WISDOM | William Mistele Talks Mermaids, Sylphs, Gnomes, and Salamanders
When William Mistele’s book Undines: Lessons from the Realm of the Water Spirits was released two years ago, the author shared a unique perspective from the water elementals — that of mermaid queens. With his new book, Mermaids, Sylphs, Gnomes, and Salamenders: Dialogues with the Kings and Queens of Nature, Mistele returns not only to reveal further wisdom of the water elementals, but share what we can learn from all of the elementals. Below our intern Scottie Nguyen asks Mistele to share insights and stories behind his latest book.
1. You published your book Undines in 2010. What made you want to write this new book?
In discussion with my publisher, we decided to write the first book about the water spirits called undines or mermaids. The water spirits are very attractive and friendly. The first book suggests ways to appreciate the wonder of these elemental beings.
This second book naturally follows. It presents all four elemental beings–those of air, earth, and fire along with water spirits.
The question then becames how to best share my experiences with these beings. Do I present dialogues in which I talk to them through telepathy? Do I write stories of their past interactions with human beings? Or do I engage some of these elementals in various magical projects so that their powers and perceptions help improve our civilization? This present book presents poetry, dialogues, stories, and some direct teachings from these beings that allows us to get to know them better.
2. What are a few points and themes you want readers to take away from this new book?
Unlike fairy tales presented in the past, these spirits do not belong to a specific ethnic or national group. Instead, they have a global outlook. Their sphere of action is the entire biosphere. They often know things about nature and also about human nature that our scientists and anthropologists have not yet discovered.
The stories I write about these elemental beings I consider to be genuine mythology. I address these questions: Why are we here? What are the deepest purposes of life? What are our options?
For example, I ask a mermaid queen to share her secret desires and innermost dreams. If you ask this question in the right way, the elemental’s response offers new insights into what it is to be human.
These nature spirits embody what we are able to become. If we make the beauty of nature a part of ourselves, then we become what these beings are. In this sense, these beings are our teachers.
The difference between my writing and that of Tolkien and Rowling is that these spirits are highly interactive. In any moment they are willing to share all that they are with us if we but sharpen our senses and quiet our minds so we can sense their presence. And sometimes they are already here among us in human form.
For example, a woman called me one day. She had read my essay “Traits of Mermaid Women,” and she wanted to know how I could describe her so well. I carefully videotaped my interviews with her. Though she looks, talks, and acts human, if you ask her the right questions she will discuss abilities she possesses that are not known to human beings.
In my story, Caelius Aurelius Luscus and the Mermaid, I describe the historical setting in which this woman left behind her realm of mermaids and acquired a human soul. Nonetheless, the “superhuman” powers of empathy, telepathy, and telekinesis she possesses are latent within us. In the story I go into detail as to what she had to do to become a human being.
We can also reverse the process. A human being can acquire the abilities and sensitivities and, above all, the ability to love that are natural to these beings. Mermaids and the other elementals are of nature. We become like them when we also make nature a part of ourselves.
3. There are four elementals you talk about in this new book. How do these elementals relate to each other?
These beings lack the fifth element of spirit called akasha. Together, all five elements compose what we call conscience. Water gives us our sense of love; air our sense of harmony and detachment; earth our appreciation of work and building things that endure; and fire gives us a sense of will and power.
The fifth element oversees the development, balance, and purposes underlying the other four elements. Since the elemental beings lack this fifth element of spirit it is rare for them to look for meaning or experience outside of their own element. However, they do possess curiosity, a learning curve, and evolve in ways natural to their individual element.
A mermaid, even when she assumes human form and lives among us, will often say, “I exist to love.” And what she means is that she loves with all of her being in the present moment and in whatever situation she finds herself. It is not natural for her to pursue causes or abstract ideals and human religion has no meaning to her. She has no other purpose than to love unless she adopts a purpose through her involvement with human beings. She will notice those things you care about and temporarily make them part of herself.
The elemental beings are certainly aware of different realms. They just do not go out of their way to interact with them or with the human race except in unusual circumstances. All four kinds of elemental beings can from time to time be found in human form. They can even acquire a human soul with all five elements. But this is rare. I give examples.
If a salamander were born in human body he might ask himself, What problems exist that no one else can solve? And then he might turn into someone like General Patton who advanced farther, captured more enemy prisoners, and liberated more territory in less time than any other general in military history. Or, in his desire to reveal the secrets of fire to the human race, a salamander might become an Oppenheimer, the architect of the atomic bomb. Oppenheimer possessed the level of concentration and ferocity of will characteristic of a salamander.
