Regular rock-poolers are likely to come across Mermaid’s purses containing the eggs or young of the Lesser Spotted Dogfish lying amongst the debris on the tide line. These egg capsules have been dislodged after being laid by the adult female dogfish are doomed to perish. Some, if not most, of these capsules are empty.
With over 600 species of skate and ray worldwide, at least 16 species have been regularly recorded in UK coastal waters; most of these species reproduce by laying tough leathery egg cases on the seabed. Of more than 30 species of British sharks only two species lay egg cases that are commonly found on our beaches; the Small Spotted Cat Shark and the Nurse Hound.
Each egg case contains one embryo which will develop over several months into a miniature shark, skate or ray. Once empty, the egg cases often wash ashore and can be found among the strandline on beaches.
An egg case or egg capsule, colloquially known as a mermaid’s purse is a casing that surrounds the fertilized eggs of some sharks, skates, and chimeras. They are made of collagen protein strands.
British Marine Life Study – The Shark Trust
This method was introduced to me by a friend who has excellent potential for working with the sea. Purses make fabulous containers for storing sigils and intent. Here are some examples:
- Find a hatched mermaid purse on a nearby beach. Clean it up and let it dry.
- Prepare your sigil and intent. Paint or draw it on.
- Prepare your work and any incantations you may have.
- Gently roll up the sigill
- Find the opening of the pouch and gently push in the rolled up paper containing your sigil
- Whisper your incantations and then seal it by anointing it with sea water and leave upon the altar until it is finished.
Mermaids purse’s and various sigils can be used for protection as well. Using the egg pouch to call upon spirits associated with these powerful animals.
The Water Witch
Used for – health, happiness, exorcism of evil spirits, fertility, prosperity, protection.