In honor of the New Year, and of the most wonderful and beautiful alligators, here’s a bit of history and symbolism associated with these critters.
In Ancient Egypt, alligators were identified with fury and ferocity. In medieval Europe and earlier, they were the symbol of the dragon; sometimes this association was positive, sometimes negative. The dragon could be the fierce guardian of treasure, or the keeper of great wisdom. But to encounter an alligator signified an opportunity to develop new wisdom — wisdom that must be used carefully.
[Below is a glimpse of the inhabitant alligators encountered on a hike in the Grassy Waters Preserve — specifically the SWA Trails within the Preserve, the Rookery Loop, and the outer Owahee Trail.]
Dragon Tails/Tales: Smaug is present
As I like to constantly observe in my wanderings, alligators are excellent mothers. They will fiercely defend their nests, and when the young are ready to hatch, squeaking from inside their eggs — the mother answers, helping them hatch. She then gently carries them in her mouth to the water.
Alligators’ mothering energy and symbolism is potent:
Gentle and protective momma
Finally, alligators have a rapid growth rate — much more so than crocodiles, for example. They can grow as much as a foot each year, until reaching their final length of up to 16 feet, at 1,200 pounds. For those with an alligator totem, seek an opportunity for initiation and using new knowledge — but be careful to do so in a balanced manner. An alligator digests its food very slowly, and similarly you should digest this knowledge before moving on to the new.
If these wonderful creatures appear, look for opportunities to get in touch with primal energies, and take advantage of birthing and/or initiations that will spawn new knowledge and wisdom. And while some of you may not see these great dragons in your northern climes, may 2013 bring greater wisdom, new ventures, and opportunities galore via these lovely faces… and for those of us in the swamps, may the new year bring more lovely ALLIGATORS!
Sunning with a crooked smile
For more information on alligator symbolism and totems, visit the iconic Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small, by Ted Andrews.