The Selkie's Legacy

The ocean is a powerful, mysterious force.

And for as long as I can remember, I’ve felt her in my blood and soul. Former United States president John F. Kennedy predeterminedly described my intuitive knowing beautifully in his remarks at the dinner for the America’s Cup Crews on September 14, 1962.

Sunrise After Longest Night

I really don't know why … all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think … in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it’s an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We’re tied to the ocean.

His latter words send shivers down my spine, conjuring memories from long ago.

Watchful Selkies

When I was a child, Mary, my grandmother, raised me on tales about the selkie, an Orcadian word for “seal.” Her woven yarns were variations of those hailing from the Orkney and Hebridean Isles of Scotland, as well as surrounding coastlines. I’m fully aware that they’re not true to original form, that I don’t reside in nor have I ever visited the U.K. But she told me the selkie legends for a reason — in a different locale, on a different shore.

Basking Selkies

The selkie is a beautiful maiden with raven hair and deep eyes when on land; in water, a seal. She is the epitome of the ocean: wild, beautiful, fully herself. One day, a fisherman happens upon her dancing in the wake of the moon’s silver light. He falls in love with her. He steals her pelt, and in doing so, she is bound to him. Years later, her eldest child, a daughter, discovers the parcel and, without true knowledge of its significance, gives it to her mother as a gift. The selkie dons her skin — her very soul — and returns from whence she came.

According to my maternal Scots-Irish mythopoetic genealogy, I’m supposedly the descendant of a selkie and fisherman. The women before me chose between two metaphorical paths: one moved through wind-swept sand dunes and rocky cliffs; the other flowed with the currents in the ocean’s depths. Whether literally or figuratively, both land and ocean are in my blood and soul. I stand at the hearth of two worlds. To deny one over the other would mean betraying parts of myself.

We need to appreciate and own all of ourselves, even those traits that others tell us to hate, to tame, to put in a box. And therein lies the selkie’s gift — her deepest magic and legacy.

Winter's Gate

Winter's Gate

Walk through the gate.

Know that courage is not the absence of fear. Acknowledge this understanding and move across the threshold.

Stillness is a teacher. And to be in continuous bloom wrecks havoc on your health. Merge with the quiet moments, for they compost the soil for your rebirth come spring.

Winter Potential1.JPG

Growth and death are important to the life cycle. Though considered dead to the naked eye, many plant species, for example, require darkness, whether from less sun, snow cover, or a combination of factors, as well as stillness — the Dreamtime — in order to grow.

Birches Paint Sky

Yes, the long nights and cold, short days affect serotonin levels. When balanced with self-care and the space to live a more introverted life during the winter months, your serotonin levels increase, and you also connect with inner wisdom and the deepest roots of your personal power.

So surrender to the stillness, to the Dreamtime, for both wisdom and the beginnings of life reside at its very heart.

My Daily Prayer

My maternal grandmother, Mary, once told me that prayer's more than just a request for help, an expression of thanks, a worship service, or an earnest hope or wish.  Prayer's action.

The Galouzis-Lavoie Gang

As if in a waking dream, she's sitting across the table from me.  A paradoxical combination of impishness and seriousness illuminates her blue-green eyes as she leans over her afternoon libation, which, most likely, is tea laced with a hint of whiskey.  

"Prayer's living your life, my wild selkie," she declares before taking a small sip.  

She suddenly fixes her gaze just above my head.  She speaks to me, but there's obviously an unseen someone, or something, present in the room with us.

"By living life, you're prayer in action," she affirms in a matter-of-fact manner.  "In doing so, you share yourself with those around you, especially the next generation.  Continue to be, continue to walk your path, continue to give and receive unconditional love in all its many forms, continue to give wholeheartedly.  These gifts are the ultimate legacy.  So simple, yet so profound, they're worth more than money, status, and power."

We sit in silence for awhile, her love wrapping itself around me — a hug from the other side.  And then, she fades away.  But I hear her whisper: "Continue to be, continue to walk your path, continue to give and receive unconditional love in all its many forms, continue to give wholeheartedly."

