Glowing Octopus by ccarlstead, flickr Glowing Octopus by ccarlstead, flickr

Book passage to the South Pacific  where Jacques Cousteau made his mark. When you charter your boat to find your octopus you will discover, in fact, that they use the same tanks, much of the same equipment, designed by the inventor of the Aqua-Lung. His name and methods are sacrosanct. He has shown you this way to love. Watch and listen. Ask questions. Pay attention. Be aware. This is the mark of the lover.

While you wait for passage discover what it’s like to be an octopus by learning to breathe underwater. Enroll in a scuba class.  Begin to learn now that to prepare to meet an octopus you will have to learn a way that is the opposite way of being terrestrial. Your feet are crazy long, you have no peripheral vision, and your breathing makes you sound like a monster. To enter a portal requires transformation and patience. You will also learn of possible injury from the process of the dive and even death, and yet, you do it for love.

Sit on the edge of the chartered Opunohu boat in the blue crystalline waters off the coast of Moorea. Hold your mask as you flip backwards off the edge into rolling waves. At last, you have entered your own sweet blue planet, the tropical reefs of French Polynesia, in search of your love, the Giant Pacific Octopus. At last you will have an encounter with an alternate reality, another form of consciousness.  At last you will reach across the vertebrate divide to know and be known.

Like all who are pursued and truly desired, your octopus will be illusive. Know that and be patient. She is the master of disguise and changing skin. She is invisible though right before you. She is silent, immobile, watching you as you move over the reef looking for her. You may find evidence of her dinner of scallops and if you are so lucky, an arm full of suckers protruding from her den. If you are polite, and move away, she may come out to greet you the next time you visit. Your acceptance of her need for privacy strengthens her to be brave. If you are slow in your motions and patient on your subsequent visits, she may even take your arm and show you around. She may even introduce you to her friends.

A lover bears gifts. Do not visit bereft of certain tokens of affection. Toys are gifts for an octopus, for the intelligent creature loves a challenge. Do not bore your octopus! Several examples of good toys are as follows: screwtop jars, bottles, plastic screw apart Easter eggs or balls, various video cameras she will enjoy dismantling and dragging into her den. Do not arrive without a crab in a jar or a piece of shrimp in a Mister Potato Head or a lobster in a trap. Watch her with admiration as she springs her food from the trap and devours it, tasting it as it passes from sucker to sucker and into her mouth in the center of her warped star figure.

When you have formed a bond of trust with the object of your love, submit yourself to her curiosity.  Do not shudder as those naturalists and artists of the past. Surely this is not in the lover’s nature, to be repulsed. Instead consider the light suctioning kisses a sweet tasting of your skin, her silken tendril arms moving over your arms and shoulders the gentle exploration of new love, the rapid changes in skin color pleasurable blushes, the pulse of ink and exit a flirtation, the regard of the dark slit eyes the all knowing all loving gaze of the divine.

You could keep a lover if you wish. Some do. In a large fish tank emulating the ocean. She will want to be by the television. And if she can, she will get out and eat the leftovers on the counter and sink. She will crawl onto your shoulder and head and watch tv.  She will cheer on your team. She will watch your favorite shows. If you feed her, if you entertain her, if you love her, she will never leave.


This loosely references the work of Sy Montgomery, and in particular, The Soul of an Octopus. The documentary Aliens of the Deep was also a helpful source.