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Betta raja as Totem
By Ravenari   |   Watch
71 15 261 (1 Today)
Published: March 6, 2019
© 2019 Ravenari
Male is shown.

ETSY store (this has the actual flash/iridescence if you want to see the photos that show it!)

Honestly, I had a lot of complicated feelings doing this series of Bettas. It mostly drew my attention to the awfulness of the pet trade, that linebreeding for aggression has produced a lot of beautiful but overly aggressive pet fish that rarely live out their full lifespans in distress, even when they are kept in large tanks. Looking at the original species, instead of the B. splendens line (which, imho, is the pug/bulldog/boston terrier of the fish trade -> overbred, partly destroyed, beauty-over-temperament, aggression-over-soundness), highlighted how few people know these beautiful species exist, and those who do are often exploiting them for the aquarium trade. Many are declining in their original populations, or even Critically Endangered, exposed to population, exploited.

They are known as 'fighting fish' but in the wild many will live together and coexist with enough room to maintain territories. They are paternally nurturing. They are capable of more intimacy than some other species of fish and they are shy and easily intimidated by larger fish (one of the main reasons 'wild-type' Bettas can't actually be housed with some other species is because they are harrassed and then refuse to breed).

Spending time with these beautiful, but misunderstood energies has been a disturbing, enlightening process. These are vastly misunderstood animals, that are in their natural state, not inclined to fight to the death, and prefer to keep to themselves, in their own territory. They are shy, easily intimidated, and prefer dark places. For most people, the Betta that you have been raised to understand, is not the Betta you'll find in nature.

***

Keywords:

Finding wisdom in the dark. Nurturing. Paternal instincts. Unfussy. Don’t be discerning. Make do with what you have. Murk magic. Exploited beauty. Aggression and powerlessness. Exploitation. Confinement. Small spaces. Adaptation. Integration. Filling every niche. Every place has purpose. Guardian of decomposition and decay. Dark energies. Grounding your emotions. Shyness and intimidation. Needing a place that is only yours. Understanding the necessity of the labyrinth. Flashes of insight. Intimacy. Needing a certain social order. Hierarchy and authority.

*

Watercolour pencil / pencil / ink / metallic and iridescent acrylic -> Crescent cold-pressed illustration board ->  18.5 x 20.5 cm (or 7.2 x 8 in).

Image size
2500x2221px 10.63 MB
IMAGE DETAILS
Software
Adobe Photoshop CS2 Windows
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Comments (15)
RainComa's avatar
RainComa|Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for your GREAT descriptions with your WONDERFUL art/animal shields. I have been trying to find Betta symbolism for a bit and its always based on loneliness and being aggressive. Not me or what I'm feeling at all from the spirit. 

Ive been a fan of yours for years, but never thought to comment till now.

Thank you so much for doing rare and beautiful animals and giving your perception on them. It really is helpful and inspiring. 
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Ravenari's avatar
Ravenari|Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for this. Tbh, before I started like, meditating with Betta and researching Bettas, I actually thought their keyword would be something like 'aggression' or 'fierceness' - it's what you hear the most, right? So I'd just assumed. And it wasn't until I started pushing deeper, that it was like 'OH MAN.' There's probably not a better totem animal for teaching people how profoundly we can misunderstand something based solely on word of mouth, and a great totem for sitting with the feeling of 'wow, I got this wrong for so long' while still having forgiveness there, because honestly I felt like the Betta conveyed a sense of grief, but also a sense of survival and tenacity, despite everything and despite their fragility, they still do live in the most amazing environments that other animals would die in, and they attempt to persist again and again.
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RainComa's avatar
RainComa|Hobbyist General Artist
oh man...yes..so much yes. When I started to see betta 'swimming' about me...its energies were shy, gentle and almost serene. So I went to see what other people said. All the opinions were so aggressive and violent. It just didnt add up with my feelings.

Your description opened my eyes and validated my feelings. I wasnt as aware of the betta pet trade but I know I didnt approve of how they were shipped in kept in the tiny containers. Never seemed right to me. 
They are truly beautiful creatures. 

Keep up the good work, its inspiring :)
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Ravenroseserpent's avatar
Ravenroseserpent|Student General Artist
just another beautiful Betta and love the silver grey and colours in background like the fish is swimming in water 
and happy to seen you back again and love you are doing fishes
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Ravenari's avatar
Ravenari|Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I'd like to do more fishes in the future, though the next batch is cranes. :D
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rosiecrafts's avatar
rosiecrafts|Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
beautiful design and colors!Icon - Fish 
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Ravenari's avatar
Ravenari|Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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Lethal-Woman's avatar
Very natural looking your colors. Beautiful!

Beautiful by cutecolorful
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Ravenari's avatar
Ravenari|Professional Traditional Artist

Thank you! :D

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Lethal-Woman's avatar
My great pleasure :aww:
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Doll-Ladi's avatar
You have a good eye for beauty
Lya by bast4cats
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Ravenari's avatar
Ravenari|Professional Traditional Artist

Thank you so much!

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Doll-Ladi's avatar
Your most welcome. :aww:
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RavenHeart1984's avatar
RavenHeart1984|Professional Traditional Artist
Betta Fish 3 Betta Fish 2 Fish 3 Fish 3 Betta Fish 2 Betta Fish 3 
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Ravenari's avatar
Ravenari|Professional Traditional Artist

Thank you, but it's actually those Betta that make me so sad for the wild-type Betta. They are so overbred.

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anonymous's avatar
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