Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

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Water Ones: Moving through fluid realms, with intuition

About five hundred million years ago, fish were the first vertebrates to appear on earth. Since that time, they have evolved into one of the most diverse and successful of animal groups. The "lobe-finned" fish, such as the lungfish, can live for brief periods on land. Sharks and rays have no bones, only cartilage, while the bony fish range from sturgeon to trout to seahorses. Eels, the snakes of the water, can slip in and out of small spaces.

The other animals, who live in water, are the anemones, cephalopods, clams, crustaceans, echinoderms (starfish), and jellyfish. Crustaceans live in freshwater, deep oceans, and tidal pools. Their claws and hard shells serve to protect them from predators. The cephalopods, with their tentacles, are known for their inky defenses. Jellyfish float from North Pole to South Pole, seeking food. Anemones have tentacles traps to prey on unsuspecting shrimp. Clams will quickly burrow in the tidal flats with their tube feet. Sea cucumbers put out sticky tentacles to catch food particles that drift by.

Many animal wisdom books list "Fish" or perhaps "Salmon" for the Water Ones. Since fish range from the peculiar looking seahorse to the fierce great white shark to the scrappy largemouth bass, to discuss fish wisdom in general terms seems to be a bit absurd. One can generalize some characteristics for the Families of the Water Ones such as fish have gills. I think that this neglect comes from people’s unfamiliarity with animals who live in water. Unless a person fishes regularly, they usually cannot name fish species beyond goldfish, salmon or shark. Few people know that there are more species of fish than amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals combined.

Non-fish Water Ones remind people of aliens from another planet. The speedy squid, one of the most common animals in the sea, looks like a torpedo with wiggly arms. Peanut worms have a peacock-like fan to feed and breed with. Sea cucumbers look like gelatinous blobs with sticky tentacles. How does a person relate to a conch or a mussel?

The animals who live between land and water teach lessons of flourishing and flexibility. Tidal flats are one of the most difficult environments for life to exist. Yes clams and anemones manage it quite well and even multiply.

Since water is a fluid element, the Water Ones move and change, demonstrating an innate grace. Unusual to land dwellers, They beckon all to come into the unknown depths to explore, to play, and to learn. Moving with intuition is something people can learn from the Water Ones.

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Virginia Carper, a Roman Polytheist, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. She navigates life with a traumatic brain injury which gives her a different view on life. An avid naturalist since childhood, she has a blog called “Nature’s Observations.” Having experienced the animals directly, she teaches on-line classes about the spiritual and natural aspect of animals. She has published articles on her brain injury, Roman polytheism, and working with extinct animals. In addition her writings on animals (including dragons and other mythic creatures) can be purchased her book site, Animal Teachers.  


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