Oysters are hard to find out about, most of the focus is on eating them and their alleged aphrodisiac properties but they are obviously so much more.
Oysters are filter feeders and can have a huge impact on their habitat, improving water quality and clarity. They remove the crap stuff from the seas, they remove the stuff that pollutes our emotional world. That said, they are not constantly filtering. They regularly shut their valves to enter a resting state, a cycle of behaviour which follows particular rhythms of the moon and sun. Could you use the movements of the moon and sun yourself to help clear up your emotional puddle? Perhaps for you this could be regular self care check ins based on the moon cycle, or perhaps seasonal feels more appropriate for you, or both.
While some oyster species have two sexes, they make both eggs and sperm meaning it is technically possible for them to fertilise their own eggs. They spawn in spring when the temperature rises and the males and females release sperm and eggs into the water and basically hope they find each other… Which explains why you get beds of oysters rather than solitary ones.
These beds of oysters provide habitats for other creatures such as sea anemones and barnacles. They also absorb some of the impact of strong tides providing a barrier to our coastlines and offering protection. Small, static objects such as oysters can make such a huge difference to the world – protecting coastlines, proving habitats, filtering water… These are epic, important things and we really shouldn’t overlook the power of the oyster. And not judging on appearances brings us naturally onto pearls.
There’s definitely an inner beauty metaphor going on here. With their hard, crusted shell, the oyster is not an obvious place to look for a pearl and the first person who found one there must have been surprised. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover and all that. And don’t forget to look inside yourself as well. As a society we focus heavily on what we look like and ignore our internal characteristics. Look back at the card, it is literally shimmering with unseen, untapped potential.
So what is a pearl? Pearls are created when some tiny gets inside the oyster and irritates it. The oyster reacts by covering it in layers of nacre, or mother of pearl, and many many layers later, you have a pearl. The appearance of the pearl depends on what the tiny thing was as well as the natural pigment of the nacre.
Beliefs associated with the oyster seem to focus on prosperity. If you want good fortune, carry a small piece of oyster shell with you. If you eat oysters on St James’s Day, 5th August, then you will never go without food again!