An individual with strong earth element might turn into someone Warren Buffett. One of the wealthiest men on earth, he is called the “oracle of Omaha” and is noted for his wisdom in investing over the long term in solid, down to earth industries. Though wealthy, he lives in the same house and avoids lavish spending. He tells his managers to be content for they possess more wealth than any of the kings of history. For Buffet, life is at its best when you love your work.
Mozart and Shakespeare are examples of air personalities. Their appreciation of sound or words and dramatic movement presents at times a delight that reaches towards rapture. To find beauty and harmony amid the conflict and complexity of the present moment is their passion.
Mermaids, in the past at least, have had to disguise themselves when in human form in order to survive among us. Men try to possess and dominate them and women attack or hate them. Human beings ascribe to them dark motives because these women never lose their innocence, their purity, and their desire to give all of themselves when they love.
Consequently, it is hard to find examples in history where mermaids in human form have revealed their true nature.
4. What can we learn about these beings that would help us understand nature, human nature, and ourselves?
The astral plane is the realm of the soul. It is a source of motivation and inspiration. Through it, we gain the feeling of being fully alive. And the astral plane gives us our ability to be fully appreciative and receptive to what is in front of us.
The elemental beings are spirits that exist on the astral plane and they have a close affinity with nature. These beings embody an intensity and power of astral life, an emotional force, that rarely appears on earth. And this comes from their connection to nature. For mermaids, water is not just water. Each form and location of water in nature has its own unique kind of electro-magnetic energy. A stream, a river, a lake, a waterfall, an ocean bay or an ocean has a feeling underlying its outer form.
If we can perceive as a mermaid, we might sense in a lake an absolute contentment in which the inner self is at peace with the universe. We might sense in a waterfall and a mountain pool a refreshing, revitalizing, purifying, and scintillating vivaciousness that gives all of itself in every moment and never loses its innocence. Feeling for a mermaid is not just personal, that is, something occurring inside of herself. Her soul shines with all of the light and wonder that exists in the water element in nature.
Similarly, salamanders that dwell within fire have their own depth of feeling. They offer an electrifying enthusiasm, implacable will power, conviction, exhilaration, and courage. In the atmosphere and from the beings of air, the sylphs, we can learn the sense of feeling free at the core of our being, rapture found in sensory perception, and an endless love of harmony. The gnomes possess an inner silence in which those things you care about are always near to you. The gnomes have rugged endurance and to feel like a gnome is to feel that you are home no matter where you are.
If you can fall in love with nature such that you feel it has become a part of yourself, then like the elemental beings you attain astral immortality. Then the feelings I describe above never leave you. They do not deteriorate and the external world does not reduce the strength and sense of wonder they give you.
5. What are you working on and studying next? How do you go about choosing what you study?
My work with the elemental beings is go-going. It was natural for me to become a “mermaid greeter.” I discovered that I was literally saying to some of the women who are mermaids in human form, “If you have any questions you want answered about being in this world or if there is anything you need I will see what I can do.”
It is possible to write biographies about some of these women. They are born. They grow up. At some point early in their childhood they discover they are not like human beings. At the same time, writers like me turn to the genre of fairy tales and mythology when we repeatedly encounter experiences that no previous system of interpretation can explain. And so I write back stories—stories about when and where these women first began to incarnate among us. These stories I am presenting in a book called Mermaid Women. I also have a book called, How to Speak Mermaid, that presents how to feel and perceive as a mermaid.
My entire life has been devoted to using the will of the salamanders, the clarity of the sylphs, the work of the gnomes, and the love of the mermaids to solve deep rooted human problems. It is natural then that I apply my experiences to issues concern war and peace and eliminating corruption in governments.
I am currently field testing a book called, How to Speak Saturn, A Training Manual for Global Justice. The book is an exploration of the fifth element of spirit or akasha. It takes the familiar Buddhist empty mind meditation and increases the level of concentration so that it becomes effective in Western terms. You then have a mirror like, crystal clear mind.
The book helps individuals deal with negative people in their lives. If you can use the methods in the book to work with negative people you know, then you can immediately apply these same methods to any negative person on earth. You do this by combining a clear mind with mermaid empathy. Mermaids have the ability in any moment to instantly connect soul to soul and mind to mind with anyone on earth.
Mermaids embody a perfection of love never before revealed to mankind as an elemental, astral force of nature. The Buddhist clarity of mind is able to stand outside of the stream of cause and effect that produces karma. Creating it and applying it, you can modify the karma of anyone on earth or at least reduce or cancel the individual’s ability to harm others.
The book is a presentation from the spirits of the planetary sphere of Saturn. Saturn asks us to learn everything we can from being here in this world in order that we attain perfect freedom. The four elements embody everything we experience in the visible world. The fifth element empowers us to transform anything we encounter so it attains to its highest purpose.