Oystercatcher: Animal Dreaming


The oystercatcher was one of those creatures I’d never heard of and was also the first card I drew from this deck.

These birds are white underneath and black on top, similar to that of a penguin.  As we’ll see when we get to that card, the penguin uses it’s colouring to help it camouflage – the black from above blends into the sea and white underneath blends into the sky.

Oystercatchers are common in Australia, found along sandy coastlines, but apparently don’t actually eat oysters…  Instead they eat molluscs and crabs, using their strong, long beak to break them open.  They also use this amazing tool to probe the mud to find food.

By virtue of their diet, they are waders which inhabit the liminal space between the tides.  They relish in the inbetween.  A space which is neither here nor there.  Between the physical and the spiritual.  This also links us with the moon which pulls the tides and creates this space.  Perhaps you can find your own comfort and nourishment in the rhythms of the moon and the tides.

These shy birds engage in courtship flights over the sea and although they don’t breed until 3-5 years, they form bonds earlier than this.  As parents, they share care duties, nesting on sand or shingle just above high tide.

The keyword is concealment, something we tend to associate with secrets, which we tend to associate with deception and pain.  But secrets and concealment can be about protecting yourself and I discussed this a lot in a post about authenticity.  The ambiguity which this bird is comfortable with, this liminal space is one that you too should feel able to inhabit.  There is a difference between lying and deceiving, and concealing and sheltering.  This is something I have struggled with, feeling that unless I am completely upfront about everything about me that somehow I am not being authentic.  Of course this is not the case and boundaries are different for different relationships.  This is about self protection not about dishonesty.

I feel the oystercatcher is asking you to check in, is concealment still necessary?  Who are you concealing things from?  What are your motives?