Myths about Selkies

an image of a stained glass window depicting a selkie sitting on a rock

Stained glass by Jennifer Jayne depicting a Selkie

Selkies are creatures prevelant in Scottish, Irish and Scandinavian mythology, particularly in island and coastal regions. In Orkney the local dialect for a seal is selkie. The mythical selkie has the body of a seal but can come onto dry land and shed its seal skin where it becomes a beautiful woman (or in some cases a handsome man). Selkies do not seek to attract human attention but inevitably they are seen. There are many stories of fishermen who fell in love with such women but the selkie can put on its seal skin again and disapear back to the oceans. In some stories the fisherman will hide the seal skin so that the selkie cannot return but whilst the selkie may genuinely love him and they may live happily, the call of the ocean is always there. Sadly the majority of such stories end tragically — and it is usually, though not always, the selkie who suffers more.

Further information for Orkney and Ireland can be found at these links and of course the internet provides a vast range of other information including some pointers to early printed accounts.

The choice of selkie for the name of our enterprises was primarily because they were stories that we enjoyed and they are rooted in the Scottish islands that we love to visit. On a deeper level we can read into the stories the importance of caring for our environment and treating other creatures with respect — values that we cherish in our work. On a lighter note, some of the stories show great creativity and inventiveness on the part of their protaganists and these are values that underpin our artistic and business activities.