Whale Tales

May 30th, 2009


After writing the other day about the "Dive Deep" painting and the synchronicity with the whale tail in it, I was lying in bed pondering what whales mean to me and thought back to other times I've painted whales. I had an "Oh!" moment when I thought about the piece, "Fishing." This piece consists of a woman in a boat on the ocean in front of a full moon. Beneath her a whale is swimming and its tail has come up out of the water. I describe it in my shop like this:

In this image, a woman is casting out, reaching out for support and the whale's tail shows up to let her know that even though she can't always see it, she is supported always.

This is a spiritual image for me. The whale represents the unseen, the divine, the Universe, whatever you want to call it. I didn't write this in the description, but I thought of the whale's tail as symbolizing those moments I call "winks from the Universe." Winks often take the form of synchronicity or moments that are just too juicy to be coincidental.

If I see the whale's tail as a personal symbol of a divine wink or synchronicity, then the tail in "Dive Deep" makes even more sense. When I start experiencing a lot of synchronicities, I get this sense that I'm headed in the right direction. So in the "Dive Deep" painting I can see the tail as a sign to the woman diving that she need not worry, she's right on course.

Speaking of synchronicity, when I was working on the "Dive Deep" painting, I mentioned that I'd was painting a whale on Twitter and Jennifer Louden kindly recommended I read, People of the Whale by Linda Hogan. I haven't been reading a lot of fiction lately, but I couldn't resist a title like that, so I requested it at my local library. Well, it arrived on the day I finished painting "Dive Deep," but I wasn't able to pick it up right away. I hadn't painted the octopus into the painting when Jennifer recommended the book. It appeared after the whale.

I was finally able to pick up the book this afternoon, opened it up, and the first chapter is titled, "Octopus." I grinned reading it. The first paragraph tells the story of an octopus that "left the water and walked on all eight legs across land and into Seal Cave." Oh yes, and on the cover of the book there's a painting that includes a whale's tail jutting out of the ocean.

As an interesting aside, my great-great-great (not sure how many greats) grandfather was a whaling captain in Maine. Makes the whole whale connection even more interesting and significant to me. Oh and there's more sound synchronicity: Hogan's book is also mentioning songs: Songs to the ocean, songs to the whales. In the Native American tribe the author writes of, women used to sing the whales toward them.

Tonight, I'm feeling frustrated with myself for taking a bootcamp exercise class this week. I was sampling it, hoping to use it to kickstart a workout routine this summer, but oh my, bootcamp classes are SO not me. Fortunately, I'm listening to my inner voice that's telling me not to continue with that class. Yes, I'm feeling a bit sad about the damage I did to my feet in the process (old plantar fascitis cropping up. ugh.) But even though I'm feeling a bit bummed out about how my body is aching, I'm happy for the way I'm learning to listen to my intuition more and more quickly. (In the past, I might have continued on with the class despite knowing it wasn't a good fit.) And tonight, I'll be kicking up my sore feet and and diving deep into this new book.

Wishing you many winks from the Universe!

16 Responses

The phrase “just too juicy to be coincidental” is the best thing I’ve heard in a while. :)

Love tales of synchronicity, Leah ! This one is a “juicy” good one, with so many perfect components to it. I’ll bet the book has more and more things for you as well!

I also love the idea of the whale as the divine, unseen support that we always have beneath us, around us…we just have to cast our rod and remember it is there !
Happy Whale watching, Lovely Leah !

Winks from the universe.

That is so good. I need winks from the universe.

I’m looking for winks.

Actively looking. I think I need to look harder.

I think in my medicine cards book, the whale is the library of human/animal wisdom. The repository. The story. I’d have to look it up again to be sure, but I think that’s what it says.

I don’t know if this is a wink from the universe, but I am challenging myself to paint 100 finished paintings in 100 days. I’ve opened it up to everyone who wants to create 100 anythings in 100 days. It seems to be the spur that a few people need to make the commitment to their art, so I’m going to post a link here, in case someone finds the challenge the wink they need.

I love that phrase “winks from the universe” as well. You seem to be receiving lots of them!

Loved both of your whale art pieces. The blues are so rich.
Take care.

A while back I was investigating “flukes” and out of the blue (and into the light) everyone was talking about flukes. What interested me and the creative path I followed was the meeting up of the part of the “anchor” called “the fluke” and my existence on the planet, which was the result of a birth control fluke. (Diaphragm failure… I think it is more a Divine-Intentional-Fluke that I am here. LOL)

Your whale of a painting actually reminds me of the shape of an anchor-fluke thus… the spiral of creativity continues.

Awww, sweet dear feetsies! I send them lotsa love.

And, a movie recommendation, which you’ve probably seen, but just in case you haven’t: Whale Rider. Ahhhmazing. Beautiful. A favorite.


I loved this and your wonderful painting and for a bit more synchronicity, was listening to the radio last night as I was falling asleep and heard about two blue whales, hardly ever heard anymore, singing to each other…it was estimated,as how to know exactly?, that one was about 40mi off the coast of long island and the other?? I like to think “she” was far away, most likely clear across the atlantic! apparently their love calls can be heard an ocean away…a spooky but lovely thought…


Talk about synchronicity…months ago the Octopus started showing up for me and I accepted it as a Power animal…but I have been going nuts trying to find books with octopus myths in it…regular biological books that aren’t kids books and that aren’t costing me an arm and a leg are difficult enough to find…thank you so much for mentioning the book ‘People of the Whale’…I’ve been needing something like this….I was giddy enough to have seen the octopus in your painting…this is just …great…..thank you….

Leah, Linda Hogan wrote one of my absolute favorite books, “Mean Spirit.” She is also a poet and essayist (Dwellings).

I witnessed whales leaping out of the water while on a cruise in Alaska a few years back (the only cruise I’ve ever been on). It seemed impossible, that such a large animal could “fly” out of the water like that. Seeing them jump, or just catching glimpses of their tails above the water, was thrilling, in a deeply visceral way.

It seems to be catchy, the synchronicities. As I began reading this post I thought that you had included a whale song sound file. I checked my speakers and they were off. Turns out the sound was coming from outside my window (Don’t know what it was, but surely not whales. LOL).

So many beautiful thoughts here, Leah. It’s a treat to hear you explain the symbolism of your pieces. I loved the octopus in yesterday’s piece and am intrigued by what the whale means to you and how your family history links in.

just finished that book (Hogan’s latest). If you love it and her amazing use of language, next on your list to read is Power. Awesome book!

It was a grate description to your painting, People of the Whale sounds both surreal and fun! Hope it turns out to be a good book.


This is just *so* incredibly beautiful woman :)

I adore you, and your deep, sweet soul.


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Oh wow. Just yesterday I was reading this beautiful article in the NY Times, “Watching Whales Watching Us”: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/12/magazine/12whales-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&em. Maybe you have seen it already. :-)

And now this! What a treat and delight to synchronistically stumble upon this page! Thank you very much for your art and this blog!

I got here via a Google search for liminal antevasin.

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