Seal Wives and Stamp Collections

Faroese_stamp_584_the_seal_woman
Stamp FO 584 of the Faroe Islands: The Seal Woman 

Selkies, or seal people, can be found populating the folklore of the British Isles and Scandinavia. When they come to shore, these mythical creatures shed their seal skins and dance on the beaches in their human form. Although there are male selkies, it’s the women who often show up in the cultural myths. Labelled as part of the folklore attributed to animal brides, these stories often tell of a fisherman who spies a selkie girl and binds her in her human form by hiding her sealskin. But selkie wives are canny creatures. Even when they are trapped on land in their human forms and are forced into marriage with the human husbands who hold them hostage, they secretly wait for the day when they can reclaim their sealskin and return to their homes beneath the ocean.

In 2015, Denmark’s Faroe Islands celebrated one selkie myth with a stunning series of stamps detailing the story of “The Seal Wife.” In this story, the selkie wife is taken captive by a fisherman who hides her seal coat. Unable to return to the ocean, she is forced into marriage and ends up bearing him seven children. One day, the fisherman goes to work, but forgets the key to the trunk where his wife’s sealskin is hidden. She discovers her coat and returns to her seal form, leaving her human husband behind. Back in the ocean, the seal woman is reunited with her selkie husband and bears him two sons. However, the jilted fisherman tracks down her seal family and murders them. In retribution, the selkie vows to drag Faroese fishermen to a watery grave, until so many fishermen drown that there are enough dead to circle the islands holding hands. With 694 miles of coastline surrounding the Faroe Islands, the selkie’s vengeance will not rest until at least 613,736 fishermen have died. 

There are 10 stamps in the The Seal Woman (kópakonan) series. These Faroe Islands stamps were designed by artist Edward Fuglø and were issued on February 12, 2007. 

stamps-selkie

Further reading: 

Clickbait for Paranormals: Try These Simple Tricks to Make Your Man Give Your Seal Skin Back” by Sarina Dorie

In Sea-Salt Tears” by Seanan McGuire

Selkie Stories are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar

“Skin,” The Girl with No Hands by Angela Slatter

“The Tale of the Skin,” The Orphan’s Tales, Volume I: In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente

  

Bad Machinery: The Case of the Fire Inside by John Allison

The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley

Selkie Girl by Laurie Brooks

Seaward by Susan Cooper

The Secret of the Ron Mor by Rosalie Fry

The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff

The Selkie and The Selkie Bride by Melanie Jackson

Home from the Sea by Mercedes Lackey

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

Toby Daye series by Seanan McGuire

Secrets of Selkie Bay by Shelley Moore Thomas

Seal Island trilogy by Sophie Moss

Petaybee trilogy by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Neptune Rising: Songs and Tales of the Undersea Folk by Jane Yolen and David Wiesner

 

 

Spring Workshops Announced

intro3The Fall semester is coming to a close and it’s time to announce the Spring schedule! Monstrous Women continues with more in-depth modules featuring the fabulous and the frightening. Participants do NOT need to have taken Monstrous Women I prior to taking Monstrous Women II. In Spring we will be exploring the following modules: The Shifting Shapes of Animal Brides, The Seductive Allure of the Femme Fatale, Weeping Women and Tearful Prophecies, The Female Descent into Hysteria and Madness, Women’s Vengeance Unleashed, and Mayhem in Numbers and the Sacred Three. This course meets weekly online via Skype with weekly meetings alternating between discussions and workshops.

carse_nightingale Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales and Myth is moving away from the self-paced course and will be returning to the weekly, online generative workshop model with a series of ten modules designed to prompt story generation over the course of 16 weeks. Participants will explore fairy tales, folk tales, and world myths with links to scientific themes ranging from climate-based studies to technological advances. The Spring modules for this course are as follows: Elves and the Shoemaker & Wearable Technology;  Sleeping Beauty & Science of Dreams; Nuada of the Silver Arm (The Mabinogion) & Cyborgs; The Goose Girl & Future of Facial Recognition; Trickster Tales & Military and Spy Technology; The Nightingale & Artificial Intelligence; Hansel and Gretel & Genetic Trauma; Arachne Myth and Spiderwoman Stories & Cosmic Web; Diamonds and Toads & Earth’s Dwindling Resources; Maenads & Science of Addiction.

Both Monstrous Women and in Science Fiction and Myth will meet weekly from the end of January through mid-May. Each class is limited to 5 participants and runs for 2-2.5 hours each week. Class times will be determined according to instructor and participant availability. Module materials include introductory information, select excerpts, resource links, popular re-tellings, quotes & trivia, writing prompts, and discussion questions. In addition to writing stories for each module, participants are expected to critique their peers’ work and to read discussion materials.

finishingschoolIn addition to these classes, The Storied Imaginarium will also be offering Finishing School for writers. If you have a stack of drafts and you need the incentive to complete and polish them, Finishing School is for you. In short, these workshops will be devoted to craft, discipline, revision, marketing, and networking. Participants will workshop four manuscripts over the course of 16 weeks with the intention of polishing these pieces for submission.

The cost for each of this 16-week courses is $600*. A 10% discount is available for returning students and there is an additional 10% discount for registration paid in full. Payment plans are available upon request.

*A percent of each registration will go towards a scholarship offered to students without the financial means to participate in courses at The Storied Imaginarium.

intro4