Gifts: Archetypal feminine energy (whatever feminine means to you). Playfulness. Joy. Interdependence. Faith. Fun.
Challenges: Not taking things seriously enough. Blind faith without balance of thought. Noisy. Too blunt.
Otter just screams “fun,” doesn’t it? When you think of otters, “playful” is probably the first word that comes to mind. It’s easy to dismiss fun as frivolous, as taking away from productivity rather than adding to it—as if productivity were the most important thing on earth. Otter echoes what science shows: That play is essential for peak performance, for high productivity, and for effective innovation.
It’s not that Otter cares about performance, productivity, or even innovation. It’s that we humans seem to need a purpose for everything. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that “beauty is its own excuse for being.” And yet here we are needing a “legitimate” reason to have fun. Otter says that fun is its own excuse for being. But, if you really need a reason, then think about how your performance, productivity, and innovation will increase after you have a little fun.
Otter’s playfulness is a great tool for managing various expressions of fear. Fear may not be fun, but, when you notice your fear sneaking in, you can switch gears into a more playful mode. You can get curious about why you’re feeling as if you’re not good enough. You can gently tease yourself about trying to avoid other people’s ridicule. You can laugh at your stubbornness and be playful about making a change for the better. Laughter reduces your physiological stress response, making stressful or fear-filled situations easier to deal with. Imagine how you could take a cue from Otter and waterslide your way through solving a problem. Doesn’t that sound like more fun than pushing a boulder up a hill?
Otter is a symbol of archetypal feminine energy and helps you develop power and solve problems from a more archetypically feminine perspective. While power is often associated with archetypal masculine energy, the power that comes from archetypal feminine energy is equally valid and valuable. Talk to Otter about what that power looks like to embody your own personal version of archetypal feminine energy. archetypal masculine problem-solving often involves solitary brainstorming and contemplation followed by taking action or issuing instructions. Otter models a strategy for a collaborative marinating of ideas. Otters sleep by holding paws and floating together, so that nobody goes adrift. For you the lesson is to work with others in the contemplation stage rather than risk failing with an idea that doesn’t float.
The risk with Otter is that you put such a priority on fun-for-fun’s-sake that you don’t take things seriously enough. You may dismiss other people’s values or priorities as boring or stodgy. Remember that holding of paws? That’s not just fun Otter holding onto fun Otter. It’s fun holding onto serious, which can be even more important than fun holding onto fun.