Body as Sanctuary: Shedding Like the Selkie Spell

When we shed beliefs, ways of moving through the world, close relationships, modalities, and communities that no longer fit our needs or cannot hold the fullest expression of our radiance, we return to our baseline orientation towards possibility. Everything becomes possible when we release the familiar but ill-fitting trappings of our daily lives, and no spirit is more adept at this process than the selkie, a feminine Celtic water spirit known to shift willingly between human and seal, naked skin and thick hide. A selkie's magic lies in their ability to transmute, over and over, the bodies that house their most profound truths.


Like most mythical creatures whose story involves some sort of becoming or transmutation of self, the selkie embraces the discomfort of growth with a hungry heart. When the selkie's seal skin sloughs off to reveal the human nakedness underneath, raw vulnerability emerges along with it. The seal skin that a selkie wears is as much a living, breathing magical tool as it is a symbol of discernment, and when we work with selkies in our own magic, we can begin to discern who is truly capable of holding our most vulnerable, precious truths with grace.


By calling on the selkies and invoking their shedding power, we can better embrace and accept our own beauty, release protective layers that keep us from being seen and held, and protect ourselves when our authentic magic is threatened or questioned. These spirits are masters at glamour magic—that is, the magic of concealing, revealing, protecting, and guarding. Working with the selkies empowers us to choose how and what we're ready to express.


Bath Ritual: Shedding Like the Selkies


Selkies thrive in constant flux. Liminality, duality, mutability, and fluidity is in their nature—the selkie holds and folds these binaries of inside/outside, vulnerable/strong, and full/hollow into a delicate circle. With this bath ritual, invoke the aid of selkie spirits to shed your "skin" and allow radiant truth to rise to the surface.


You will need:

  1. Bath salts (for purification, protection, and release)

  2. Exfoliating gloves, a washcloth, loofa, or a body scrub

  3. Pen + paper

  4. An altar of offerings to the selkies!


With a bathtub and your favorite ritual tools, you can call on the magic of the sea and its spirits at any time. Invite the selkies into your bathing sanctuary by setting up a bathside altar in their honor—offer stones from the beach or the river, salt water, mirrors, keys, blades, and whatever else evokes transmutation for you. As you draw your bathwater, write a message to the selkies and place it on your bath altar. What are you ready to shed now? How can the selkies hold you and move you through this transition? If you're unsure what needs to released at this time, trust that your guides are in collaboration with the selkies as they support this shedding process. You don't need to know all the right words yet. Trust that your body will do the work for you if you let it.


Ask the selkies for their aid before you enter your bath—in exchange, agree to release what needs releasing, shed what needs shedding, and embrace what you long for most deeply. When working with spirits, it's best to make good on your promises; remember that every spirit has their own will, their own agency, and deserves respect just as much as any embodied ally. Water spirits are tricksters, so be clear what your end of the bargain entails, and communicate with compassion and grace.


Drop into your bath and soak as long as you like. Visualize your skin becoming soft, and the stagnant energies trapped within unspooling out into the water as a bright light. Exfoliate your entire body as you hold onto this image of softness, tenderness, and radiance. Move from head to toe. Touch yourself with gentleness. Your skin has seen a lot.


After you've removed this top layer of skin, allow the water to drain out—imagine the ocean drinking all of the energies you've decided to shed in great, thirsty gulps. Trust that none of your protections, old patterns, or stagnant energies have been wasted! The sea will compost your old hide, and all the magic that clings to it, as you make room for the emergence of something new and beautiful. As you dry yourself off, marvel at the new skin you've revealed. Slather yourself in a luscious oil to nourish this new skin, babe. It's worthy of tender love and affection.


When you're done with your bath, leave your altar to the selkies up and tend to it for the next few days. Allow this altar to remind you of all the possibilities growing and thriving underneath your skin, and of your body's inherent ability to transmute itself as you stretch into your truth.

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