Magical Mysteries

By: Green Witch
Posted: 17th April 2020

The Scottish Selkies…mysteries of the deep

My visit to Ireland and the magick of the Leprechauns, fairies and warrior women intrigued my imagination and made me thing back to magickal beings of Scotland… say hello to the Selkies! Being never further that 60 miles from the coast wherever you are in Scotland, they have always had magickal, mystical beings of the sea and, like Nessie…we like to believe and hope that they are actually real… you can’t help but watch ripples in Loch Ness…just in case you are that one watcher that sees him!! Maybe living by the sea all my life intrigues me that these people of the sea have also always been ‘about’!! Selkies, Orcadian for ‘seal’, are definitely a Scottish mystery brought from Scandinavian mythology to Shetland and Orkney but spread through the coastline of Scotland…anywhere where seals are close to the beach. 

Have you ever seen seals as they bob about in the water, with seemingly human eyes that inquisitively stare at you? Seal people want what they don’t have: when in the sea, they want to be on land, where they can shed their skin and walk humanlike, but they eventually yearn to go back to the sea. This they can do as long as they have their sealskin safe…they can just put it back on and slip into the sea to return to their seal family. There are many stories about Island and Highland men who find seal-women bathing without their seal skin, manage to find their skin and keep the women as their wife and bear children. The only sign the mixed-race children are ‘different’ is webbed fingers and toes, and if this is snipped, it just grows back but much rougher and scaly! The seal-women are true to them and give them children but eventually will locate their skin and return to the sea, never looking back. It seems to stem from travellers from Iceland and Finland that travelled in kayaks made of sealskins. These submerged to just under the water surface but must have seemed really strange in their seal skins, then walked on land. Life back then was very short and very unpredictable and the sea held a mystery that has fascinated Man forever. Selkie folk were calm and gentle like a still, calm sea. Men also cast off their skin and went in search of unsatisfied women. Women who wanted to call them had to head for the shore at high tide, and shed 7 tears into the sea. The Selkie man would then come ashore, cast off his sealskin, stashing it carefully and then would ‘satisfy’ wanton women, single or married. If a girl went missing after heading for the beach, everyone knew she had been taken by the Selkie to join him in his watery domain! Spooky…

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