Crown-of-thorns Seastar

Crown-of-thorns Seastar – Being Overwhelmed

Crown of Thorns Seastar illustrated by Ravenari


Being overwhelmed and overwhelming others. Ignorance. Closed-mindedness. Narrowness. Destruction. Proliferation. Surviving on little. A lack of love. No support. Supporting yourself through the hard times. Global warming. Taking and never giving back. Taking others for granted. Damage.

General Description:

The crown-of-thorns seastar is a marine creature that has been known in Australia for attacking and destroying the viability of the Great Barrier Reef. The seastar has reached plague proportions and attacks and destroys many sections of coral, destroying the habit of many other creatures. It is the world’s only venomous seastar. The seastar feeds at night by excreting digestive juice onto coral polyps, then sucking up the fluids left behind in this process.

Females can release up to 60 million eggs per season, and millions of the large seastar can aggregate on one reef, destroying it in one season. The crown-of-thorns has characteristic thorny plates covering its body, as well as spines. These spines are venomous and can cause nausea, vomiting and intense pain. They are capable regeneration if parts of their body are removed.

Lessons and Challenges:

Like the aptitude of this seastar to devour its environment and overwhelm it, there is a warning against being overwhelmed, and overwhelming others. It is one of those perverse facts of life that when we are being overwhelmed in our own lives, we often extend this energy outwards so that the people around us are often too overwhelmed to help us. Alternatively it can represent a situation or circumstance which is simply being overwhelmed and running away with itself.

There is the potential for taking others for granted at this point, and you may be taking a great deal and never giving anything back. We go through times in our lives where our ‘taking’ isn’t proportionate to our giving, and vice versa. With this seastar present, you are in a taking phase of your life. Remember to take the time to value what you are taking from the world around you. It may help you to gain some perspective.

Watch out for ignorance within yourself. This seastar plunders its environment with absolutely no awareness of how much damage it does, and can represent a querent who is doing the same thing in their own lives. Watch for how you treat and take from others, and take care with how you maintain your environment.

Watch out for closed-mindedness and a narrow perspective, or an irrational unwillingness to consider other people’s perspectives. Stubbornness and a resistance to changing old views may be damaging at this point.

At this time in your life, destruction of friendships, your environment and even inner destruction may be inevitable as you overwhelm your resources and the resources of others. It is very possible that there is no support in your life, either literally, or from your own perspective. Your attitudes at the moment may alienate you from the people who are able to support you.

One of the benefits of the crown-of-thorns seastar is, very simply, that you will be able to survive on very little once the destruction has occurred (if it hasn’t already). No matter how bereft you may end up, resources of energy and strength remain. Crown-of-thorns seastar is a master at survival skills. Be prepared to support yourself through potential hard times.

We all through periods in our lives where love is lacking; self-love, receiving love from others, giving love. These can be difficult times, and this seastar indicates that an experience of this lack. It may be the cause of why you feel so overwhelmed in the first place, or why you are so quick to overwhelm others.

Despite some of the less pleasant aspects of this seastar, there is a strong indication that regardless of how you feel, you will be able to support yourself, even if it means exploiting your environment ruthlessly to do so. You have a phenomenal survival instinct, and have a lot to teach others if they observe you during times of crisis.

Damage is occurring in your immediate environment, and the world around you. The crown-of-thorns seastar draws attention to such phenomenon like global damage on the large scale, and internal damage on the small scale. What around you is suffering? Is it your work? Is it your body or spirit? Is it the place where you live or the environment around you?

The Shadow Aspects:

There is current danger in your life that threatens to overwhelm you or others to the point where you are at risk of physical, emotional and physical danger and serious harm. Crown-of-thorns seastar suggests that the reason a situation has gotten so dire is because no one acknowledged how serious it was in the first place. Serious circumstances can only be managed if one first confronts them, and then confronts their potential to be overwhelming and take this into account. Crown-of-thorns seastar energy as a shadow aspect can suggest that times are going to get worse before they get better, and its time to start preparing.

If you fear or dislike crown-of-thorns seastar, you may find that you hate the idea of taking others for granted, and being taken for granted. You may criticise yourself and others if you forget to value someone or something for even a small moment. This is a great burden to shoulder, since it’s when we take something for granted – safety, warmth, friendship – that we are able to experience comfort and contentment in small moments. It is important to recognise that we must balance valuing our lives and the people and the things in it, with ‘taking something for granted,’ remind yourself that yes, it will be there tomorrow, it will be there the next day. Sometimes it is these reminders – whether true or not – that give us the comfort we need to find the strength to continue from day to day.


Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you. Like many seastars and starfish, the crown-of-thorns seastar is a cryptic guide, though its presence is usually hard to deny in a journey or visualisation even if you don’t immediately understand what it means. It tends to require fairly hefty offerings, and beware that voluntarily inviting the crown-of-thorns into your life can also invite its less desirable, invasive elements.