Today’s archetype story from Women Who Run with the Wolves is Sealskin, Soulskin. This story I knew as the Scottish Selkie, but this version seems to be of Inuit origins. In this story a woman is part of a tribe of seal women, they take off their seal skin and dance and sing together. When they are done, they put on their sealskin and return to the sea. But a hunter falls in love with one of the women and steals her sealskin, condemning her to be his companion for seven years.
After bearing him a child and the passng of the seven years, he refuses to give her her pelt. So she slowly dries up. Thanksfully, the child one night guides her back to her undersea home where she lives forever until they can be reunited. It is a tale of women falling into identity traps. Of trying to be someone we are not and our creative well dries up, atrophies, is parched. It takes the appearance of our intuition (the child) to guide us back to our ocean, to hand us back our sealskin and never lose it again.
This story is similar to The Ugly Duckling but in this case the woman is trapped by the hunter who is forcing her to be with him by withholding her skin. There was a sadness to this story that reminded me of The Little Mermaid, only in this case the woman has no choice and that is what really touched me. She longs to return to herself.
We’ve all gone through this to some measure: bending over backward to please someone or to fit in somewhere. Problem is, in doing that too long, you kill something inside. I loved exploring this tale. When the woman dons her sealskin and is no longer parched, it’s like I felt it. It was a powerful read.
The photos don’t render it but I used lots of shimmer, glitter and shiny texture for this one.
Note: Ana is taking a break from our collaboration to regroup and wanted me to carry on without her. If anyone wants to jump in and carry on with me, please let me know!