She saw the red of the cap bouncing down the beach and she ran after it. She couldn’t lose the hat, especially not minutes after her mother entrusted it to her. Someone grabbed her arm and pulled her away from the roar of the ocean. “I have your red cap,” the man said. “I know what that means.”

An ancient Irish curse holds Sara in its grip: Cormac MacDougal steals her red cap which means she must become his fish wife or she and her unborn child will die. One night she can bear her life no longer, and she seeks out her true love, Ian McLaughlin. When she finds him in the arms of her sister, she calls on the forces of nature to destroy all that she loves. She flees the village with Cormac before anyone discovers the truth. She risks everything on a perilous ocean journey away from the only home she has ever known. She struggles to remember the old ways, to conjure up the magic of her ancient mer ancestors. She washes up on the shore of a new world where she encounters the goddess Yemaya, a Vodou priestess, a shapeshifting lord of the manor, and the Old Mermaids. In this strange and beautiful realm, Sara works to build a new life. But has she outrun the curse, or will it finally be her undoing? printkindlenooksmashwords

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The Blue Tail

I am thrilled to announce the publication of my new novel The Blue Tail. Old Mermaids a-fish-ionados will love this new book. (Sorry, the Old Mermaids bring the cornball humor out in me.)

(By the way, Green Snake Publishing has reduced the price of all print editions of my novels published by GSP through January 2012, including Church of the Old Mermaids.)

Here's the cover blurb for The Blue Tail:

Serena Blue has heard stories of the Old Mermaids all of her life, and she’s tired of them and her mother’s eccentric life in Santa Fe. She struggles to find her own identity after her boyfriend Stephen beats her. Serena travels to Oregon with her mother and her grandmother where she meets Annie and Freeman who comb the beaches looking for signs of the Old Mermaids. Serena learns that her grandmother believes she was once a mermaid before Serena’s grandfather forced her to marry him; now she longs to go back to the sea. When Serena discovers her grandmother was once in a mental institution after drowning her baby son, Serena is sure her grandmother is still crazy. Family secrets begin to unravel, and Serena isn’t sure what is reality and what is delusion. When Stephen follows Serena to Oregon, she has to decide if she will embrace her true wild self or return to her old life. Can she choose herself over her boyfriend before it’s too late?


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An Old Mermaid Journal

An affordable and bound version of An Old Mermaid Journal is now available. Here's the description from the Amazon page: "This journal may or may not be based on the original journal of one or more of the Old Mermaids living in the Old Mermaids Sanctuary. The legend goes that whatever anyone draws or writes on these pages brings healing, joy, and magic into the world and into the life of the person who owns the journal. This journal has blank and lined pages and quotes from Church of the Old Mermaids, a novel by Kim Antieau." I love using these journals myself! (We're trying to figure out how to provide this journal to those of you who want to download it and print it off yourself. We'll get back to you on that.)

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Gone Fishin'

As you've no doubt noticed, I haven't been posting here much. The Old Mermaids are a part of my life more than ever, but I'm limiting my time online, so I'm going to be hanging out the gone fishing sign here. I will post here sometimes when a new book comes out about the Old Mermaids. Otherwise, you can find me on my website. I will keep the site open, but the comments closed, so you can dip in and out sometimes.

Blessed sea!

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Church of the Old Mermaids, the book

Church of the Old Mermaids is now available at smashwords, kindle, and nook. This means you can download it to your computer, ipad, kindle, etc. Plus you can still get it in the print version. Green Snake Publishing corrected a couple typos and smoothed out the design so that it reads better on kindle & elsewhere. Good to know the Old Mermaids are swimming everywhere now!

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In Beauty Still

In Beauty all around we walk.
In Beauty all around we dance.
In Beauty all around we dream.
In Beauty all around we swim.
It is so, it is so, it is so.

