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The Selkie I Used to Be: Scars of Seal-Women and H...

The Selkie I Used to Be: Scars of Seal-Women and Hunted Witches

danielle duslky the house of twigs thot witch selkie verses of the wild witch

You asked me once how I came to be such a stone-hearted seductress, a wanton wanderer who would forever be bride to devil and wife to no one. The answers to your uninvited questions come only when I sleep and only in the late Spring, when the wounds of that life last lived reopen, when I see through her dripping eyes again, when I become nothing but a fraying sack of bitter longing and resentful contempt. Only in the Spring and only when I sleep am I her.

The year escapes me, but I swear I am humming righteous drinking songs and harboring political protest in my guts. The place escapes me, but I stand upon a rock-laden beach gazing Westward at seals negotiating with a storm. Neither my age nor my name is pertinent, and my story is never told by any paper-skinned grandmother to a hopeful maiden as she drifts to sleep.

When I am her, I sense I am not pondering any pressing questions about life’s meaning or god’s gender. I have been cast off my land, sent away by those who thought me wicked, but it is not a full-breasted, soft voiced mother-figure I miss, nor is it a bright-eyed babe or ever-loyal friend. When I am her, I miss a world I’ve yet to find and a lover I’ve yet to know. I miss the horned beasts and the fog on the fields. I miss painlessness, and I miss simplicity; when I’m Her, I’ve known neither.

I am chilled angst smoking like dry ice. I am the inhale before a wrong but inevitable choice is made, and I am the wild feminine called prick-tease, Witch, and murderess. I don’t know what color my eyes are, or how fleshy my belly is, but I know the wind whips my hair like worms drowning in rainwater. I know my heartbeat sounds uneven, and I know I could stay human and fight or run wave-ward and hope I’ve got some Selkie in my blood. No matter what I do, no one will save me. I know that I am a lone wolf-woman charged with heavy crimes and tasked with choosing between a loveless life spent starving in caves, a public and painful demise, or leaving an unbeauteous, bloated corpse behind for a wayward fisherman to find.

You asked me once why I am so threatened by your outstretched hand, and, even in my most honest moments, I cannot tell you why your compassion irks me so, but I think this wild one I used to be is partly to blame. On these wet, Spring days when the skies are unforgiving, I can still taste the saltwater and breathlessness. I can still feel my limbs fusing and slippery skin warming in the icy current, and I am again a seal-woman resigned to a lonely life underwater.

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Danielle is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. The author of Woman Most Wild and The Holy Wild., she teaches internationally and has facilitated circles, embodiment trainings, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School, the lead teacher for the Flame-Tender Teacher Training, and believes in the emerging power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists in healing our ailing world. As an Irish-American, Danielle’s witchcraft is deeply rooted in Celtic philosophy and Irish mythology. She believes fervently in the role of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting white-body supremacy and environmental unconsciousness, is committed to centering the voices and teachings of POC and LGBTQIA+ folks in her work as founder of Living Mandala, LLC and The Hag School and supports organizations and initiatives that do the same. Parent to two beloved wildlings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, and intentional awe. Find her praying under pine trees, wandering through the haunted places, and whispering to her grandmothers’ ghosts.
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Danielle is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. The author of Woman Most Wild and The Holy Wild., she teaches internationally and has facilitated circles, embodiment trainings, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School, the lead teacher for the Flame-Tender Teacher Training, and believes in the emerging power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists in healing our ailing world. As an Irish-American, Danielle’s witchcraft is deeply rooted in Celtic philosophy and Irish mythology. She believes fervently in the role of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting white-body supremacy and environmental unconsciousness, is committed to centering the voices and teachings of POC and LGBTQIA+ folks in her work as founder of Living Mandala, LLC and The Hag School and supports organizations and initiatives that do the same. Parent to two beloved wildlings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, and intentional awe. Find her praying under pine trees, wandering through the haunted places, and whispering to her grandmothers’ ghosts.

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