Monday, April 30, 2018

A-Z Challenge: Y is for Source and Z is for Zambian Water Spirits

It's the final day for the AtoZ Challenge and we are at the letter's Y & Z.  I'm posting about two different sea creatures in the Under the Sea Myths & Legends theme today. For the letter Y, I'm featuring a myth that as far as mythical beings go, is pretty creepy looking. This sea creature lives near the rivers in the Amazon.


This legend, according to sources, lives in underwater cities and resemble humans, and is described as hairy beings with abnormal feet and--here's something strange--they can rotate their head backward. Yuck.

The image here depicts a Yacurana holding a snake and riding a crocodile. Legend says the Yacuruna mythical beings sometimes kept company with the reptiles. Additionally, they lived in crystal palaces under the water.  Like other myths, they liked to kidnap humans, preferably young women. That's a shocker, huh? I often wonder if young women disappeared for other reasons, not unlike today, and their local villagers created these wicked tales to cover up something even more nefarious done by humans rather than legends. Who knows? Anyway, these Yacuruna were considered dangerous. They liked to shapeshift into other humans and then lure females into their water worlds. One tale said a young female vanished by the Yacurana and later she appeared as a mermaid with healing powers.

Whatever mystical powers they have, the one that's most interesting is their healing powers.  Sources say a shaman can summon a Yacurana to help with the healing of their humans who are sick. This was the first time I learned about a creature that could be summoned to heal a person's illness. Apparently, an important bond can be created solely between a shaman and a Yacurana to help aid humans.  Among the locals, these creatures are considered gods with untold powers in the Amazon. That said, I'd have to say they are formidable beings.

The Letter Z

The letter Z was a doozy to find an underwater creature or myth. The first creature I found was for a water spirit called Zin. Unfortunately, I didn't find much information about it, so I decided to feature a different one. For my letter Z, check out

Zambian Water Spirits

There are many legends based on the Zambezi River in Africa to include water spirits and mermaids like the powerful god, Nyami Nyami (a.k.a. “Zambezi Snake Spirit”) or the famous water spirit, Mami Wata. The waters of Zambezi River and Victoria Falls are considered magical. Some of the legends say the mythical deities would roam the area and expect offerings from the locals and can become lethal when not honored. 
Nyami Nyami was said to be content until the 1940's when outside civilization entered their territory and built a damn. The damn offended the god and kept him from his wife.  During its construction, the area suffered mass flooding and deaths and many believed it was the wrath of Nyami. After it was completed, the myth said the irritated god disappeared back to his world and away from humans. Interesting, huh? 

Mami Wata translates to "Mother Water" which is really quite lovely. This water spirit represents water, healing, sex, and fertility according to folklore.

That's it for the letter Y and Z and thankfully for this challenge.

If you missed my last post for the letter X for Xana, a water fairy.

Mina Burrows


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Both are new to me. Well done!

Jenny said...

This is great! I definitely need to go back and catch up with your earlier A to Z posts. Thanks for visiting, and congratulations on the challenge!

D&S said...

Well done! It looks like you did a lot of research here. Can't wait to see what else you've got here. Thank you for sharing this for the A-Z challenge.

Tizzy Brown said...

I've never heard of yacurana before, this is so interesting. I love the water spirits and what they represent.