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"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." —R. Buckminster Fuller

When Grand Mother Yemaya heard this quote, she said, "This is exactly what the Old Mermaids did when we created the Old Mermaids Santuary. I wonder if Mr. Fuller visited the Sanctuary?"

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The Old Mermaids Elixir

This is from my novel The Old Mermaids Sanctuary. Myla has set up her table—the Church of the Old Mermaids—in front of Antigone Books in Tucson on another Saturday. A woman walks over and picks up a clear glass bottle...

“What is this?” the woman asked. Lily leaned against Myla and watched the woman.

“Well, I can’t be sure," Myla said, "but I believe that is the bottle that once contained the Old Mermaids Elixir, only it wasn’t called that at first. A traveling salesman stopped by the Old Mermaids Sanctuary for a time. He had a big old colorful wagon drawn by two old horses. One was black, the other was white. The black one had a white spot on her forehead. The white one had a black spot on his forehead. The Old Mermaids Sanctuary neighbors came from all around to meet the horses and the salesman. His name was Grandy, I believe, and the horses were Black Beauty and White Wonder. You figure out which was which.”

Lily giggled.

“Anyway, Grandy had all kinds of things to sell,” Myla said. “Grandy was just as you would imagine. He’d stand by his wagon and call out, ‘Hear ye, hear ye! I’ve got what you need! I can heal your wounds, sooth your soul, fill your wallet—all without emptying it first.'

"The Old Mermaids appreciated his showmanship, and they let him stay at the Old Mermaids Sanctuary. They liked watching him because it was like going to a show, but they didn’t buy anything from him. He told everyone exactly what was in each of his bottles, so they could decide whether what he was saying was true or not. But Sister Faye Mermaid and Sister Bridget Mermaid knew how to create their own concoctions and weave their own enchantments, and they thought most of what he was selling was sugar water. They kept an eye on him to make certain he wasn’t causing any harm to their neighbors. They liked listening to his stories, and he enjoyed eating their food and watching Sissy Maggie Mermaid walk around half-dressed the way she did.

“Just before he packed up to leave, he told the Old Mermaids he had a present for them. ‘It was given to me by an Old Merman sitting on the edge of the Old Sea,' Grandy said. He held out a clear glass bottle filled with liquid. 'He told me that one day I would know who it was for. He said it would help them find their tails again, so they could come home. I didn’t know what he was talking about then, but I’m thinking maybe he was talking about you all.’

Grand Mother Yemaya Mermaid took the bottle from him. On the label a mermaid swam alongside the words ‘Mermaid Elixir.’ In tiny letters below that it read ‘Put one drop in your bathtub as needed.’

"Grand Mother Yemaya Mermaid said, ‘The Old Merman put this label on here?’

"Grandy smiled. ‘No, Grand Mother,’ he said. ‘I wrote up what he told me. I don’t know what will happen when you use it, but it is yours to try and see.’

“Then Grandy made his farewells. The Old Mermaids hugged and kissed Black Beauty and White Wonder good-bye, and the wagon pulled away and soon disappeared in the dust. The Old Mermaids stood around looking at the bottle. They passed it from hand to hand, from Old Mermaid to Old Mermaid. Finally they opened it and smelled it. They did everything but drink it.

"‘It can’t be real,’ Sister Bea Wilder Mermaid said. ‘Why not?’ Sister Laughs A Lot Mermaid asked. ‘Because an Old Merman isn’t going to give Grandy something like that,’ Sister Ursula Divine Mermaid said. ‘And I never heard of such a thing when we were in the Old Sea,’ Sister Bridget Mermaid said. ‘These are new times,’ Sister Lyra Musica Mermaid said. 'And we didn't need it when we were in the Old Sea.'

“Sister DeeDee Lightful Mermaid said, ‘Maybe this is providence. Maybe the Invisibles are trying to help us get back home.’ The Old Mermaids looked around at each other. Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid said, ‘We are home, Sister Mermaids. The Old Sea is gone, at least the Old Sea as we knew it. What would we do if we went back to the way we were? There is no place here for us as we were.’

