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1986, nondream acrylic watercolor, 14x17", by Chris Wayan

Green sea, brown rocks, and a golden sky. Were-seals sprawl; a red sea-gate, a Japanese torii, stands near; huge characters form a poem in the sky. Click to enlarge.

My favorite folksong, THE GREAT SELKIE, has a verse going "I am a man upon the land; I am a silkie in the sea..." Silkie or selkie means a were-seal, a shapeshifter. Though it always had a private second meaning for me, since my anima in dreams introduced herself to me as Silky. And she is a shapeshifter too, though only rarely a seal; more often cat or horse.

But shapeshifting, putting on the skin of the world you're in... that pretty well describes deep dreamwork. Different selves for different worlds, yet it's still just a skin; a dreamer's nature is in your values, your soul, if you will; not in your shape or gender or situation. You are not native to any single world.

Though you can get stranded, if you let them steal your pelt. If you let them define you as what you seem.

Oh. The calligraphy reads top down and right to left, and literally translates:

Sea-colored horse,
Silken unicorn's voice:
Great hope!
But chanted aloud in Mandarin it comes out suspiciously like
"I am a Silkie in the sea."

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