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The Mermaid Update

Much interesting response to the post last week about whether to wear the pin showing mermaid and merman in an intimate moment. A gentleman from Turkey contacted me privately with a thoughtful argument against wearing it: because things have more spiritual value if they are not public and available.


I gave this some thought. He does have a point. (I would love a comment here about what you think about this.)

Other responders would be happy to wear it themselves. One reader would like a picture of herself wearing it. And several people suggested the appropriate place or occasion when I might consider wearing it. Most imaginative of these was for the gym. (My auto-correct just tried to change gym to hymn…possibly cyberspace is also sending me an opinion.)

What I did: I wore it once. To my writing group and to the regular get-together where I haltingly practice speaking French. No one commented or seemed to notice. Before going home, I asked one person what she thought of my pin. She couldn’t see exactly what it was until she got about a foot away and then didn’t seem to have strong feelings about it.

So I don’t think this pin is going to cause any riots. Not a lot of public outrage.

I did hear some good stories. One great one about Dr. Ruth is posted in the comments by Bill Massey. In case you missed it:

A few years back — when people could afford to fly first class — I was on the same “red eye” from LAX to JFK with Dr. Ruth. She had been to a fundraiser and boarded the plane still in her formal lavender gown. After takeoff, as soon as the captain gave the seatbelt “all clear,” Dr. Ruth stood in the aisle, stripped off her gown down to a slip, put on a sweatsuit, handed her gown to a flight attendant with a gracious request to, “Please hang my gown for me, will you Dear?” and sat back down, as everyone in first class applauded.

So, am I going to wear the pin again? Well, maybe to sing hymns at the gym.


And two other items: Huffington Post has published my piece The Sexy Spirituality of Tattoos. Please have a look if you missed it here on my blog.

And, once upon a time, doing book research in the little English town of Yeovil, I stayed in a very old hotel called The Mermaid, originally a fifteenth century inn for coach travelers. I always hoped I’d have some use for this picture.


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  • June 30, 2015 at 2:03 pm Reply

    I think the kind of things that have more spiritual value when hidden are good deeds and the like. If you are helping someone – don’t broadcast it. I doubt it applies to the wearing of a piece of jewelry – no matter the symbolism of it.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 30, 2015 at 2:42 pm Reply

      I agree. And at the same time, I think some sense of mystery can be lost with repeated daily exposure to sexual images. But I don’t see my mer-people as one of those depleting images. Maybe because it’s small and murky; also because it’s so unusual. For me, water adds mystery.

  • June 30, 2015 at 3:26 pm Reply

    Please thank your Turkish correspondent for triggering and old, old memory of mine. Years ago a locally owned jewelry store near where I lived had a showing and sale of pieces by an old Navaho. The “visible” side of each was attractive, but plain. The work inside the rings and on the “back” sides of the necklaces, earrings, etc. was exquisite. At the time I thought it was rather odd. Through the years I came to understand it. And, more recently, I fully understand and agree with it.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 30, 2015 at 6:56 pm Reply

      Very interesting, Jim. Yet I don’t think I could ever “hide my light” on the back of an earring.

  • Jane Andrews
    July 1, 2015 at 7:11 am Reply

    Peggy, I have a quote from William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell tattoed on my ankle. “Exuberance is beauty.” On my right shoulder I have a griffin adapted from the Book of Kells. A griffin symbolizes many things, including immortality and Christ. My other tattoo is of a honeybee, a creature symbolic of just countless things, including Augustine’s City of God, and female power. Very few people ask me why I’ve chosen these three things to permanently ornament my body. In fact, no one has ever asked about the bee or Blake. I find that surprising, but it doesn’t bother me. I know why they are there. Recently, I discovered my family crest has a motto in Gaelic which translated says, “That which is written, lives.” I’m considering that as the next tattoo.

    • Peggy Payne
      July 1, 2015 at 3:51 pm Reply

      A wonderfully ecumenical collection, Jane. I love the idea of exuberance being beauty.

  • July 1, 2015 at 2:57 pm Reply

    The idea of hidden objects being more sacred really only holds water if they are sacred *to you*. Scarcity in and of itself doesn’t make something sacred. Hype around something being scares is only that. If the item has direct bearing on your connection to Divine, maybe it should be reserved only for you. If not, maybe its message is meant for a wider audience.

    • Peggy Payne
      July 1, 2015 at 3:50 pm Reply

      I think I run on something like this about public vs. private, Kelley, but without using the word sacred. Probably the one in my head is important. There are things too important for me to comfortably mention on Facebook. But that’s kind of backwards: important could mean that more people need to know. It’s complicated… as FB wants us to say about relationships.

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