Silver Gull – Nuisance
* This essay has been written specifically on the Australian silver gulls, though many of its lessons apply to many urbanised gulls.
Being a nuisance. Not giving yourself or others a break. Scavenging. Taking too much from others. Misplaced aggression. Seeing opportunity. Draining and being drained. Recognising the need to look after yourself. Stopping guilt cycles. Recognising harmful manifestation of emotion. Embracing personal power.
Australia has many species of gull, however the silver gull is the most common in Australia. It has adapted to urban environments such as shopping centres, cities, garbage dumps, markets and the suburbs. They are often fed by tourists and locals which – since they are already quite aggressive birds – causes them to become more aggressive over time, attacking those on picnics and stealing food. Silver gulls also represent a potential disease risk and their growing numbers seriously disrupt other ecosystems as they often steal eggs and offspring of other birds.
The silver gull is a very social creature, using sophisticated behavioural postures to indicate rank and mood within a group at any one time. They live coastally or close to the coast and breed once a year (Western Australian gulls will unusually breed twice a year if they can). They are scavengers and omnivorous in habit and will try eating anything they can. No matter how hungry they look when they find you, it’s not a good idea to feed them, they are opportunistic and are more than adept at finding their own food.
Lessons and Challenges:
Note: These lessons are based more specifically off the silver gull in Australia, which is considered a pest in many coastal cities and towns. Other seagulls will understandably have different lessons to teach.
Unlike some of the other animals that I’ve written about, the silver gull doesn’t teach about appropriate aggression; rather it teaches about misplaced aggression. Too much anger drains yourself, and it drains others. Indeed one of the more significant lessons of seagull, particularly silver gull, is that of being an energy drain not only with yourself and your life at this time, but also with others.
Silver gull energy suggests that in this stage in your life, you are possibly being a nuisance to others. There’s no real tactful way of saying that (or if there is, I haven’t found it yet). Nevermind, seagull isn’t really about tact either.
Watch out for harmful manifestations of emotion. There is a potential at this time to be over-argumentative. As mentioned above, misplaced aggression is indicated with silver gull, and you may find yourself in situations of conflict frequently. Take the time to recognise your part in such situations, and if there are possible ways to minimise your role in generation conflict.
How are you are being a nuisance tends to be fairly specific. You are either ‘scavenging’ from others; for example, siphoning off their money, time, food and resources without giving anything back. Or alternatively you are taking too much of their energy by demanding a great deal of their time or having expectations that are too high.
Silver gull can be a tough energy for many people to take, but at the heart of silver gull energy is a real opportunist. If seagull is in your life, you have the ability to successfully locate opportunity. The downside is that you may not be able to find enough sources of energy at this current time in your life. Chances are you have become so adept at finding opportunity precisely because you are unable to feed your own power with your own resources.
So along with silver gull’s less savoury lessons, comes the need to understand that you need to look after yourself and embrace your own personal power. When people act from a place of power, they do not need to drain or use the energy of others to sustain themselves. When you learn how to care and look after yourself, you will not need the time of others so acutely and your exchanges with others will become more meaningful.
Part of silver gull’s rather unique charm is that it points out the sorts of behaviour that can make the average person feel guilty, and yet then explicitly teaches us how to let go of guilt cycles. It is not about feeling bad for taking from others, it is about feeling good for being an opportunist, and learning how to direct that opportunism at the self so that you can locate ways to nourish and heal yourself from the inside out.
When you are able to give yourself a break, you will be able to give other people a break too. Likewise, when you learn how to feed your own energy, you will stop starving others of theirs.
The Shadow Aspects:
Silver gull’s shadow aspect challenges you to abandon guilt. This is a difficult lesson in today’s society, where people hang onto feeling guilty and feeling like a victim for simply being alive. Silver gull comes in with a loud and abrasive caw to say ‘get rid of it!’ Guilt is a fairly useless emotion, it is unproductive and stops us from being proactive enough to change our situation. If you are hurting others or yourself, it is up to you to stop it.
Silver gull also suggests that you might be feeling guilty for circumstances which are completely out of your control, or for irrational reasons. You might feel you have hurt someone’s feelings, when you haven’t. You might feel you are draining people and taking too much from others, when you haven’t. Be rational and objective about your demands upon other people and how proportional your guilt is to those demands.
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. Silver gull can be very stern about teaching folks how to break guilt patterns. The general attitude seems to be, ‘sure, you’re not very likeable right now, but you can’t start healing that until you stop feeling guilty about it!’
I really enjoy working with silver gull, because when s/he pops in raucously, you generally know specifically where the problems learn, very quickly, where the problems are and how to negotiate them. Silver gull does not bother with riddles, and is straight down the line. A warning however; encounters may leave you feeling drained, and silver gull demands – in my own experience – more offerings than other animal spirits that I’ve worked with. I feel it is an appropriate price to pay considering how much wisdom silver gull can impart in a fairly short amount of time; but it’s good to be aware beforehand that silver gull is a very entrepreneurial animal spirit to work with.