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THE OSPREY AND THE SEER

For some time I have been taken by the symbolism of the Osprey, eagle of the mountains and waters, with its far-seeing eye, long-distance navigation skills, and fantastic speed- plunge into the lake to seize a fish seen from the heights. The fish is grasped unerringly with great claws despite the water’s refraction and the fish’s swift motion, and the osprey's wings will beat to lift both itself and fish clear of the water’s gravity.

The Osprey is a good symbol for seer-ship—the ability to discern beneath the surface of phenomena, to recognise the core and potential and perhaps where these may lead. But as a symbol the bird alone is not complete. There is also the fish*.

Seeing from on high with a bright eye is only half of seer-ship. Its realisation and culmination is translating Seeing into Knowing; ie. seizing the fish. The fish is ever in motion, in streams, lakes and seas. It is water made solid into a fluidity of fins and gleam of scales, transmuting light and shadows into shine and obscurity. In just the same way, knowing is not the same as seeing, though they are partners and can transform one into the other.

When you know, there are no boundaries, no edge to what is known. The deepest knowledge can be as elusive as a fish, but of such worth that a life-time spent in its service is not too high a price.  It is held, and lost, and found again. Even a glimpse is enough, and life is sustained.

(Consider the difference between seeing someone, thinking about someone, and knowing someone. When you know a person, where are the boundaries? Can you see to the bottom? Is everything included?)

The osprey and the fish, they glide and rise together. There are always more fish. Consumed, its phosphorescence feeds into the chain of being, and those who strive to See will keep scouring the waters of their individual lives for its shimmer-- for that glint in the eye which alerts to its presence.

(*The Fish appears also in my two Zen Parables)

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