April 15, 2014

Selkie



"When angels fell, some fell on the land, some on the sea.
The former are the faeries and the latter were often said to be the seals."
(Anonymous Orcadian)


Out of the many tales I know, the Selkie holds a dear place. Her lore resembles the mermaid, but if you look closely, she is a very different creature. The tale of the Selkie can be found in irish, scottish and faeroese folklore, but it is most common in Orkney. A creature that lives in the sea under the appareance of a seal, but is able to shed her sea-skin and live on land as a human. She could be seen dancing in the moonlight on lonely shores. Sometimes, she would meet a human and fall in love, but she would always need to come back to the sea, where her people lived. Even when she would marry a fisherman, she would be seen often staring at the waves, longing for her underwater home. Her husband, madly in love, would try and hide her seal-skin so she would stay forever, but as tales often go, no secret can be hidden forever. The moment a selkie would recover her skin, she would be gone, and her lover would never see her again. However, if during her time on the shore, she had had children, she would return to them, playing with them in the icy waves, or watching over them as they would learn to swim. The lore says that selkies were born out of the souls of the drowned, and that is why they were so gentle, and eager the help the human folk.


I took these pictures of lovely Thérèse on one of my beloved irish shores.






















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