Skip to main content

Strange Mythological Blue Men of the Hebrides



Strange Mythological Blue Men of the Hebrides  Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavour Fiona Malkin @ringnetter


From - Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavour

Mythological Blue Men of the Hebrides


"The “charmed Islands” of the Hebrides that lie off Scotland’s west coast have their share of myth and legend; the myth of the Blue Men evolved from ancient Greek mythology. They are the sons of Glaukos Pontius, Blue Man of the sea, and are collectively known as Glaukidai.

The Scottish Blue Men migrated to Ireland from the Mediterranean and are said to live in caves under the Minch. If a sailor saw a Blue Man he could be sure that a storm was to follow. They are reputed to have attacked ships or sailors who had been unkind to Selkies (seal people) or other sea folk. Engaging the chieftain in rhyme could avert their anger; if the wit and rhyme was deemed impressive enough, the boat and its crew would be left alone.

Boats often sailed round the Shiant Isles, which lie to the east of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, to avoid the “stream of the Blue Men” or “the current of destruction”.

Seeing these words on the page, the Glaukidai seem mysterious and fantastical and a long way off, but out on the sea where all our rules change, I wonder if they have a stronger reality.

Further Mythology

It is interesting to note that a mention of “Pontus” in the epic poem, Argonautica, by Apollonius Rhodius, may be the same Glaukos Pontius mentioned in reference to the Blue Men above. I have read that Pontius is sometimes portrayed as a member of the Argon’s crew, who helped her through many fearful predicaments. In this version of the poem however Pontus is seen in the volatile sea, perhaps stirring up the waves, as more recent legend suggests."

“And now to right and left broad Pontus was seen, when suddenly a
huge wave rose up before them, arched, like a steep rock; and
at the sight they bowed with bended heads. For it seemed
about to leap down upon the ship’s whole length and to overwhelm
them.”

Argonautica 3rd century BC

More Mythological tales of the sea


Popular posts from this blog

Under Starlight

UNDER STARLIGHT

Today Facebook threw up a memory, it was of a post I had written in December 2012.  On a very beautiful night back in the early days when Chris and I were on Shemaron we had the most exceptional time and it gave me much pleasure to remember it - so I have re-posted it...

Somewhere in the world of latitudes and longitudes fifty five degrees north and five degrees west, north but not so far north as Lapland and on the western fringes where the light defilement is minimal we find ourselves on the deck of our boat, it is night, it is dark, and there is a sharpening in the breeze.

In a lonely marina far enough away from all other boats to feel happily desolate we are sitting on deck wrapped in the woolly quiet of the night. All time is thrown open above us in random light, the past the present and the future an unfolding event on the astral plains. We are the smallest speck on the particular meridian that holds us in time and space, we sit afloat bathed in the supernal illume, …

Freedom and a Resurgence of Energy - Shemaron

Freedom and a Resurgence of Energy - Shemaron

It did take a while but eventually my involvement came from myself and not because I was attached to Shemaron through a third party. I loved our trips out on her, I loved watching her move forward to a better state, and I loved the fact that she began to reveal her history. Thankfully, when I looked back on our time in Campbeltown, the long hours spent on the road would fade increasingly into inconsequence in the light of our adventures. When we emerged from the car at the quayside, although we were stiff and sore, we were soothed by the scenery we had come through. It was a changing dynamic, it spun round us, strengthening the thread that pulled us from south to north and back again.
Over the course of these car journeys, we encountered many beautiful and varied scenes. They could be made mysterious by the changing moods of the western weather; the expanse of Loch Fyne for example, could be smooth and sultry, with a colour spectrum anywher…

RE-VISITING DUNADD

The Rowan tree grew precariously on the side on the old Dun, its roots stretching under the fallen stones had found a tenuous hold. It was late September and the bushy branches supported a few clusters of bright red berries. From where I stood on the highest point the sides of the Dun fell steeply down to the ancient valley, where, the river Add meandered its final course before emptying into Loch Crinan. The Vale spread wide below and beyond the river’s reach it ran in a rich verdure towards the sea in one direction and the Moine Mhor Bog in another.





Seaward the valley stretched evenly, beyond the small cup of blue that denoted the ocean the northern tip of Jura lay gray and low beneath the sky. Rising in a gentle rocky fold at the eastern edge of the valley the land began to climb, here pockets of trees grew on the hillside, on the following downward slope a band of green conifer tops spread wide until the land climbed once more. The distant rocky hilltops rose under the moving sha…