"The term 'sea urchin' refers to the 'regular echinoids,' which are symmetrical and globular." So says the on line encyclopaedia 'Wikipedia'. It goes on to add, "Sea urchins are members of the phylum Echinodermata, which also includes sea stars, sea cucumbers, brittle stars, and crinoids. Like other echinoderms they have fivefold symmetry (called pentamerism) and move by means of hundreds of tiny, transparent, adhesive "tube feet"."
That's the technical bit!
This picture was inspired by the 365Project theme of 'Look but don't touch'. The sea urchin is among the most fragile things in the china cabinet. It was found on a beach in Donegal and with careful packing it survived the journey home. Since then I've moved house twice and again it remains unscathed.
In a totally non-logical jumble on the top shelf it sits among other 'treasures' which include our Dad's medals from the Second World War, Tyrone Crystal sugar bowl, glass frog from Swaziland, a fine pottery object from Venice, an egg cup from the 1950s ... and so on, and so on ... I end up collecting 'things' and because they all have associations then they have a place on the display shelves.
I didn't know that the sea urchin is a close relative to the sand dollar.
The five-fold symmetry is clear on both of these.
Different varieties but the same 'family'. They too have a place in the china cabinet - come to think of it - there's very little 'china' in the display unit at all! There is lots of glass and other objects that I want to protect but the china is stored somewhere else.
My sand dollars came from Hawaii - sadly it wasn't I who collected them!
The sand dollar has Christian symbolism associated with it - this poem appears in a number of different versions but all of them emphasise the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Upon this odd-shaped sea shell
A legend grand is told
About the life of Jesus
The wondrous tale of old
The center marking plainly shows
The well known Guiding Star
That led to tiny Bethlehem
The Wise Men from afar
The Christmas flower, Poinsettia
For His Nativity
The Resurrection too is marked
The Easter Lily, see
Five wounds were suffered by our Lord
From nails and Roman's spear
When He died for us on the cross
The wounds show plainly here
Within the shell, should it be broke,
Five Doves of Peace are found
To emphasize this legend
So may Love and Peace abound
I've never broken one to see the 'doves' that rattle around on the inside - tempted, but haven't done it yet!
The sea urchin and the sand dollars highlight the amazing beauty that there is in creation.
All your works praise you, O God,
and your faithful servants bless you.
They make known the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your power.
For these and all God's gifts and graces,
let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Celebrating Common Prayer.
Grace after meals.