Friday 5 July 2024

Book Extract: The Magic of the Seal

Here's a sneak peek into 'The Magic of the Seal - Ocean Messengers' by Melanie Godfrey which will be published by Moon Books on 26th July 2024.

On the shoreline where aquamarine waters gently ebb and flow, you will find seals basking on emerald and vermillion seaweed-covered rocks, relaxing amidst the liminality of land and sea. They stay in one place for only a short period of time, as they belong to neither. They rest between solitary foraging pursuits, seeming incredibly lazy, as if they spend all their lives relaxing whilst their silky silver fur glistens in sunlight. But seals are misleading, and they are far from idle. Sleeping a minimal six-and-a-half hours a day, these sensitive beings who are elegant in the water and clumsy on land, need rest. They need to lay down their weary heads by sleeping undisturbed, as they are conscientious hunters by day, with some seals hunting at night. They sleep to aid in recovering oxygen levels, on top of restoring body temperature. The seal people are spirited, harmless folk, shy, timid, a little nervous, but who only want to be left in peace to go about their day.

Seals are Albion’s natural treasures and ocean’s messengers, bringing valuable evidence of environmental changes to our shorelines. Evidence of oceanic warming and pollution is seen in the seals’ stomachs, with increased parasitic growths and entanglement with plastic waste. Seals are messengers of the afterlife and bring hope in times of grief. A belief is held among fishermen and crofters in Ireland, and the islands of Scotland, that folk who have drowned at sea go to live with the seal people, or become one. They are, therefore, our ancestors. Seals and humans are kindred, with their human cries, the tears they shed from compassionate eyes, and their intelligent and curious characters. Is there any wonder our ancestors connected so profoundly to these Otherworldly creatures?

In the not-so-distant past, there were seal clans. The seal clan of North Uist – the MacCodrum of the Seals – and the Conneely clan of West Ireland, who both remain a mystery. Little was documented about these clans, yet, as I went in search of evidence, I found a rich heritage on the lands where the clans originated. Kindly storytellers on the Outer Hebrides told me tales about seals, and before long a story formed in my mind; a story I will share in the coming pages of this book.

Seals are instinctive, confident, and proactive, as they intuitively sense the tidal force, and navigate the ocean. They dance in the rolling waves of the perpetually moving ocean, and have learnt to adapt and survive for millennia through skilfully knowing the sea and the forever changing tides. If they did not have an understanding of the ocean’s ways, they would be gone. They are in a state of oneness with the world – equal to all marine mammals, animals, and humans alike. Seals possess skills they have fine-tuned throughout the centuries, having individual insight of the world – an insight humans will never truly understand. We are all connected to a subtle energetic web of the earth and live in symbiotic relationship. We need the seals, as much as they need us. This book is written to give seals a voice – with goodwill, I hope I have managed to do this.”

Where to find the book

You can view The Magic of the Seal on Amazon and on publisher Moon Book's website, part of Collective Ink: Please note I earn commission from some links.

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