Alternative MethodsConventional Methods


June 16

Selkies: The Loving Mothers Of Northern Seas

Stephen Black
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 3 min.

Amorous, affectionate and affable, Selkies are the hidden gems of sea mythology. Gentle spirits who prefer dance in the moonlight over luring sailors to their death, Selkies are usually overlooked by mythological fans for the more enthralling forms of mermaids or sirens. Nevertheless Selkies play an important role in the mythology of Scandinavia, Scotland and Ireland. Their myths are romantic tragedies, a frequent motif for land/sea romances, but it’s the Selkies who suffer rather than their human spouses and lovers. While the stories of Selkies always start with a warm and calm “once upon a time”, there are no true happy ending for the stories of Selkies–somebody gets his/her heart broken.

The mythology of selkies is very similar to that of the Japanese swan maidens, although historically it seems that the stories of the swan maidens predate the western tradition. Selkies can be men or women, but are seals while in the water. What distinguishes them from mermaids (besides the choice of animal) is they undergo a complete body transformation upon arriving to shore: they don’t only change seal tails into individual legs, but instead completely shapeshift from the sea animals to a human. This can be accomplished by dropping their seal-skin when they come to land. Selkies are mythological creatures from Irish, Scottish (particularly in Orkney and the Shetland Islands) and Faroese folklore, but there’s a similar tradition in Iceland too.

Described as unbelievably handsome and lovely, Selkies take the role of both prey and predator. Those who willingly return to land frequently seek those who are already disappointed in their everyday lives like the wives of fisherman. It seems more prevalent in myths the”predator” Selkies are usually the males, as stories suggest that the men more frequently find lonely humans; however, in addition, there are variations where human women decide to summon male Selkies to the coast by sending seven tears into the sea. Selkies can only stay in the presence of people for a brief period of time, then need to commonly wait seven years to reunite. This rule is broken, however, as soon as a Selkie is forced to remain a human without his/her consent.

Male selkie

Male selkie ( no-maam. blogspot.com )

Another way in which Selkies eventually become a part of human life is when their seal skin is stolen. These stories most often happen to feminine Selkies, creating the role of”prey” as mentioned previously. It’s not unusual in myths for Selkies to come ashore and change into people for pleasure, and it’s frequently during this time (when the skin is left unattended) that human men steal the female’s skin.

After a Selkie is no longer in possession of his/her skin, the Selkie is beneath the hold of the individual –most frequently depicted as a marriage. Interestingly, Selkie girls are extremely good wives, but no matter how joyful a Selkie is on land, or the number of kids he/she beget during their period on the surface, after a Selkie recovers his/her lost skin, the Selkie instantly returns to the sea without looking back. Paradoxically, various tales also portray the half human kids inadvertently finding their parent’s missing skin and returning without being conscious of the consequences.

One quite infrequent narrative of Selkies shows what occurs when a Selkie chooses to come back to the sea. It seems, according to a narrative from the Faroe Islands, that upon making this decision, the Selkie isn’t able to return to his/her former life if the Selkie wanted to. An abridged version of the tale refers to a human husband drifting right into a treacherous storm, saved only when his Selkie wife retrieves her skin and rescues him as a seal from certain death. Though this narrative suggests a true love between the Selkie wife and her husband, her donning of her seal skin will prevent her from taking part in the human world . This is just one variation, of course, and consequently is contradicted by other mythologies, but it’s pertinent to the narrative of Selkies since it shows that human/Selkie marriages are not hollow.

Selkies are much tamer and much more gentile than their mermaid and siren counterparts, and it’s probably because those cultures that believed in Selkies lived quite near the sea and, in ways, the edges of the world. To these civilizations, the sea has been equally wild and bountiful at the same time. It isn’t unreasonable to presume that the essence of the Selkies has remained tame throughout their legends since the sea was a source of survival for the Scandinavians and Scotsmen who believed in them. While Selkies are somewhat less dominant in cultural conventions today, they ought to be appreciated for their preference to love rather than harm people. It’s more pleasant to image a Selkie mother watching over her children from the sea, compared to a enchanting mermaid planning her next underwater vanquish.

Bibliography:

Briggs, Katharine. 1976. An Encyclopedia of Fairies. Pantheon Books: New York.

Matthews, John and Caitlin. 2005. The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures. Barnes & Noble Publishing.

Monaghan, Patricia. 2009. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. Arrow Books: UK.

Spence, Lewis. 1948. The Minor Traditions of British Mythology. Rider and Company: Towrie, Sigurd. “The Selkie Folk.” Orkneyjar: the heritage of the Orkney Islands. Accessed 1, August 2016. http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/selkiefolk/

Williamson, Duncan. 1992. Tales of the seal people: Scottish folk tales. Interlink Books: NY.

Comments

Leave your questions here

To write a comment you must
or
Services
Category filter
Concern filter
Type filter
Sort
 

All categories

Spiritual Healing
$222 USD
Healing from Trauma at a Quantum Soul Level

Are you burnt out from clinical therapy practices that require years of treatment with few results? Are you ready to release and transmute your trauma once and…

LunaRio Silver Deer
Spiritual Healing
$10 USD
I will do spiritual transformation for you

I will do spiritual transformation. Life occurs as a series of cycles in a single human lifetime. Cycles exist in almost a spiral pattern. There is a flow and …

Wisdom Realms
Career Coaching
$499 USD
Reset 1-0n1 Coaching and Mentoring Programme

Are you returning to work after a career break, or are you looking for a new job or career change?

