Thursday, June 14, 2012

L - Lorelei #paganblogproject

"Lorelei" (or, as I spell it, "Laurelei") was the first nickname I received as a child. It was the stage name I chose for myself as a beginning dancer. It is my pen-name, and many people tell me the name suits me better than my given moniker (Laura). In truth, Lorelei is the name my father wanted to give me at birth, but my mother insisted on the family name instead.

The Lorelei is a variation of the siren or the mermaid. She is a derivation of the ancient Water-Bird Goddesses written of by Marija Gimbutas. She is one of the many water-nymphs or sprites who inhabit a river (and who often personify it).

Her place is the Rhine, at a large rock on the eastern bank of that river near St. Goarshausen. The rock itself is named Lorelei (or Loreley). The name means "murmuring rock" (or possibly "lurking rock"). The heavy currents and the once-flowing waterfall in that area provided the inspiration for the name -- as did the many accidents that occurred in that locale.

The legend of the Lorelei began with the writing of a ballad by Clemens Baranto in 1801 ("Zu Bacharach am Rheine"). The theme was adapted by Heinrich Heine in 1824 in his poem "Die Lorelei" (which has been set to music by many composers, including Franz Liszt). The story does not emerge, as many believe, from a folk tale of that region.

The tale, as it is now told, envisions Lorelei as a beautiful, golden-haired woman brushing her hair atop the rock. So great is her beauty, and so sweet is her song, that sailors are distracted from their vigilance in the dangerous waters and are drowned.

Lorelei has been the inspiration for many poems, songs, and pieces of fine art since her appearance atop the rock. Just a few are listed here:

Sylvia Plath's poem  -- Lorelei
Thomas Bailey Aldrich's poem -- The Lorelei
Kenny Klein's song -- Lorelie
Blackmore's Night's song -- Loreley
Cocteau Twins' song -- Lorelei 
The Pogues' song -- Lorelei

Here is a link to a collection of song lyrics and poems about Lorelei.

And now, my own poem, if I may. This is my interpretation of my namesake -- or my vision of Self as the Lorelei:

The Lorelei -- by Laurelei Black (c) 2009

I am the Flood that drowned Man --
the Sea that swallows and soothes.
From my cup, honey is
poured onto the stone --
and wine
and brine --
and all the Ocean is come unto you,
my Love, my Lover.
I am the raging storm,
the tempest
that rocks the bark
and whips the sails and seamen
to frenzy
before lulling all into watery dreams
of me.
Come, dive into these depths,
be dashed upon my rocks,
and be lost in the waters
of bliss.

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