An encounter with a shark is not recommended at close range, unless one is in an aquarium or safely aboard a reasonably sized watercraft! Sharks have been known to not only attack hapless swimmers; there are many tales of attacks being made on small dinghies and boats. The term ‘shark’ has even been applied to a person who preys on or victimises others, especially through dishonesty. Sharks are incredibly powerful, and like Crocodile, Snake, Spider and other dangerous creatures, evokes a fearsome response in many. Associated with terror and violence, Shark has a special place with these creatures. From a ‘higher’ perspective, he gives people an opportunity to express courage in the face of fear and death, and overcome severe pain and hardship.
A Dreaming about Shark attributes his infamous fin to a boomerang thrown in a battle with the Oyster brothers. The argument, perhaps typical of Shark, was over food! If Shark appears in your life, you can be sure issues around your diet will be under the focus. Shark can also cause one to confront and perhaps re-evaluate their views around violence. Personal boundaries of assertive action versus passive acceptance may be tested.
There are many myths and beliefs about these fearsome creatures. To the Japanese, sharks represented terror, which is why they painted sharks with their prominent teeth upon their aeroplanes in World War 2. Another ancient belief testifies sharks were born from the mouths of volcanoes. Sharks rarely get cancer, a fact being studied by scientists searching for cures. Also, products from sharks are used in cosmetics, plus we often end up with shark (flake) when we buy good ol’ fish and chips. So in reality, shark plays a more beneficent role than a malevolent role in our lives. He is more persecuted by us than we are by him!
When someone has no ‘backbone’, it means they lack courage. However, Shark has no true backbone – he has cartilage instead! Boneless he may be, cowardly he isn’t. Shark may encourage you to look beyond external fears or violence to discover the softness within. Alternatively, this very pliability may well prove to be a great strength, bringing with it the almost invincible energy of this great oceanic creature. Sharks were possibly the first creatures on this planet to give birth to live young (sharks have been around for millions of years). Not the first of mothers, yet as a symbol, they may point to expressions of anger or aggressiveness within the parenting role.
Danger and safety may be an issue wherever you encounter Shark – are you really free from harm? (And remember, in one year, more people die from bee stings or lightning hits, than from shark attack!) Shark can also tip the balance between need and greed resulting in an assessment of motives and needs. There’s a shark out there somewhere – are you game enough to go for a swim? The water looks inviting! Will you dive in?
* here’s a wonderful PDFs file on the meaning of shark and stingray: Click here
 Reed, A.W. “Aboriginal Myths, Legends & Fables.”