I say this daily prayer for all, especially my amazing significant other, who loves me completely; my four awesome stepkids, who are the greatest teachers in my life and always in my heart; their mother, who intuitively trusts and respects others no strings attached; my parents and brother for being there; and lastly, Mary, who was, and still is, a mentor just beyond the hearth.  

The Morning Portal

Morning Portal

The lighthouse at my back, I face the brightening eastern sky.  All is quiet, except for distant boat motors, lapping water against the retaining wall, and an eight-year-old boy gasping in wonderment over the miracles of morning light and its colors.

An egret lands near the docks.  Now, completely still, it continuously scans the water for breakfast.  And then ... SPLASH!!!  A fish struggles in its long beak.

The steamy, salty air rises from the ground.  I breathe it in, then out.   I feel it creeping over my skin — a baptism by ocean and heat.  Cleansed and fully present, I greet the day and walk through the morning portal.

Lammas

Be grateful for each moment; each one is a lesson learned and gift given.  These moments first started as seeds sowed last spring.  They pushed their green shoots through the soil, reaching for the sun's nourishing rays; thus, they grew strong.

And now, Lammas is here.

The First Harvest produces crops and next year's seed.  The latter is so important.  Without quality seed, there would be no crop, both literally and metaphorically.

What has come to fruition for you?  What are your Lammas lessons and gifts?

Inchworm Conversations

Inchworm

A few months ago ... I turned to find her watching an inchworm slowly make its way along a stick's length.  Enchantment sparked in her eyes — something I rarely see in adults and, dare I say it, a majority of today's youth.  I prayed she wouldn't lose the ability to fall in love with the world over and over again, to perceive her surroundings beyond the five faculties of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.

Enchantment meets at the threshold of the five senses and intuition. 

In The Enchanted Life: Unlocking the Magic of the Everyday, Sharon Blackie, a psychologist and mythologist with a specialization in Celtic Studies, describes living in such a manner as " ... to be challenged, to be awakened, to be gripped and shaken to the core by the extraordinary which lies at the heart of the ordinary" (12).  To snuff out this ancient knowing is a form of death.

The inchworm has something to tell you.  Experience the world with your entire being, awake and open.

Featured Artist

The balmy days of summer find me out and about my locality taking pictures or just enjoying nature.  My entries have been few, as I've been busy with family-oriented fun, photo shoots, and preparations for my first exhibit.

I'm the July / August Featured Artist at Vault Coffee Roasters, located in Olde Mistick Village, Mystic, Connecticut, near Mango's Wood-Fired Pizza.  For more information, please refer to the below video.

Thanks so much for your continued support!

A Wisewoman's Prayer

Loam under fingernails.  Toes buried in soil.  Air fragrant with moist, rich earth.

I relish my moments spent in the garden — a visual altar, so to speak, of my relationship with the land and its energies.  I feed and water as needed; the plants grow, pushing skyward, creeping along the ground.

Yarrow, the wisewoman's herb, guards the gate; while wind chimes dance in the twilight — calling the Old Ones home ... among the nodding columbine, viola, and alyssum.  This garden witch's charm I weave, with harm to none, so mote it be.

Flow

Imperfect Meditation

Just breathe.  And pause for a moment.

Life is perfectly imperfect — a crazy, fascinating journey. 

Last night's dishes are still stacked in your sink.  That one corner in your bedroom looks like a shrine dedicated to work clothes and other miscellany yet to be sorted.  And perhaps, just perhaps, the dust bunnies are morphing into something really strange under your bed.

But does that matter? 

You're so much more than the polished perfection of Better Homes and Gardens or the air-brushed beauty standards depicted in Vogue and Cosmopolitan.

Love yourself.  Flow with life.

Living Wild Hearth

Sunrise Prayer

Welcome, folks, to Wild Hearth ...

  1. an intuitive way of seeing the world;

  2. a threshold briefly glimpsed in daily living and nature; and

  3. an imperfect life prayer rooted in the sacredness of dust, gratitude, love, and family.

This blog grows out of my experience as a writer, photographer, and nature lover.

So please come in, grab a cuppa, and sit down. Let's get to know one another