Dwellers of the Deep

The undersea world holds mysteries we can barely conceive. Its seemingly endless waters remain the last great frontier on earth, luring adventurers, challenging science, and inspiring poets, artists, and the romantic at heart. The simplest explanation for this allure is that there is more to the ocean than meets the eye. Hidden beneath its featureless surface, millions upon millions of creatures -- some familiar, some fantastically strange -- live, feed, breed, and die. It is almost as if our planet contained two separate worlds, which have only just begun to discover each other.

Within the box below (print it out!) is a picture of a coral branch. This exercise requires you to draw an octopus (or more than one) anywhere within the box.

Key to Dwellers of the Deep

Carl Jung, one of the founders of psychoanalysis, observed that the octopus, with its sinister, alien appearance, slippery invertebrate form, and tentacles that stretch in all directions, is a commonly encountered symbol of stress and anxiety. Your artwork sheds some light on the level and nature of stress in your life.

The size and number of octopuses you drew reflect the importance and number of worries in your life. A single huge octopus indicates a preoccupation with a single great concern, while a number of smaller octopuses swarming everywhere is a sign that you feel overwhelmed by minor stresses and annoyances on all sides. If you drew a small, friendly-looking creature bobbing happily beneath the waves, good for you! No one said that life has to be a cold, dark abyss.

The position of the octopus in relation to the coral is also significant. If you drew a free-floating octopus, it means you believe that your stress, however great it may be, is resolvable. But if you drew the octopus clinging tightly to the coral, it shows you feel as if you're locked in a stranglehold of entanglements.

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