Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What is Your Spirit Animal?

What is Your Spirit Animal?

According to the BBC, my Monterey Bay “spirit animal” is the humpback whale.  I filled out a simple quiz and they wrote back, “Welcome to Team Humpback!  You are easygoing and appreciate the little things in life.  You are never too busy to relax with your favorite music or hobby, and people find your calm and pleasant personality refreshing.”

It’s “Big Blue Live” week here in Monterey; BBC and PBS crews are everywhere, producing live TV and online broadcasts (8/31-9/2 in the US) featuring (in their words) “some of the world’s most charismatic marine creatures convening in a once-a-year confluence of fins, fur and fangs in the once endangered and now thriving ecosystem of Monterey Bay.”

I just watched the first BBC episode, already broadcast in the UK, and despite the breathless superlatives (fins, fur, fangs!) it really is quite moving and inspiring.  Check it out at

On the Big Blue Live promotional website there’s a button “What is your spirit animal?” Based on your answers to such scientific questions as “Which kind of movie do you like?” and “What’s your dream vacation?” you are welcomed to Team Humpback, Sea Otter, Great White Shark, Sooty Shearwater, California Sea Lion or Garibaldi. 

(This is actually a good way to engage people. I learned in Aquarium guide class, and preaching class, to tell the big story in such a way that the listener connects it to their own story – that story is my story! The whale’s story is my story.)

Curious, I took the test again and answered a little off character (fav movie? buddy comedy rather than musical) and got Team Garibaldi, “You are friendly and adventurous but you demand respect and don’t hesitate to defend what is yours; especially your friends and family.  You take pride in your persistence and tough nature and love to be in the spotlight.”  (Male garibaldi fish defend their babies from predators.) 

I’ve read enough myth and Jung to know about “spirit animals” as sort of mythic/dream companions or guides from the animal world.  Turns out it’s also a popular type of online quiz that purports to predict personality by conflating animals traits (humpbacks sing!) with movie choices (I like musicals!)

OK Streeter, enough with the snide putdowns of promotional superlatives and cute quizzes.  As a matter of fact, Monterey Bay IS big and blue and alive, and the animals there (here) ARE full of spirit, connecting and inspiring us all. 

Just sit back and enjoy the show.  Try to be more like Job, in the Bible, “Just ask the animals, and they will teach you.  Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.  Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you.  Let the fish in the sea speak to you.” 

(One of our Blue Theology partners, Kate Spencer, is the whale expert on the broadcasts.  On our youth mission trips and adults retreats we see all these spirit animals!

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