The Sea Around Us, compares waves to dangerous monsters found in myths and legends. The ocean’s waves can consume a boat like the Titanic, flipping it over with powerful crashes, and pushing it down with force to the bottom of the sea. Waves can take away any mammal’s life, except for Dolphins, with just one strong hit. It can drown any non sea creature and keep pushing them away from land. The waves will hit against each other causing chaotic splashes and makes the ocean look frustrated and angry. As mentioned before, boat legends have these superstitions because of the ocean’s waves. If the ocean senses bad luck, it’ll act as the superstitions mentioned and start cooking waves to attack. When the waves act as a strong and powerful force in the ocean, it can leave anything helpless; destroying everything in its path. During tsunamis waves will destroy homes, wipe away memories, take lives, tear plants out of the ground, and leave the land littered in lost material and garbage. For our social practice project we will be collecting the garbage found on the sand before it reaches the ocean’s waves; preventing the litter from being carried away. Waves can symbolize a negative environmental impact when it comes to the ocean.
Ocean Symbols: The Boat
Erich Neumann’s, The Great Mother, is an article found on ARAS that goes through the boat’s different origins as well as symbols. The article mentions that the boat is symbolic for carrying life like a mother carries her baby. The boat protects life through the rough waters of the ocean but in some incidents life can be lost. The Titanic for example was a large boat that was responsible for carrying hundreds of lives. Unfortunately the Titanic met its fate, the glacier floating in the ocean. The ocean consumed the Titanic along with the lives that were inhabiting it. This could be compared to when a mother loses her child; sometimes the boat cannot hold life due to fate and other challenges. The boat is also known for holding courage and hope. It is courageous enough to challenge the ocean’s brutal currents.
Ocean Symbols: The Shell
During the times where Christianity was just beginning shells from the ocean were used during the Christian pilgrimages. These shells were used as bowls as the Christians went from home to home asking people to fill their hands with water as well as food. No matter what class in society they were from, poor or rich, they were able to fill the shell all the way to the top. Due to this observation Christians believed that the shell could be used for baptism purposes, filling it with holy water. The painting The Birth of Venus by Boticelli, shows this purity by having Venus standing on a shell. The sea shell could also be a symbol of salvation like the boat. Although the boat helps one from salvation by preventing drowning in the ocean, the shell brings salvation by bringing relief to stresses. For many years people have grown accustomed to and have been curious to collect shells that are pushed onto the sand from the ocean. Many people have stated that by collecting shells they feel this form of relief and peace. The sea shells are then used for more stress relieving activities like jewelry making or even making designs or murals on buildings. Simon Rodia is a famous Italian artist that is known for scavenging shells on the beach and then using them in sculptures; the Watts Towers is an example of one of his works that contain this material.
Hello! My name is Ashley Mapelli, I am a senior at Monmouth University and I am currently researching oceanic symbols. The boat, shell, salt, whale, and wave are important symbols to pull from the ocean because they all tie together in a similar fashion and there is plenty of information found. There can be negative interpretations and positive ones; but each have their own uniqueness.