I’ve been pondering Selkies lately as I wonder where we as a country are going, and why I am in this hand basket. The notion of finding my skin and returning to myth is quite enticing to say the least.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Selkies, they are magical creatures from the British Isles, who are seals in the sea, and if they choose, humans on land. These myths seem to originate in the Orkney Islands, but who can say? They are also found in Ireland, and frankly, I think travel wherever they like.
We find hints of them in “The Secret of Roan Inish”, “Ondine”, “The Brides of Rollrock Island” by Megan Lanagan, and she is beautifully sung to by Emily Portman in “Grey Stone”. Sharon Blackie reimagines the myth beautifully in “If Women Rose Rooted” (Her “Romance of Mis and Dubh Ruis” is also not to be missed.)
Selkie Seaweed Bath
I HIGHLY recommend using seaweed pieces- powdered seaweed is a magnificently difficult thing to clean up from oneself and bathtub. (Trust me.)
1/2-1 cup Northern Atlantic Seaweed- there are plenty of seaweeds from all over, but since Selkies seem to originate from Scotland, I try to use seaweed from that area, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Irish Moss, Kelp, and Digitata are all good choices.
1/2-1 cup Sea Salt (Again, use Atlantic if you can)
1/4 cup Rosemary Rosemary translates to “Rose of the Sea” so I use it in all my Oceanic preparations.
1/4 cup Lavender which is associated with being clean, as it’s name comes from the verb “to wash” in French.
1/2 cup Aloe Vera juice aloe is a great humectant, I always think of it as Seaweed’s land-locked sister; holding on to all the water she can in the desert-which nods to the land-locked Selkie that can’t find it’s skin
Add everything but the Aloe Vera to a 6 cups of boiling water; lower to a simmer and simmer an hour. Strain well. Pour into a drawn bath and add Aloe Vera. Soak, imagine finding your skin, swimming away.
I do often leave a few of the larger pieces of Seaweed to float in the tub, because it’s a lovely experience, but beware your plumbing.
You can follow with a homemade Seaweed oil: