Water spirit

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A water spirit is a kind of supernatural being found in the myth and folklore of many cultures:


Water Spirit mask from the Igbo people (Brooklyn Museum)

Some of the water spirits in traditional African religion include:

  • Mami Wata is a transcultural pantheon of water spirits and deities of the African diaspora. For the many names associated with Mami Wata spirits and goddess, see Names of Mami Wata.[1]
  • Owu Mmiri of some riverine people of Nigeria are often described as mermaid-like spirit of water.[2]
  • A jengu (plural miengu) is a water spirit in the traditional beliefs of the Sawa ethnic groups of Cameroon, particularly the Duala, Bakweri, and related Sawa peoples. Among the Bakweri, the name is liengu (plural: maengu).


In Celtic mythology:

  • An Each uisge is a particularly dangerous "water horse" supposed to be found in Scotland;[3] its Irish counterpart is the Aughisky.
  • The Gwragedd Annwn are female Welsh lake fairies of great beauty.
  • A Kelpie is a less dangerous sort of water horse. There are many similar creatures by other names in the mythology including:
    • the tangie (Orkney and Shetland)
    • the nuggle also known as the shoopiltee or njogel (Shetland)
    • the cabbyl-ushtey (Isle of Man)
    • the Ceffyl Dŵr (Wales)
    • the capall uisge or the glashtin (Ireland)
  • Morgens, Morgans or Mari-Morgans are Welsh and Breton water spirits that drown men.
  • Selkie


In Germanic mythology:

Ancient Greek[edit]

In Greek mythology:

  • Naiads were nymphs who presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, and brooks
    • Crinaeae (Κρηναῖαι) were a type of nymph associated with fountains
    • Limnades or Leimenides (Λιμνάδες / Λειμενίδες) were a type of naiad living in freshwater lakes.
    • Pegaeae (Πηγαῖαι) were a type of naiad that lived in springs.
  • Nereids were sea nymphs.
  • Sirens were bird-headed women living in the sea near a rocky island coastline.


In Japanese folklore:

  • Kappa (河童, "river-child"), alternately called Kawatarō (川太郎, "river-boy") or Kawako (川子, "river-child"), are a type of water sprite.
  • A Hyōsube (ひょうすべ) is a hair-covered version of a Kappa.


In Aztec belief:

  • Ahuizotl; a dog-like aquatic creature that drowned the unwary.


In the mythology of Oceania:


In Roman mythology:


In Slavic mythology:


  • Phi Phraya (ผีพราย, พรายน้ำ), a female ghost living in the water.
  • Phi Thale (ผีทะเล), a spirit of the sea. It manifests itself in different ways, one of them being St. Elmo's fire, among other uncanny phenomenons experienced by sailors and fishermen while on boats.


  1. ^ Drewal, Henry John (2008). "Introduction: Charting the Voyage". In Drewal, Henry John (ed.). Sacred Waters: Arts for Mami Wata and other divinities in Africa and the diaspora. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-35156-2., p. 1.
  2. ^ "Serving Two Masters: The Case of the Self-Confessed Christian and Priestess of the Water Goddess". Daily Sun (Nigeria). 2007-07-30. Archived from the original on 2010-02-07. Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  3. ^ MacPhail, Malcolm (1896). "Folklore from the Hebrides". Folklore. 7 (4): 400–04. doi:10.1080/0015587X.1896.9720386.