In the Orkney islands, a Selkie is a seal-woman. There are many stories of the Selkies, especially within the fishing communities of the wild and rocky islands of Scotland, where the seals are wild and free and plentiful. Well known among the coast dwellers, Selkies are magical creatures, gentle shape-shifters who transform into beautiful humans when they cast off their seal skins. Tales are told of the half fish, half women of the sea coming upon the land to seduce the young men. Their magical skins contain their transformative power, and the lovely fish-women leave them among the rocks while they soak up the sun on the beach. When they sense intruders, they hastily snatch up their skins and rush back to the sea, back to their home beneath the waves. Sometimes the beautiful Selkies seek amorous encounters with unhappy human men, and they have been known to marry and have children with their human lovers. Yet it remains deep in their nature to always return to the sea, and so their seal skin is their most precious possession, the key to their primal, free and watery spirit or psyche.
Egg Tempera Painting, Giclee Print & Text by jen delyth ©2007
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