Mikladalur. It’s a strange name for a town of less than fifty people situated about halfway between Norway and Iceland on the island of Kalsoy, in a group of islands known as the Faroe Islands. I checked out the place on Google Maps and was surprised at how peaceful the place appeared. As usual, when visiting a place virtually, I followed the trails to wander through the town, rather the Danish village.
The route took me to what was undeniably a tourist destination which was below the village on the shoreline. Stairs had been built to reach the stone covered shore. And there on the point, was a statue. I knew there was a statue to be found in Mikladalur. The statue was my reason for going in search of it and about its story. Works of art always have a story to tell us, and this statue was no exception.
The statue is that of a woman. She stands nude on the shore holding the skin of a seal. She was a seal-woman or selkie. The story tells about her appearing with other seals on the shore as part of a yearly event where all become humans for a short time, enough time to enjoy dancing and revelry. Before the first hint of dawn, the selkies would return to their skins and put them on before slipping into the sea to live for another year as seals. And, as in all stories, one night the appearance of a male signals that something pivotal would happen. It has always been this way, a conflict evolving between the feminine and the masculine.
I won’t tell you the story here. However, the tale reminded me that all stories that involve conflict of any nature, are essentially about the masculine and the feminine, or the masculine ego and the feminine soul. Masculine doesn’t necessarily mean a male, nor does feminine demand that the character in a story is a female. Conflict is rooted in opposites who are both attracted and repelled at the same time. Attraction calls for the union of the masculine and the feminine. With time, both push back as the union tends to smother individual identity. Think of the conscious self at war with the unconscious self, an inner war in which the ego is both villain and victim. Yes, the tale of the Siren of Mikladalur is yet one more such story.