Whale, a bridge between the spirit world and the physical world, breathes air but dives deep into the sea, reminding us to embrace duality while seeking balance and our highest truth.
Collective Unconscious/Ancestral Wisdom, Spiritual Awareness, Duality and Balance
Whale dreams with its strange whale eyes wide open – half its brain alert while the other half slumbers. This allows Whale to control its blowhole and initiate each breath without drowning. Whale teaches us the power of breath for achieving a balanced, peaceful life.
From the Tlingit of Alaska to the coastal Australian Aborigines whale was viewed as an ancestral spirit. Some legends tell that those who drown at sea are reborn as whales.
In other Pacific Northwest Indigenous traditions, Whale is honored as family due to shapeshifting, which allowed marriage into Whale families. An ancestoral spirit visit was predicted when an orca was sighted from shore.
Various Native American legends associate whale with the time before a great world-wide Earth catastrophe caused the seas to rise and sink whole continents. Tribal legends recount this as the time when Whale moved from land living to ocean dwelling. Whale, whose song is thought to be an echo of the past, is the carrier of ancient wisdom and Earth’s record keeper. Whale guides you deep into the sea of ancient wisdom for answers to many of life’s problems.
Coastal Aboriginal People of Australia believe in a strong relationship between the people, whales and the Dreamtime. Rock engravings of whales, over 1,000 years old, abound across the land. These engravings, together with caves carved with Sun and Moon calendars and stone pathways known as songlines are associated with the best spots for viewing and interacting with whales.
In the Australian south coast an indigenous group, the Mirning, “People of the Whale,” named the whale “Numbadda” which means “to hang around waiting for something.” They equated Whale with their powerful creation being – the Rainbow Serpent as the whales’ Dreamtime treks through the land, helped form the land and etched their stories on Earth.
Blowholes (marine geysers) and caves are sacred spots believed to be the openings through which Whale first came to Earth. During special ceremonies the Mirning gathered together around Numbadda’s sacred twin blowholes. Here the elders would go to a special ledge overlooking the sea and sing for the whales to come. The whales came, performing jumps and dances and furthering the people’s connection to whales.
Good Luck, Divine Blessing
Ancient maritime stories imagine Whale as a living island. Sometimes whale offers its body as temporary refuge where sailors can land when needed.
Other whale-island stories show the belief in Whale as a demon or monster. When sailors moor their boats to a whale-island, the whale feels their presence, plunges into the depths and takes the ship down with it.
The Christian Bible depicts whale as a terrifying creature – the Leviathan – who became the symbol of evil, the central point for all human fears. For Christians, whale is a symbol of the Devil whose open mouth is an open gate to Hell.
But many, many cultures regard Whale as symbolic of Divine Blessing and luck.
The Maori believe whale to be a direct descendant of Tangaroa, God of Oceans.
Inuit and Northwest Coast Native Americans, viewing Whale as a good luck symbol, have legends of whales offering themselves as food for the people’s survival.
To the Vietnamese whales are sacred creatures who bring luck, safety and prosperity. As if part of the family, dead whales found beached are buried on land – sometimes with the addition of a shrine – and addressed as “Lord.”
Whale is sacred to Mama Cocha, Incan Mother Goddess, who rules Sea and Fish and together with Whale provides bountiful fish and calm seas for her people.
Chinese myth from the southern coast tell stories of Whale gifting millet seeds to nurture the people.
Whale calls you to growth, progress and the need to take action.
Sacred Teacher, Transformer, Physical and Emotional Healing
Research byDr Mike Bossley, lecturer at the University of South Australia and former president of Greenpeace, has led him to the conviction that the relationships between whales, dolphins and people can inspire euphoria in people. Further he believes that the sounds and songs of whales and dolphins can trigger the production of endorphins – natural painkillers – in the human body. He is hopeful that interacting with whales and dolphins can be an effective healing therapy for people.
The Mohegan and Wampanoag tribes of Connecticut and Cape Cod, revered Moshup, a giant who helped shape the land. and could transform into Whale. He taught the people many sea related skills. He often picked whales straight from the sea and plopped them down on the beach for the people’s benefit. Finally the day arrived when Moshup had taught all that he could. He then transformed into a great white whale and disappeared into the ocean mists.
The constellation, Cetus, also known as the Whale, was named after Cetus, a Greek mythical sea monster who figures in a myth about Andromeda in which a princess was sacrificed to Cetus as punishment for her mother Cassiopeia’s prideful boasting.
Even though whales are incapable of eating humans, stories of humans being consumed by whales are found around the world. Sometimes a paradise is discovered in the belly of the whale. Other times the person is rescued by their family or the one consumed goes through a spiritual awakening and is released.
An Italian tale recounts the story of a girl swallowed by a whale only to discover in its belly a palace, garden and people.
A whale swallowed a fleet of ships in a Russian legend. Then a forest grew out of its back.
The Ojibwe People have a hero, “Little Monedn,” who was rescued by his sister after being swallowed by a whale.
The Biblical story of Jonah and the Whale is known by many. Jonah refused God’s calling to prophetic service, instead going to sea to pursue a worldly life. When a strong storm threatened to sink the ship, Jonah believed this was God’s punishment. He asked to be thrown overboard where he was consumed by Whale. Once inside Whale’s belly he began to reflect on his situation. After 3 days he realized that pride caused his problem and wished he had followed God’s command. Whale spat him out alive and Jonah went on to serve out his days as God’s prophet.
In these ways Whale reveals the importance of family and community and becomes the Sacred Teacher/Redeemer, initiating a spiritual transformation within you.
When Whale sings, the path to spiritual awakening opens. Whale, who swims in the deep blue oceans of cosmic awareness, brings a realization of what lies beyond this physical realm and deepens understanding of life, while revealing the best use of your own untapped internal resources – helping move your dreams into reality.
Whale’s call might indicate a need for healing – physically or emotionally. Whale asks you to embrace your emotions, intuition and inner strength, while guiding you to health concerning current emotional or physical pressures.
Whale’s powerful call can be a strong jolt – awakening a need for change. Whale helps you move through that change with creativity. When life becomes overwhelming, Whale reminds you to find your way with calm and faith in your abilities to overcome difficulties.
Whale is the beacon who shines light on the records of ancestral wisdom, helping you find the way to communicate that wisdom out into the world again.
Whale song connects you to Earth’s heartbeat, urging you to carefully choose your words from your heart and communicate your truth. Calling you to a period of reflection and self-examination, you can sing your own spirit song of compassion, wholeness, and love – connecting you to hearts everywhere.
Whale, reminds you that the universe is made up of vibration and frequency; that we are all cosmic beings in this great journey of life.
Sources: Nspirement, Harvard University Ed Portal, Whale Facts, World Birds, Joy of Nature, Constellation Guide, Korea’s Whale Myths, Numbadda’s Sacred Rainbow, What’s My Spirit Animal, Otter Dance Earth Medicine, Whale Facts, Shape of Life, NOAA Fisheries, The Fact File
Judith Shaw, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has been interested in myth, culture and mystical studies all her life. Not long after graduating from SFAI, while living in Greece, Judith began exploring the Goddess in her art. She continues to be inspired by the Goddess in all of Her manifestations. She is now working on her next deck of oracle cards – Animal Wisdom – to be released this fall. Originally from New Orleans, Judith makes her home in New Mexico where she paints as much as time allows and sells real estate part-time. Give yourself the gift of one of Judith’s prints or paintings.
Judith’s deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is available now. You can order your deck from Judith’s website – click here. Experience the wisdom of the Celtic Goddesses!