Moonday’s Heroic Paranormal Hunks: Shapeshifters

Circe Changes Greek Invaders into Swine

Shapeshifting is a common theme in mythology, folklore, fairy tales, epic poems, scifi and fantasy, and media and video games. Shapeshifting occurs when a human being shifts either voluntarily (by will alone or with a word, a potion, or object) or involuntarily into the shape of another person or creature, as with a curse or spell. The change may occur at any time or at a specific time. Fairy tales include the prince transformed into a frog and the Beast of Beauty and the Beast who can only be freed by the love of women.

 

Artemis Changes Actaeron into Stag who is Eaten by His Own Dogs

Numerous tales of shapeshifting are found n Greek and Roman mythology, often related to angering a god or goddess or a powerful human.  Circe transforms intruders to her island into swine.  Zeus transformed Lycaon into a werewolf for killing his children, Athena transformed Arachne into a spider for claiming she was a better weaver, and Artemis transformed Actaeon into a stag for spying on her at her bath.

 

Wendigo Skinwalker

Skinwalkers are a variation of shapeshifting.  Stories of shapeshifters as loup-garous, wendigos, or nahaul abound in the Indian cultures of North America. Often the shift was associated with donning the skin of the creature.

Another variation of shapeshifters is the selkie. Selkies are mythological creatures who can shed their seal skin and become human.  The stories are found in the folklore of Iceland,Ireland, and Scotland.   They can return to seal form by putting it back on.

Stories concerning selkies are generally romantic tragedies. A selkie can only make contact with one particular human for a short amount of time before they must return to the sea. They are not able to make contact with that human again for seven years, unless the human is to steal their selkie’s skin and hide it or burn it.  Sometimes the human will not know that their lover is a selkie, and wakes to find them gone. Other times the human will hide the selkie’s skin, preventing them from returning to seal form. Male selkies are very handsome in their human form, and have great seduction powers over human women. If a woman wishes to make contact with a selkie male, she has to go to a beach and shed seven tears into the sea.

Celtic Selkie Enamel

Seal shapeshifters similar to the selkie exist in the folklore of many cultures including Sweden, the Chinook people of North  America, and Wales. Several origins of selkies are proposed including the selkies as fur-clad Finns who were traveling by kayak, shipwrecked Spaniards washed ashore and their jet black hair resembled seals, or supernaturally formed from the souls of drowned people.

Next week, The Ghouls    Rita Bay

Advertisements

4 Responses

  1. Fantastic, as always, Rita!

    No one does the history of any subject better than you, and I appreciate your ability to make all things shine. Thanks for sharing your informnation with everyone!

    • Thank you, Runere, as always. Love info but worry about being boring. The selkie section was especially unsatisfactory because there’s just not a lot of facts out there, particularly male selkies. Selkies are an important part of the myth of Scotland. I suspect one of the Pictish symbols (One in particular is called the Pictish Beast”)could be a reference to selkies. Don’t know though couldn’t find anything. Later, Rita Bay

  2. Awesome. Love all the details.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: