There are numerous health benefits to owning an aquarium, some of which I have discussed in previous blog entries. Fish and aquariums may also free up our subconscious.
In “Aquarium” by famous poetess Amy Lowell, she writes, “Streaks of green and yellow iridescence, / Silver shiftings, / Rings veering out of rings, / Silver – gold – / Grey – green opaqueness sliding down, / With sharp white bubbles / Shooting and dancing, / Flinging quickly outward. / Nosing the bubbles, / Swallowing them, / Fish.” Lowell was an imagist. Her lines and use of language flash vividly in our minds and she reminds us that aquariums hold more than just fish; they also hold our dreams.
In terms of our dreams, what colors we see are very important and say much about our feelings on certain topics. Beige represents indifference or neutrality. Blue may represent the desire to get away – escape, let’s say. Green means growth or change. The colors we see in our dreams act as subconscious guides. They are like lucid fortune cookies. Why can’t aquariums work the same way? Lowell seems to suggest that they do.
The poem continues, “Roped and curled, / Green man-eating eels / Slumber in undulate rhythms, / With crests laid horizontal on their backs. / Barred fish, / Striped fish, / Uneven disks of fish.” Fish of all kind roam in aquariums; some are pretty and some are ugly. The world of aquarium fish is a lot like our world. There is variety and a wide array of erratic feelings. We should view aquariums as therapeutic mirrors, devices able to shed light on our own feelings and desires. Stare into it as a fortuneteller stares into a crystal ball and let the colors swoop into your mind. Let them clear a path for you or, as Lowell puts it, “And long blue waves / Rise steadily beyond the outer islands.” We too should rise beyond the outer islands and follow our guides: algae eating fish.
*Image courtesy of Vera Kratochvil