“The Old Mermaids stood quietly under the summer sun and thought about what Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid said. Finally Sister Sophia Mermaid said, ‘What Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid has told us is very wise. We should listen to her.’

"The other Old Mermaids agreed, although Sister DeeDee Lightful Mermaid hesitated. Even though they had been in the New Desert for some time, Sister DeeDee still felt as though she hadn’t quite gotten her land legs. The other Old Mermaids went about their days, and Sister DeeDee Lightful Mermaid held onto the Mermaid Elixir for a while. Every once in a while she’d take off the top and dab a drop of it on her wrists. Nothing happened, but she kept doing it anyway. She would close her eyes and remember what it had been like in the Old Sea.

“One hot day when the Old Mermaids sought refuge from the sun and heat in the pool, Sister DeeDee Lightful Mermaid sat on the edge of the pool with her legs in the water; the open bottle of the Mermaid Elixir was next to her. Most of the other Old Mermaids swam or floated in the water. Sister Bea Wilder Mermaid came up behind Sister DeeDee Lightful Mermaid and tickled her until she fell into the water. Then Sister Bea Wilder Mermaid slipped into the water. She didn’t see the Mermaid Elixir, and you can guess what happened. The entire bottle fell into the pool when Sister Bea accidentally knocked it over. Sister DeeDee Lightful Mermaid shrieked. The other Old Mermaids got very quiet. Sister Faye Mermaid said, ‘Don’t worry. The elixirs of a charlatan rarely work.’

“But something happened that day as this bottle you're holding—at least I think it was this bottle—fell into the pool and its contents mixed with the water in the pool. The Old Mermaids felt a kind of moisture in their beings that they had not felt since they left the Old Sea. I can’t be sure, but the story goes that all the tails of the Old Mermaids became visible again, and the Old Mermaids were creatures of the water again for a time. The sun glinted off the blue, green, red, yellow, black, scarlet, orange, indigo scales of the tails of the Old Mermaids. It wasn't that they went back to what they were exactly. It was more like they recognized that they were still themselves whether they were in the water or the desert. The Old Mermaids were able to swim in the knowledge of their true selves in that pool all day long. And it was a long day that lasted a week, a month, a year, a hundred years.

"Before they got out of the pool that long day, Sister DeeDee Lightful Mermaid swam to the bottom and picked up the Mermaid Elixir bottle which was now filled with pool water or mermaid elixir or both. Some say that the Old Mermaids never had to use the Mermaid Elixir again; whenever they jumped into the pool they became their old selves again. But Sister DeeDee Lightful Mermaid knew others might need help in recognizing their true selves, in finding their own tails—and tales—so she bottled the Old Mermaids Elixir and gave it out to friends and neighbors. She used the bottle of watered-down elixir as the Mother so she’d put a drop or more of the elixir into a bottle of water, put a label on it, and call it the Old Mermaids Elixir.

"Of course, she tried it out before she gave it to anyone. She was no charlatan. Everyone who used it said they saw themselves as they truly were, for good or ill. This truth never came as a surprise to anyone—or maybe it did. But they shouldn't have been surprised: Sister DeeDee Lightful Mermaid had printed right on the label 'know thyself.'

"Time went on and as you know, the Old Mermaids had to leave the Old Mermaids Sanctuary. The story goes that whoever found the original Old Mermaids Elixir bottle could fill it up with ordinary water and it would become a true Old Mermaids Elixir. If you put a couple drops in your bath or in your pool or in your tea, you grow your own mermaid tails, or maybe you'll just discover your true self. Either way it'll be an adventure. You willing to try it? I can almost see your tail now, if I squint. Yep. You'll be swimming in the deep ocean of your true self any minute now."

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Old Mermaids Suggestions

Inspired by Church of the Old Mermaids, Junie Moon has created her own 13 Suggestions plus one. (Photograph by June Scroggin and all rights are reserved.)

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