Everyone is talking about the humpback whale in New York Harbor, breaching and tail-slapping in front of the Statue of Liberty, and of course, being an everyday Mystic, I immediately wanted to explore the metaphysical symbolism.
Whales in NY Harbor
This is not a new thing. Whales get into the harbor from time to time and usually get back out into the open Atlantic again without too much trouble. This time, with so little traffic in the harbor due to Covid, there’s even less danger to the whale, who probably stopped by to feed on the current abundance of fishies there.
But while it’s not a one-off, it’s also far from a common occurrence, and when nature behaves in uncommon ways that almost seem designed to get our attention, that’s usually a sign that there’s a message for us in there somewhere.
Let’s be technical for a second. It’s not that the whale knows something we don’t know and is eager to communicate this wisdom to us. It’s not even close to that. The whale isn’t thinking about us at all.
The whale has less inner chatter going on inside its brain. It’s not thinking about doing taxes next week, getting the kids to soccer on time, or planning a socially distanced holiday. Earth’s beasties tend to be in the moment. They are where they are. They feel how they feel. They’re doing what they’re doing. They’re seeing what they’re seeing. It’s all now. Presence. And because they have peace and stillness in their minds and are focused in the now, the flow between themselves and the rest of creation is an open, healthy, constant flow. Like a really high quality livestream.
They feel the dominant vibrations, reflect back the parts the resonate with them, just as we all do when we’re tuned in. It’s just what happens to an allowing, connected being who isn’t thinking all the time.
So the whale is just following her instinct and intuition, which is fed by the rising vibrations around her. Since she’s almost pure positive energy, she’s picking up on positive vibrations, not negative ones, and reflecting them back. So the whale’s behavior is a mirror reflection of the vibration it’s picking up from the world that match and enhance its own–so the positive vibes.
Put a pin in that for a moment.
Metaphysical Symbolism of Whale
Whales are a mammal that remained and adapted to life in the sea. For this reason, they represent ancient forces of creation. And just look at them. Their energy is big and deep and slow and heavy. Feel it? Ancient, calm, wise, present.
Humpbacks do not have teeth. They filter water to collect their food, which includes the smallest bits in the sea, plankton, representing the value in not overlooking the smallest things, and in fact recognizing that it’s the tiny particles of life that make up the whole. Don’t look for the big score. Continue collecting the smallest wins. Just a little side message from Whale to you and to me, cause I took that one to heart.
Humpbacks are known for their songs, giving whales powerful connections to music, to song, to communications of sheer beauty. And the mating songs of the males alter from year to year. They evolve as needed, drawing to them what they most need NOW, not what they needed a year or ten ago, or what they think they might need in the future. Presence again. What we desire is supposed to evolve and grow.
The Jonah Tale
The most well known whale story is that of Jonah, who loses all he has and is swallowed by a whale, but is reborn and given far more than he had before. The meaning of the story has been twisted all asunder over time. Its lesson is not “God can smite you whether you’re good and faithful or not but you should be obedient anyway.”
The lesson is that even in the darkest of times, we will emerge again. We must emerge again. Well-being is our natural state, and knowing that for sure will get us through the darkness. It is this truth we cling to, this faith that sustains us through our Dark Nights of the Soul. And, bonus lesson: The light at the end of the tunnel is going to be brighter and better than the light was before. Life will be better after the dark times than it was before them.
The message of Jonah and the Whale is exactly the same as the message of the Winter Solstice, which is the season we’re in. I do not think that timing is a coincidence! On the longest, darkest night, the Winter Solstice, the sun is about to be reborn. And from that day on, every single day is longer than the one before, and every night is shorter, until day once again overtakes light, and summer blooms in the land.
It’s exactly the same lesson as Christmas. The child of promise born at the darkest of times to bring hope where there was none.
It’s exactly the same lesson as the Sumerian tale of the Goddess Inanna’s descent into the Underworld to confront her dark sister, and emerge again with wisdom and power she had not possessed before, having overcome even death itself, as life always does.
AND it’s exactly the same message we are receiving from the Pandemic. It’s Winter Solstice on a global, yearlong scale. We’ve all had to withdraw inside, to huddle and isolate and await the spring. And we are, even now, even right now at the same time as the Winter Solstice and Christmas and the Whale’s appearance—entering the darkest times of this pandemic here in the US and in many places around the world. This is a societal Dark Night of the Soul. Our Winter Solstice. Our period of imprisonment in the belly of the whale.
And in each of those other stories, there is an emergence from the darkness and, invariably, the world after the darkness is vastly, brilliantly better than the world had been before the darkness fell.
