Honoring of the Selkie with the Cauldron of the Celts

by Doyenne Rowan Nightshade

In the Cauldron of the Celts, we are creating a modern sacred calendar for the dedicated deities and spirits we serve. We invite all who feel called to join us in revitalizing the honor and glory of the Gods at your own altars with us on these Holy Days.
June 20th-21st is Midsummer’s Eve, the time we honor the Selkie.

Selkies are the seal-folk originating off the coast of Orkney, an island in the far-reaching Hebrides archipelago off the northwest coast of Scotland. Selkie (or silkie, or selchie) is the Orcadian dialect word for seal, and selkies are known to be shape-shifters able to shed their seal skins on land and assume human form. They are beautiful and loving creatures, but do not do well in captivity. It’s said that you can summon a selkie man to be your lover by shedding seven tears into the sea; you’ll enjoy a wonderful night, but he will return to the sea by morning. There’s also the classic story of a fisherman meeting a selkie woman and falling madly in love, but in order to keep her on land he hides her sealskin from her, until years later when their children find it in the attic and she puts it on and disappears into the sea.

Some stories suggest that selkies can only shapeshift into human form on Midsummer’s Eve, which is why we have chosen it as the day for our Honoring of the Selkie


I honor the Selkie as the wild heart of the sea. Of this world and not of this world, the Selkie owns herself; she is an untamed elemental force. Loving and loved, but never owned. I find in the Selkie the profound understanding that I will always find a way back to my truth, regardless of any obstacles that might present themselves in my life. I also know that I am free and at home in my element, though I can enjoy traversing different lands periodically. Not least of all, the Selkie reminds me that I, too, am an animal, and not actually a domesticated one.

I will happily receive petitions for the Selkie, and at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve (6/20-21), I’ll carry them down to the water and offer them to the sea along with prayers for the fulfillment of your requests and for the personal sovereignty of all people. You may email your petitions to cauldronofthecelts@gmail.com.

A short devotional poem I wrote to the Selkie:

Dark eyes catch the light that dances on the surface of the waves
Soft fur becomes soft skin as you choose your form
Enfold me in the sea and we will swim together
Unburdened by gravity, we’ll glide through the water
Silkie, like you.

And I am free

Other Selkie Tales:

A Selkie Story on Scotland’s Stories at Foghlam Alba (Education Scotland)
The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry
The Seal-Woman’s Croon (An Cadal Trom)
The Mysterious Selkie on Celtic Myth Podshow