This programme is for you.

I’ve developed the RESET coachi…

Carla Martins
Life Coaching
$399 USD
1-on-1 Coaching

The journey started with our discovery call, and You decided: ” I’m ready! Let’s do this!”.

We will engage in 1-on-1 coaching sessions for 90 minutes. In this…

Carla Martins
Emotional Stress Release
$800 USD
Retreat( India): Connect With Your Inner Wisdom 1st to 4th Sept

Join us for an immersive experience anchored amidst the beauty and tranquillity of Kasar Devi, Almora, India

1st Sept’22 ( Thursday) - 4th Sept 2022 ( Sunday …

Aikyam
Psychic Reading
$80 USD
I will do oracle and tarot card readings

I will do oracle & tarot card reading in any area of your life. You will get answer from the Angelic, Elemental, Faerie or Galactic realms. I will share wi…

Wisdom Realms
Natal Astrology
$15 USD
15 min reading of SOUL structure

[SOUL STRUCTURE]Each soul has own structure,and knowing it means to have unlimited access to inner energy. This readings are telling about your talents and str…

Ksenia Jdanova
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Ask a Question?

Supportive reflection of a current question that you would like clarity around. Using the SMART method to seek quidance in stepping onto your path of potential…

Beverly Lynn
Reiki
$150 USD
Reiki Services (distant healing session)

In this hour long distant healing session I will use long distance Reiki, crystals and essential oils to balance your Chakras. Balancing your Chakras allows en…

Erin Kirby
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Intuitive Tarot Reading

Affordable Tarot reading to offer guidance on any given concern.

Elphie Shoppe
Telepsychology
$10 USD
Talk Therapy Sessions

Hello there: These times are dread. Do you need to talk with a safe professional about a troubling personal challenge? I am a professional listener and will li…

Eulalee Thompson
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Tarot Reading

I offer tarot readings with a 100% accuracy rate. The tarot is meant to give you advice, to point you in the right direction or to provide you with clarity. Bu…

Zara Kalil
Angel Healing
$10 USD
Mental Health Advice & Tips

I can help you with past issues and give advice and tips on how to better your life. I can see through my third eye and receive messageson what you need to do …

Beings Of Light
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Discovery call

Are you interested in supporting your health with safe and effective holistic medicine? Not sure if you should switch diets, work with a health coach or explor…

Suzana Da Costa
Wellness Coaching
$50 USD
Mental Health and Holistic Lifestyle Coaching

Hi there! I’m Doug and I offer 1 on 1 Holistic Lifestyle and Mental Health Coaching sessions. Navtigating life with mental health issues of any sevarity is a h…

Doug Peterson
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Mental Health and Holistic Lifestyle Coaching Consultation

Hi there! I’m Doug and I offer 1 on 1 Holistic Lifestyle and Mental Health Coaching sessions. Navtigating life with mental health issues of any sevarity is a h…

Doug Peterson
Family Psychology
$10 USD
Psychic Reading

Expert in Love Relationship, Tarot Psychic Reading
I can give you more powerful insight of every part of your life. With the help of Crystal ball my Psychic re…

Aamir Bilal
Career Coaching
$195 USD
Holistic Lifestyle & Nutrition Coaching

ARE YOU TIRED? STRESSED OUT? STRUGGLING WITH YOUR WEIGHT? UNDER SLEPT?
LOST YOUR ZEST FOR LIFE?

If this sounds like you, then you don’t need a new diet… you n…

David Giddings
Bach flower therapy
$120 USD
Bach Flower Essence Consultation

Exploration of where you’re feeling stuck or limited in life and recommendations of Bach Flower Essences to help loosen and dissolve old patterns.

Suzana Da Costa
Cognitive-behavioral therapy
$100 USD
Subliminal therapy

In this service we will use Subliminal therapy and Sound healing as alternative to tradition cognitive behavioral therapy.

We are born with our thoughts. Do n…

Ahmed Amin Youssef
Spiritual Healing
$10 USD
Intro 2 Alignment Healing Chant

Namaste.

That is my greeting to the spirit within you. Join me for a welcome introduction session to celebrate my arrival at Core Spirit!

For 15 minutes I wi…

Ti3rc3 Fire
Mediumism
$55 USD
Psychic Medium Readings

READINGS
Currently, all readings will be offered virtually.
Appointments are available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings between 9am-1pm (UK Time Zone).
When we…

Jan Morgan
Oracle Cards Reading
$25 USD
Psychic Reading 15 Minutes

Well-versed in the main 5 clairs, I will Intuitively answer your questions for 15 minutes.

Jyll Hoyrup
Emotional Stress Release
$150 USD
Creatrix® Breakthrough

This is a revolutionary process, SPECIALLY designed for women. You will be able to clear your most depeest BLOCKS and limiting beliefs. 

This is the only too…

Tamar Viva

Related Articles