“It is strange and beautiful that Homer should make the Sirens appeal to the spirit and not to the flesh”Jane Ellen Harrison.
I’m interested in the hybrid form, particularly in the half human and half animal characters that are often featured through Greek mythology. For me the hybrid form symbolises the crazy tug of war between the human conscious and the animal instinct that exists in all of us.
In Greek mythology, the Sirens are creatures with women’s heads, birds feet and feathers. I chose the heron to represent the bird of the other half because of all of the herons that are around my new location in Kinsale. The three singing Sirens, Peisinoe and Thelxepeia and Aglaope were daughters of Earth and their beautiful fatal voices and musical instruments enchanted all who sailed by. Rather then the sound of the melody, what was more important was their words which promised whoever listened wisdom and foreknowledge of all future happenings. The term ‘Siren song’ refers to an interest that is hard to resist but that if heeded will lead to a bad result. If some passer by heard their singing and escaped then the Sirens were fated to die.
They had been sent on a mission and given wings to find there friend Persaphone who had been abducted. Eventually they had to give up the hunt and settled on the island of Sirenum Scopuli where they lured sailors to the destruction on the rocks around the island with their song.
At one point in their time they had a singing competition with the Muses but the Sirens were defeated and lost the power of flight.
Odysseus sailed by their island but ordered his men to plug their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mast no matter how much he would beg them to release him once he heard their song. They passed by without any of their lives taken and the Sirens flung themselves over the cliff and perished.