The Green Man
The Sun and the Moon
Dragons and Serpents
Whales and Dolphins
The Knight's Templar
Today, there are still many friendly individuals and groups of whales and dolphins around the world. One of the most famous is Funghie, a large male bottlenose dolphin who lives in Dingle Bay, Ireland. Thousands of tourists are attracted to the bay every month to watch his antics, swim with him and perhaps even stroke him. Another famous dolphin, again a bottlenose, is Jojo, who lives in the Turks and Caicos of the Caribbean. He is so loved by islanders that he even has his own warden, Dean Bernal, who protects him and helps him if he is injured by boats - which happens all too frequently. Other friendly solitary dolphins include Olin from the Red Sea, Filippo of Italy and Flipper of Norway. In Alaska, a friendly pod of Gray whales routinely approach whale-watching boats to be stroked by tourists, and in Monkey Mia of Australia, a pod of dolphins often visit the beach to visit the tourists.
Many accounts exist, from both the ancient and the modern world, of dolphins helping people. In many areas of the world, dolphins co-operate with fishermen by driving fish into nets, a relationship that is often generations old. There are additionally countless examples of dolphins helping swimmers in distress. The ancient Greek and Roman tell us that the bard Arion, Odysseus's son Telemachos, and the son of Poseidon, Taras, were saved from drowning by dolphins. The Maoris of New Zealand have a legend that says they were lead to their promised land by a group of dolphins, who helped them to the shore. In the modern world, tales of dolphins saving humans by battling sharks, helping drowning people ashore and even guiding life boats to victims of shipwrecks frequently make it to the papers. Such actions of compassion are deeply touching, especially when considering the many ways in which dolphins and whales are mistreated by humans. It is no wonder that for the ancient Greeks and Romans, Christians and Native Americans, the dolphin is a symbol of protection, and its image is said to bring good luck.
For many cultures across the world, whales and dolphins are associated with divine powers and are seen as superior beings. In ancient Greece, to kill a dolphin was equal to killing a human and was a crime punishable by death. For dolphins were seen messengers for the Gods, and were closely associated with Poseidon's daughters, the Nereids, the goddess of love Aphrodite, the heroine Galatea and the music-loving sun god, Apollo. It was said that the constellation Delphinus, the dolphin, was put in the sky by Poseidon in gratitude to the dolphins for finding his bride Amphitrite.
In the rainforests of the Amazon Basin, the native Indians tell literally thousands of legends about the mysterious pink Amazon river dolphin, also called the Boto. Stories abound of the river dolphins taking human form and wooing young girls. They are often as regarded as unlucky, as they may tempt unknowing men and women into the water, where they are taken to Encante, the underwater world of no return. Similar tales of shape shifting are told of the elusive Baiji, or Yangtze river dolphin.
In Sumeria, dolphins were connected to Ea-Oannes, the deity of the sea, and sometimes with the goddess Isis in Egypt. The ancient Celts attributed the dolphin with well-worship and the healing powers of water, and the image of people riding dolphins is seen on some Celtic artefacts. Some Australian Aboriginal tribes claim to be direct descendants of dolphins, who are sometimes regarded as guardian spirits. The dolphin is also an important symbol in heraldry, the art of creating coats-of-arms, and represents diligence, salvation, charity and love.
Celtic dolphin pendant, available at the Spiral Online Shop
To Page 4 of "Whales and Dolphins"