A beautiful fairy sprite with a serpent’s tail, Melusine comes from the world of French fairy tales. Her story was first collected and recorded in the late 14th century CE by Jean d’Arras, a collector of European folkloric tradition.
The story goes that Melusine, a beautiful fairy, was cursed by her jealous mother. To escape her curse, Melusine married a mortal nobleman named Raymond under the promise that he would never to try to see her on a Saturday. If he remained faithful and obeyed her request never to seek her out on that day, she would gain the status of a mortal woman. But Raymond’s brother induced him to break his vow and spy on his wife, and so it was that Raymond saw that Melusine as she took the fateful form of a snake from the waist down.
When Melusine saw Raymond’s horror of her fairy form, she flew out of the castle as a winged serpent, returning only to nurse her 10 children and to wail whenever the incumbent count of the castle was to die.
Melusine thus became a symbol of fertility and prosperity—mistress, mother, and guardian of the House of Lusignan. She is depicted as a winged serpent flying above the Chateau of Lusignan in a painting of the month, March, painted by the Limbourg Brothers in Les Trés Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. The Limbourgs also depicted their patroness as a Serpent with a woman’s head in the Garden of Eden in their family’s painting of The Fall and Expulsion from Paradise. This suggests that the image of the Serpent Goddess, represented by Melusine, was well-known and continued to receive respect despite Christian influences in western Europe in the 14th century.
Moreover, Melusine’s fame is such that many of us recognize her today, without even knowing it. In fact, we continue to honor her with wealth and gratitude even as we remain unaware of our connection to the Serpent Mermaid. But take a closer look at your local coffeeshop, and look who you may find…
Melusine’s rich and magical story has been immortalized today in one of the world’s most well-known icons, the crowned goddess of Starbucks Coffee. In this way Melusine continues to bless the world with her energy and abundant blessings. We invite you to recognize and honor the Serpent Mermaid, Melusine with faerie queen with every sip of Starbucks, and to bring her story and the magic of serpent more fully into your life.
Foubister, Linda. Goddess in the Grass: Serpentine Mythology and the Great Goddess (Kindle Locations 4060-4073). Spirrea. Kindle Edition (2011-03-31)