Sunday, March 11, 2007

Story Time

"There is human time, and there is wild time."
~Clarissa Pinkola Estés~

There is a time when we must all return to our soul-place, a time t
o return to ourselves. This I truly believe, thanks in part to Dr. Estés' book, is a way to find inner peace, the way to connect the physical world, with our inner world.

In 1994 I participated in a women's study group, in which the book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, was the focal point of our journey together, which in turn gave me the much needed courage to continue on my healing journey. I put the book away for many years, until one day recently when I was searching my shelves for something, I knew not what, I just knew there was something on my shelves that would help in my now, help me with the new pangs that change is creating in my soul. I ended up pulling two books off the shelf, Iyanla Vanzant's, One Day My Soul Just Opened Up, and Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés', Women Who Run With the Wolves.

In the days and weeks that followed, I found myself revisiting specific chapters in both.


But in my current search, Dr. Estés' literary story, “Sealskin, Soulskin,” resonates the most.
(in my first posting of this story, I infringed on copyrights, Dr. Estes was very kind in granting me permission to re-publish it)


* * * * * * * * * * * * *


SealSkin, SoulSkin



The original story, “Sealskin, Soulskin,” is excerpted here by Dr. Estés, and is uploaded here with kind permission from the author and publishers of
Women Who Run With the Wolves, Ballantine/ Random House. All Rights, including electronic, print, performance, theatrical, musical, film, audio, derivative and other rights reserved. Copyright © 1992, 1996 Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés. For permission to reprint or excerpt from her works, ngandelman!@aol.com

“During a Time that once was, is now gone forever, and will come back again soon, there is day after day of white sky, white snow...and all the tiny specks in the distance are people or dogs or bear.

“(There was a man who was so lonely he cried cracks into his face. One evening, hunting in his kayak, he came to a big rock in the sea.)

“...there atop the mighty rock danced a small group of women, naked as the first day they lay upon their mother's bellies. The women were like beings made of moon milk, and their skin shimmered with little silver dots like those on the salmon in springtime, and the women's feet and hands were long and graceful.

“(They were seal-women, who had taken off their pelts and were now dancing on the rock. The hunter leapt to the rock and stole one of the sealskins.)

“Soon, one of the women called in a voice that was the most beautiful ... [and the seal-women began] putting on their sealskins... Except for one. The tallest of them searched high and searched low for her sealskin.... The man felt emboldened...stepped to the rock, appealing to her, "Woman.....be .....my ......wife. I am ....a lonely man."

“(The hunter said, “Be with me for seven years and then you can decide to stay or go.” The seal woman could not find her sealskin and reluctantly agreed. )

“So in time they had a child, whom they named Ooruk. And the child was lithe and fat....

“(But as time went on, the seal woman began to lose color and become weak. When the seven years was up, she wanted her sealskin back and he would not tell her where it was. Their child heard their argument, and that night an old silver seal appeared out in the sea, calling the child's name. As the child was climbing down to the sea, he stumbled across his mother's sealskin.)

“The boy scratched open the bundle and shook it out--it was his mother's sealskin. Oh, and he could smell her all through it... And as he hugged the sealskin to his face and inhaled her scent, her soul slammed through him like a sudden summer wind.

“(The child returned the sealskin to his mother, who put it on. The child feared his mother will leave him. But, she filled her child's lungs with her own breath, and took him beneath the sea with her...)

“And they swam deep and strong till they entered the underwater cove of seals where all manner of creatures were dining and singing, dancing and speaking, and the great silver seal that had called to Ooruk from the night sea embraced the child and called him grandson.

“(But the time came for the child to return to land... and so....)

“On that night, the old grandfather seal and the boy's beautiful mother swam with the child between them. Back they went, back up and up and up to the topside world. There they gently placed Ooruk on the stony shore in the moonlight.

“(His mother assured him she would always be near him and would send her spirit through him for him to learn the songs of life and of healing. The boy grew to be a great singer, drummer, maker of stories...)

“... it was said this all came to be because as a child he had survived being carried out to sea ... Now... sometimes he can still be seen, with his kayak tethered, kneeling upon a certain rock in the sea, seeming to speak to a certain female seal who often comes near the shore. Though many have tried to hunt her, time after time they have failed. She is known as Tanqigcaq, the bright one, the holy one, and it is said that though she be a seal, her eyes are capable of portraying those human looks... those wise and wild and loving looks.”

The End.

Dr. Estés' “Sealskin, Soulskin” story can be read in its totality on pages 255-261 in
Women Who Run With the Wolves. Commentary on the meaning of the story for us, carrying the idea that, “We can live on land, but not forever, not without trips to the water and to home...” is on pages 262-296 (trade edition).


12 comments:

Fiona said...

I'm glad you got permission to share this again...so that those who missed it the first time, can read it now.

And those of us who had read it, may read it again.

Sharing like this can only be a good thing and I'm sure it drives sales :)

By the way my 3 books arrived and I'm savouring them. They are all b/w and I can't tell you how much I long to buy a box of vibrant colouring pens and get to work on them!!

Sunny Delight said...

I am glad you are savoring them, and why not get a box of coloring markers? Coloring is very therapeutic, it reduces stress. Well...most kinds of stress anyway.....there are some kinds that only chocolate can help take the edge off of *w*

Fiona said...

Well, I'm afraid I won't be able to 'stay within the lines'....I've never been able to do that *L*

mmmm chocolate...milk chocolate with hazelnuts...milk chocolate with any nuts....milk chocolate...ok I'm going to have to get a bar at lunchtime...I'll blame it on being periody!!

Hugs

Sunny Delight said...

Ohhhh!I love chocolate with hazelnuts......but then I like all things nutty!

Fiona said...

*bows guilt-wracked head* I ate a bar of Lindt milk chocolate with whole hazlenuts.....crunch suck crunch suck swallow..mmmmmmm

Jac said...

What's all this "staying in the lines?" I thought that was passe?

Sunny Delight said...

I agree with you jac, don't know if it is passe, but there is no creativity in "staying in the lines" , outside the box is so much more fun!

Fiona said...

*hands out my bestest and brightest crayons to the gals*

OK let's sit and colour together :)

Sunny meet Jac...Jac meet Sunny

Sunny Delight said...

Done deal Ms. Fi, we will meet for coffee someday in Chicago, I'll bring the coloring book!

And nice to meet you Jac. *s*

Fiona said...

Chicago may definitely be do-able one day....let's go draw on the lobby lounge tables at some ritzy five-star hotel *whistles*

Jac said...

I am with you girls in Chicago. My kind of town. I treated myself to my own set of Andreas last night. So, I'll be the one with the colored pencil behind my ear. I think the crayons all melted in my car years ago. Makes for cool tie-dye seats. :)

Fiona said...

table for 3 with lots of paper!