You might want to read the first post, with some context and my musings on the bear if you haven’t already.
The earthworm… Well, you might wonder what on earth (ha – pun!) I’m going to say but first I’d like to thank Kim for featuring such a range of animals, not just the most beautiful or most loved ones. For where would we be without the earthworm? This much overlooked, shy creature which daily turns the earth over contributing greatly to the web of life.
“It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organised creatures.”
A bit of background
I’m guessing that, like me, you’ve probably not given much thought about earthworms before so first, lets have a quick lesson.
Earthworms are also known as the “dew-worm”, “rainworm”, “night crawler”, and “angleworm” (due to its use as fishing bait). Whilst we often overlook the humble creature, the ancient Egyptians apparently held them sacred and were forbidden from removing them from the soil.
Earthworms are deaf and do not have eyes but they are covered in cells which allow them to taste the earth and sense light and dark.. They have five “pseudohearts” (blood vessels which act as a heart) and both male and female reproductive organs.
They move using waves of muscle contractions which shorten and lengthen their body and they expand into crevices in the earth using force. Perhaps thinking of them like a piston will help you get the idea?
They aerate and mix the earth as they move which also leaves behind tiny tunnels which are helpful for drainage as well as allowing oxygen to enter the ground and carbon dioxide to leave. They speed up decomposition and improve the fertility of the soil and acelerate the nutrient cycle. Their casings are essential for healthy soil and the presence of worms increases the activity of bacteria and fungi in the area which all helps to create a rich and fertile environment. All of this is excellent news for plants that are living in the area which in turn is great news for the animals which eat the plants and so on. They are also food for birds, hedgehogs, moles and many other species.
The Earthworm Animal Spirit Card
Ok, now you know a bit of the basics of the humble earthworm, lets have a think about what that might mean in terms of the spirit card.
Firstly, we’re thinking about humility and being overlooked. This little creature does a lot of essential work for the planet and most of us don’t give it a second thought. They are a reminder that we are all important, we are all interconnected, we are valued even if we are not in the spotlight. And indeed many of us would rather not be in the spotlight. Your contribution to this world does not go unnoticed. It may seem like it at times but what you are doing matters and there are people (like the Earthworm Society of Britain) who are full of praise and joy and delight for you.
Look back at the card, that little worm is hiding it’s light within itself, shyly keeping itself to itself. It is motivated internally rather than by external praise and validation. Don’t judge the power of a being based on their size or their presence. The earthworm is just as crucial to our planet as the imposing bear. Honour the little things in life and the quiet contributions to society which keep everything ticking over.
Whilst the Earthworm carries out important work, it is a relatively basic creature. If you were creating life, the worm would be one of your earlier projects. The worm is a beginner, the start of the food chain. Perhaps if you’ve drawn this card you need to give yourself a break, you can’t be an expert as soon as you start out, value each phase of your journey.
As you might expect there are some crossovers between the animals in the spirit deck and those in the wild unknown tarot deck, the earthworm being one of them. It features in the five of swords as well as the nine of swords.
The five of swords is often related to self destruction, pain and suffering and whilst I don’t argue with that, the knowledge that the Earthworm can regenerate parts of itself add a positive note to the tarot card. Yes, we may be hurting but we have the power to heal ourselves.
The nine of swords depicts worms feasting on remains of something. Which sounds disgusting and horrible and the card itself is associated with fear and nightmares and despair which feels about right if you have worms eating your flesh. But with our knowledge about the earthworm, we know that this is important. This is a part of the birth, life, death, rebirth cycle. In this case it’s not literal, you probably don’t have actual worms eating you but think about what you need to let go of, what needs to die, how can that be transformed into new life? How can you take your fear and turn it into something good?
“All in the web of life have something vital to share in creating a healthy Earth garden. All life is interdependent on other life forms… When you honour the small beings that are vital to life, you start to let go of your judgement, tune into yourself and acknowledge the gifts you personally contribute to the web of life. And in doing so you feel on a cellular level that you are enough.”
– Llyn Roberts