Song of the Silkie Woman

December 28, 2007

I swim with the sea flowers in my hair
All the Silkies love me here
Now my eyes are turning above
And my heart is tuned to an earthly love

My mother takes me by the hand
To where the waters meet the land
"Go my child, do not fear,
"And know the sea is ever near.

"And if there ever comes a time
"When you lover speaks to you unkind
"Turn your back to the land, your face to the wind
"I’ll be waiting here with your old sealskin.

Chorus:
"When you go you will leave your skin behind
"Taking only hand and heart and mind
"Naked you’ll stand upon the shore
"To see your own land never more…"

And how will it be when you come for me?
Will I turn and fly back to Sul Skerie?
Will I run to hide in my old sealskin?
Or stay to love Earthkin?

No, I’ll not run when you find me here
I’ll stand proud, and the wind will take my fear
And I’ll walk the land til I come to fly
And be one with the earth, the sea, and sky…

Chorus:
When I go I will leave my skin behind
Taking only hand and heart and mind
Naked I’ll stand upon the shore
To see my own lands ever more…

by Shekhinah Mountainwater
(c)1965
All rights reserved

Notes:
I composed this song in the early days of my Goddess awakening, when my
children were still dancing to my music. We loved acting out this tale
with wavelike movements, deep-sea chords and rocking rhythms. I had
long known of the Silkies, having sung the traditional Scottish ballad
of The Great Silkie since the early 1950s. This ballad was later
popularized by Joan Baez during folkmusic’s heyday in the late 50s and
the 60s. Yet few in our country seemed to be aware of the legends of
the magical seal people until the film Secret of Roan Innish came out
several years ago. What joy to experience this film and its
unforgettable rendition of the beautiful wild Silkie woman shedding her
skin.

Soon after the film’s release, my son Frey Faust, now a
professional dancer worldwide, came home to dance to the Song of the
Silkie Woman, along with his then partner Andreia Zwicca. They wore
brown fuzzy leotards that fit them like skins and moved in undulant
leaps and dives that took the viewers’ breath away. It dawned on me
that the Silkie woman is a perfect expression of the Dark Maiden
archetype. As a Dark Maiden woman it has been a great healing to sing
this piece. Since this realization I have woven it into women’s ritual
circles, inviting sisters to consider the option the seal woman chose:
to firmly and quietly walk away from abuse. 
(In the original Scottish legend I retell above, the parent who guides
the Silkie woman is her father. In my own version told in the song
below, I choose to have it be her mother, which feels more in keeping
with my woman-centered approach to this myth.)

From Moonspell Library

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