27 Comments

Once again I pine to visit your island Alex... this last post of the year is quite probably my favorite. I’m not sure how but I read (or heard) selkie stories eons ago now, but they always stayed with me. This is beautiful writing, thank you for sharing.

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Dec 26, 2023Liked by Alexander M Crow

Swimming here in Puget Sound, harbor seals will occasionally swim upside down underneath us to get a better look, or tap us on the foot. I'm glad the elephant seals and the sealions - especially the Steller sealions - don't get that close.

I believe the native Americans in these parts have similar stories, for sure with orcas and wolves. Now I have to go check...

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A really nostalgic read, despite never having been to Orkney myself. I can't help but feel there's something a little sad about the legend of the selkies - these sort of half-creatures, neither here nor there, using their song to be heard, to be seen. I'll listen carefully if ever I find myself on Orcadian shores. Thanks for sharing!

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The tales of the selkies are well known here - similarly the tales of mermaids having their tails taken and hidden so they remain on land. Seals are so curious - I love seeing them just staring at you from the water. As you say, such liquid eyes. I’ve never heard them sing though, that would be something.

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When I first watched The Song of the Sea about seklis, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the myth - creatures that shed their skins to become part of us.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR7QTKe1D7Q

I thought I'd leave this for you to listen to.

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and now I shall miss the ocean

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Dec 20, 2023Liked by Alexander M Crow

I love this, for obvious reasons. The Selkie story is so special. I love that it is found in harsh northern seafaring cultures. I grew up in Alaska and know the story from there, which came both from native Alaska folklore and was brought from Scottish and other European settlers, mainly fisherfolk. I always love reading your accounts of Orkney. I’m writing a fantasy novel set in a world very similar to it right now, and the details you give always fuel my imagination and help me build the world.

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West Wales was where I first heard the lamenting seal song - I couldn't believe that I hadn't entered a mythical realm; well, actually I had! That was a long, long time ago but I go back often and love how the seals watch you from the water, while you watch them as you walk along the coast path. There's an artist called Tamsin Abbott who makes stained/painted glass, her work beautifully combines creatures, landscapes and mythical elements (I'm not promoting a sale here! I don't know her personally, just from Instagram @tamsintheshed, but I love her work) and she's made a few pieces that include seals as selkies, that chime with your post; here's a link to a print of one - https://www.numonday.com/product/selkie-reunion-signed-and-numbered-print-by-tamsin-abbott/#

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deletedDec 22, 2023Liked by Alexander M Crow
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