Book Review: “What the Walrus Knows”

I’ve always been an avid reader. Everything from fiction to biographies have passed by my eyes so very few books surprise me anymore. However, Sarah Bamford Seidelmann’s book “What the Walrus Knows” has actually left me feeling a little in shock. Sarah’s book discusses the power that “beasties,” or animals, can bring to us; though not in your typical sense. This isn’t a book about how owning a dog can change your life (though she does admit that this does happen) or how training kittens can make you a better person. Instead, it’s about listening to the natural world around us and interpreting meaning from signs and signals that “beasties” relay to us. This may mean garnering a personal message when a squirrel drops a nut on your head or when a crow caws loudly outside your window – examples of ‘Guest Beasties’ who come to us briefly to deliver a message.

I know, seems a bit strange. That was my initial impression too. Then as I delved a bit deeper into the book I came to the section on ‘Core Beasties’ or your inner animal that you have a special connection with (which you might not have even known about prior to reading this book). Sarah provides an easy method for uncovering your Core Beastie – who can provide insight into why you do the things you do, how to approach new projects, or how to simply interpret an event – by including a series of simple questions you can ask yourself. For example, what was the first stuffed animal you owned as a child? Or, if you look around your room, do you have any animal decorations? That’s when it hit me – my Core Beastie is a tiger! The first stuffed animal I ever owned was a tiger cub named Raja and glancing about my room I noticed I had a tiger rug as well as a picture frame with tiger stripes. Damn. After that “ah-hah” moment, I really began to listen to what Sarah was saying in this book. That’s when I realized she is an extremely talented writer with an intimate connection to nature that most people would never be able to understand – until now.

Her book lets everyone in on the secret of how to connect with your natural surroundings and the myriad of creatures that populate it. A reference guide in the back allows you to see what each and every creature represents so if you come across a “beastie” and aren’t quite sure what to make of it, you can flip to the back of the book and read the beautifully poetic messages that each animal may bring to us. This all might sound a little bit confusing, but trust me, it’s definitely worth a read. She can explain everything way better than I can, after all! If you’re at all interested in cultivating a deeper sense of self-awareness and/or creating a strong bond with nature then you should read “What the Walrus Knows.”

You can buy Sarah Bamford Seidelmann’s book on her website here.

Edit: I’ll be giving away two copies of “What the Walrus Knows” to two lucky readers who comment on this post. Just write something and I’ll pick your names out of a hat! Good luck!

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  • Ciara

    Another spirit guide type book that I’ve found, but for plants, is called Plant Spirit Healing by Pam Montgomery. Helps us realize the connection and energy that flows through all thing sin the natural world. :)

  • Amanda

    I think my first stuffed animal was a dinosaur. Not sure how that’s going to work now…

  • CarlyB

    @Amanda: The book says mythical or extinct animals can still work… you’re in luck! Get the book and you can find out how to work it 😉

  • Tesse

    I’ve always wondered if those squirrels on my college campus were trying to tell me something… The daily treks up the hill to class were either dodgeball (with nuts) or a gauntlet of chattering…


    Carly- Thank you so much for your lovely review and comments! Thrilled that you discovered a Core Beastie (big smile)…for me, it was life changing. Love the work you do here by inspiring the world with the incredible, strange and amazing Creatures and Beasties that there are! It seems to me there are as many incredibly unique Beasties as there are humans:) Peace, Sarah


    Oops meant to post as myself :) Wanted to also say how wondrous all of your photos and images are- just stunning!!!! Thanks Carly:) Sarah

  • Pissmachine

    As someone who is typically skeptical of this sort of thing, I would love to read this book.

  • Char Reed

    This book looks neat! I’ve had a strong connection with cheetahs ever since grade school, and I’m curious if her book would kind of confirm or deny this :) Very cool! Thanks for mentioning it!

  • Sarah Seidelmann

    PM- It’s fabulous to be a skeptic with this stuff actually;). I was when I first began to explore in this way:). I hope you win one of the books and play with it- see if it resonates? Cheers! Sarah

  • Sarah Bamford Seidelmann

    Char- I love Cheetahs- master of the sprint:) Here is a bit from The Cheetah Manifesto that I am working on to create an Iphone app featuring the Beasties! See if anything resonates:) Hope you are one of the winners:) Peace! Sarah

    Take in the wide angle. See all the way around.

    Thrive in the cool of dawn. Be first to flourish.

    From conflict. When challenged. To preserve self.

    Share the vibe of contentment. Purr. Grin groovily.

  • Sarah Bamford Seidelmann

    Amanda – you might want to look into the Dragon too:) Even extinct or Mythical Beasties can be our Core Beasties:) Sarah

  • Sarah Bamford Seidelmann

    Tesse- Those Squirrels probably were!! Hmmm…curious- wonder what they had to say? Namaste, Sarah

    a bit from the Squirrel Manifesto:
    Stay alert. Notice threats. Send out an alarm.

    Explore curiously. Examine. Appreciate. Merge.

    Look around. Trust what you see. Up, down, all around.

  • ENVSgirl22

    I just voted for your blog to win! for all the great posts and oh those Bat Fetuses were super adorbs like you said (never thought that would ever happen :)

  • Dapper-T

    I wonder what the crow who scraped his claws across my scalp the other day was trying to tell me?

    I voted for your blog…hope you win!!

  • Mrs. F

    I have always been a wolf girl. They are so calm and I love their pack loyalty.

  • cgj

    OK, this sounds like a book I’d like to explore!

  • Allie

    This book sounds awesome. Thanks for making me aware of it!

  • alyssastinks

    This sounds really interesting, my room has always been a zoo of stuffed animals, not sure which one has resonated the most. I’ll have to check this book out.

  • camelsonaspringtimestreet

    Would love to read this

  • Sarah Bamford Seidelmann

    Alyssa- I have heard it said that the reason so many kids have oodles of stuffed animals and cannot get enough is that they are surrounding themselves with Beastie energy for comfort (because we now lives lives so far away from Nature)—I love that idea. When adults reconnect with that Core Beastie it can be really magical what happens…internal shifts that produce big changes!

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely love this adorable book! Pictures are GREAT too!! With love anything is possible! ♥