Seals (Phocidae) are distant cousins to Sea Lions (Otariidae), who are, in fact, closer cousins to Walruses (Odobenidae). To many people, this seems odd, since they think that Seals and Sea Lions look alike. Actually, the “trained seals” at circuses are really female California Sea Lions. Seals are more streamlined and without noticeable ears. When on land, Seals move like Caterpillars, instead of walking, like Sea Lions and Walruses.
Contrary to popular belief, Seals not only live only in the Arctic and Antarctic, but also in the warmer seas as well. Also, Seals can be found living in inland seas like the Caspian Sea and Mediterranean Seas. Ringed Seal and Baikal Seal live in freshwater lakes. Hawaiian Monk Seal can be seen sleeping on the beaches of Hawai’i.
Humans have long traditions regarding Seals. The Romans believed that sealskins would protect people from thunder and lightening. The Scots and Welsh tell of seal-people (Selkies), who would become human by laying aside their sealskins and walking on the land. Some Irish and Scottish families claim Selchies as ancestors. Other Celtic peoples regarded Seals to be messengers from the Fairy Realms.
Seals connect people with the mysterious. They live in the water yet come on land from time to time. Seals have large eyes, rounded heads, and receding chins that resemble human children. Bobbing above the surface of the ocean, Seals watch life with uncannily human eyes. They could be people if you had the imagination to see Seals as “seal-people”. Seals help people to see beyond what is and to see with their mind’s eye.
Seal Family’s Teachings Include:
“The Dan nan Ro'n--the Song of the Seals--upsets and frightens many who hear it. Its mournful and human sound stirs the heart of the listener to the core.” Copyright: “The Druid Animal Oracle”, Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm.
“Seal carries its own abundance, storing in the body what is needed for a good life.” Copyright: “The Spirit of Place”, Loren Cruden.
“Seal reminds us that we can swim gracefully with the current, and that when we do so we can learn to release the worries created by our minds.” Copyright: Beyond the Rainbow (Constance Barrett Sohodski).
Take time to read what the Individual Seal Teachers have to teach. Or read what their cousins, Sea Lions and Walruses have to teach.
Photo of Hawaiian Monk Seals courtesy of U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Picture of "Harp Seal" copyrighted by Mary Ann Sterling. Photo of Bearded Seal courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service