You surely heard a myth about a mermaid, maybe you even grew up with that story, but there is another legend, a myth that has something to do with brides, the sea, fur and a seal.
There is a Celtic myth about Selkies (silkies, selchies; Irish/Scottish Gaelic: selchidh, Scots: selkie fowk). This mythical creature is a woman trapped in a body of a seal (Old English seolh meaning seal). These creatures live in the sea, but there comes a time when they shed their fur and skin in order to become human. Similar legends may be found in Icelandic tradition, but it’s more common in Orkneyand Shetland. Why am I interested in these Selkie Brides? It’s probably because of their skin and fur, which is some kind of shield or a metaphor. I always loves those mythical stories that has something to do with animal fur. It may seem outrageous, but I believe that we are all a bit animal underneath.
Sealskin is also a soulskin
There are two ways to tell this legend, from male’s or female’s perspective. I’ll probably go with the second, but it’s worth mentioning the masculine one. It has been said that male selkies/ seals are very handsome in their human form. They seduce wives of fishermen who get lost in the sea. There is a saying, a woman has to shed seven tears into the sea in order to make a contact with a selkie male. The woman’s perspective is a bit different. So if a human man steals the skin of female seal, she has to become his wife. However, this female selkie without her skin and fur misses the sea. She gazes longingly at the sea. As a wife of a man, she bares him children and one of them usually finds her sealskin. The time her children discover the secret, a selkie bride must return to the sea. After the return, she cannot go back, therefore these selkie myths are usually romantic tragedies.
These selkie wives and brides dance naked on the beach, that is when a man hides their seal fur, their soul skin. From this moment selkies are forced to marry and stay by their husbands side. Maybe these stories are just stories, but without them, there won’t be any great and visual myth, without stories, myths and legends fur market would look dull and empty. A.Asbjorn Jon, an anthropologist believes that selkies were formed from the souls of people who drowned in the sea. Sounds dreadful, but…
In 2010 and Irishman Neal Jordan directed a movie “Ondine” based upon this myth. In Ondine, a fisherman (Collin Farrell) caches a woman with his fishing net. With her incredible voice, woman brings luck for this man. From that day he gives his lucky charm a shelter. Only the fisherman’s daughter believes that this woman is a selkie without her skin and fur.
How many fur myths are there? How many fur stories depicted on the big screen? There are surely some good stories beyond the fur myths and this is just the beginning.