Even their name is beautiful.

I emailed someone, and her auto-reply suggested taking a look at this website:

I clicked. (I always click…I am trying to learn not to but… curiosity…) And I clicked again. (If you didn’t click, here’s where you do that, by the way.)

And I laughed. And I thought of all the friends with whom I’d really like to share this. And then I got to a slide which offered further information. And I ended up on a manatee information website. And because I’m trying to re-train my attention span, I read the entire site.


I learned a lot about manatees!

If ever there was an advocate for slow living, it’s these guys. There is no rushing a manatee. They’re not sexually mature til five, and even then they don’t have a baby every year. When a calf is born, it’s usually just one, and it’s nursed by it’s mother for two years.

They swim at a speed of around 4 miles an hour…that’s about the speed you walk down the road. But moving through the sea. Gracefully, weightlessly.

Manatees are freegans – like cows they munch on sea vegetation all day long but also accidentally ingest tiny creatures. Oops.

And they’re snuggly too – they need nice warm water to live in and can’t go below 20C for long. I can relate to that.

And they can live to 60 years old. Just swimming around a bit, finding warm places to hang out, mating, nursing, and eating. All super slow, all super chilled. In a warm way.


Naturally this all made me think about tarot.

Which card, I wondered, is a manatee?

It’s not the Knight of Pentacles… they’re too fixed on an actual goal. I don’t think manatees have goals. Maybe the goal of finding warmer water when winter comes on, or a nice sea-leaf. (Any manatees reading this btw, feel free to correct me in the comments).

It’s not the Page of Cups… despite all that exploratory floatiness I kinda don’t think manatees have the heartfelt curiosity of this card.

I think we can agree that wands are definitely out. Probably swords too.

Could it be the Knight of Cups? It feels to me like manatees really know how to commit. But the Knight of Cups borders on obsessive in my opionion. I can’t see a manatee obsessing over *anything*.

Then I turned to the majors. Aha!

A manatee is an Empress!

They know what they need, and how to get it. They’re sociable. They know how to commit and I bet they are super loving. They’re big and earthy and beautiful and gentle and are queens of their world. They’re relatives of elephants – an animal I also associate with The Empress.

Despite‘s very good and clear advice about not touching or interacting with manatees, I can totally imagine having a truly wonderful time round at Empress Manatee’s place. She’d make a lovely sea-salad and listen warmly as I poured out all my feelings. I can imagine she’d be a real underwater earth-mama, giving me a big hug and making me feel like everything was gonna be just fine.

Yep. I like manatees.


PS if anyone would like to purchase these for me, I would be 100% delighted.

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  1. Joanne says:

    What a lovely idea for a deck, actually. Wildlife alternatives for the cards (not just the courts like in Wildwood) and using photos. That would be neat. Even simple use of maybe plant shapes for the minors except for the courts (cuppy-looking water plants, wandsy-looking trees, disky-looking flowers or fruits, swordsy-looking grasses).

    I kind of saw that you weren’t going to get too far with the minors, and the Empress is absolutely perfect for your manatee!

    • Beth says:

      Tee hee! Yes, as if I could really know what a manatee is like. I’ve never even met one! And probably never will. But she sure *feels* like an empress to me 😉

      I love the deck idea Joanne. There are a few animal-based decks out there – the Druid Animal Oracle being the first that springs to mind. Thinking specifically tarot (as most are oracle decks) the Wildwood courts are all animals, and they often surprise you – Page of Stones is a lynx, King of Bows is an adder. This has really developed my understanding of the court cards, the four suits and the four elements too.

    • Beth says:

      The Zen of Manatee, haha! There’s a website.

      Honestly, I’ve never felt a strong desire to go to Florida (I went once actually, years ago) but as I was reading that Manatee website I was this close to booking a ticket.

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