Mélusine

17836713_MelyuzinaGender: Female
Origin: French
Meaning: uncertain
Pronunciation: French (may-luy-ZEEN); Eng (MEL-yoo-SEEN)

The name appears throughout European folklore as the name of a water sprite who turns into a serpent from the waist down each Saturday. She appears in several different folktales from the Middle Ages, one of the most famous legends being that of her marriage to Raymond of Poitou.

The Duke met the beautiful sprite in a forest. She married the duke on the condition that he never enter her bedroom on Saturdays.

Mélusine was known for her magical powers, especially her rapid building of structures, it is said that whole towns and churches were built in a night, the tower in Vouvant being one of them. It was here where she spent her Saturdays.

Raymond was suspicious, and went to go spy on her at the tower. While looking through a peephole in the walls, he observed that his wife had transformed into a half serpent half human being. Melusine caught his indiscretion, but forgave him.

12924977The duke and the fairy had 10 children, each child bearing a strange physical characteristic. One of whom was Gregory Longtooth, who had massacred a monastary. Out of anger of his son’s actions, Raymond accused his wife of being a demon, and that she had infected his whole royal line with demon spawn. In outrage, Mélusine transformed herself into a dragon, drove through the castle’s walls, never to be seen again. However, she would continue to visit her ancestors right before someone would die, to warn them of their deaths. It is said that several royal lines throughout Europe are descended from her.

In German legends, she was known as Melusina, and the famed Christian Reformer, Martin Luther, often referred to her existence, believing that she was possibly a succubus. She even appears in the writings of Goethe. Some folktales insisted that Melusine was the fairy responsible for changelings.

The name was borne by Ehrengard Melusine von der Schulenburg, Duchess of Kendal and Munster, Mistress of George I of Great Britain, she went by and was known by her middle name circa (1667); and had one daughter by the name of Melusina (1693–1778).

The name Mélusine has made it into the Czech lexicon as meluzina, referring to a wailing wind that makes itself known in chimneys.

In popular culture, she is the famous mermaid of Starbucks.

210px-Melusine_von_der_SchulenburgIn the Middle Ages, Melusine had many associations, some good and some bad. The great Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine was associated with the fairy as she came from the same line as Raymond of Poitou.

The name is of uncertain meaning, but in her book, Women of the Celts, Jean Markale, suggests that the name may be a derivative of the Latin Mal Lucina, meaning “evil Lucina,” arguing that Melusine was a personification of the goddess Juno/Lucina’s darker side. Some historians insist that Melusine was an ancient divinity who survived in folklore as a fairy.

Another theory is that Melusine is a derivative of the French term Mère Lusigne meaning “mother of the Lusignans.” Lusignan was the line of Raymond of Poitou.

Other sources suggest that it is of Breton origins, either meaning “marvellous” or “sea-fog.”

Possible nickname options include Melsie, Melzy, Mel, Lucy, Luce, Lucine and Sina