Symbolism of the Statue of Liberty
Lady Liberty is a statue of the Roman Goddess LIBERTAS whose Greek name was Eutheria. She represents freedom, and was the matron goddess of freed slaves. She’s usually depicted with a staff or vindictus and a helm called a pilleus. These two items were traditionally given to freed slaves in ancient Rome. She has been adopted to represent the cause of revolutions and freedom fighters in many cultures and times. She always represents the good guys, the cause of freedom from oppressors, abusers and enslavers. What a wonderful image Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi chose to represent the full potential our new nation held. It was prophetic, wasn’t it?
That’s her history. But of course, the symbolism is best reflected in what she means to us today. To most of us today, the first thing we think of when we think of our Statue of Liberty is “America.” Which to us also means “Freedom,” which is our true north, our ultimate goal. Freedom, expanding ever freer.
But mainly, to Americans, she’s a symbol of America. We see Liberty, we think “America.” So I’m interpreting the whale’s location as a message to and about the USA.
Here’s a great article about the goddesses behind the Statue of Liberty that everyone should read:
Putting it together.
So here we have a symbol of America (Statue of Liberty) with a symbol of death and rebirth (the whale) dancing, playing, and splashing in front of her at a time (the Winter Solstice season) when the death and rebirth of the sun is close at hand. Under two weeks away, in fact.
Could the metaphysical message of the 66,000 pounds in New York Harbor be any clearer? (66,000 lbs is the average weight for an adult humpback. Hence the title of this piece. And yes, a shout-out to Hamilton.)
Anyway, my interpretation of this sign: America is going through a very dark time in the belly of the whale, (as is the whole world!) but rebirth is at hand! The USA after this dark time is going to be way better than USA before it. (WAY better, even though before all this, we were pretty good in many ways. Growth is life. Growth is inevitable.) This has been a time when vast improvements have been gestating in the darkness, getting ready to be born when we emerge.
We’re going to come out of this — and soon — into a nation that has evolved into something better than it was before. We are creating those improvements right now and have been this whole time as we’ve navigated through the dark times, identifying one desire for improvement after another. Look for the improvements, now. Some are already visible. Others are avalanching into reality as we speak.
Look for the improvements!
Start watching for things that didn’t exist before the pandemic, things we’ve learned that inspire changes that will make our everyday lives better in the future. They’re everywhere. I notice something almost every day, and I wish I’d started a list so I could review it here. Maybe I’ll start one now. We’re at the early stages of this, so there will be too many positive changes to count. Just a few…
- We have a vast and expanding telehealth system now, years head of schedule due to Covid.
- We’ve discovered how the simple acts of wearing masks in public places and washing our hands have decimated flu numbers.
- Working from home is an option for millions! It wasn’t before. This is life-changing!
- We’ve discovered the irreplaceable, astronomical value of in-person public education and that its benefits to our kids go far beyond educating them.
- We’ve rediscovered the depths and breadths of how precious it is to connect physically with those we love. We will not soon forget or take them for granted again.
- We’re also discovering ways to stay connected without being physically together. And some are reminded we can do that with those beyond the Veil too, just through a different kind of internet. The one that’s built-in. Our connection to Source includes them, both as individuals and part of the collective Whole. They still are. And they have left their baggage and become their idealized, enlightened, connected, whole selves.
- We’re all re-thinking the habitual, repetitive, almost automatic ways we celebrate the holidays and we’re mulling on the deeper meanings now, aren’t we? I know I am.
There are a thousand things I’ve noted and since forgotten. I’m going to start writing them down and looking for other posts about the improvements that have been inspired this year.
Start your own list
This is a great way to shift the energy, by the way. Not just your own–although that first and foremost, but the energy of those around you, and those around them, and the world as a whole. Pivot some attention toward what’s coming that is going to be better than ever before. There’s going to be plenty, stuff we haven’t even thought of yet. Here’s why: The bigger the contrast, the bigger the change we are inspired to desire and therefore create.
A global pandemic is a helluva big bout of contrast, folks. So we are for sure creating some delicious, juicy, joy-filled experiences for ourselves and for each other.
The darkest time is upon us. Let it mean only one thing: We’re almost at dawn.
Light your darkness as best you can. If you have any extra light, spill it onto your fellow humans. This is the meaning of our holiday lights. We are lighting our darkness and sharing our light with the world. We are lending our light to the sun to help it in its transition from fading to re-birth and growing again. We are sharing our light with the Whole of the World, to help the Light return.
Okay, that’s what I got this morning.