Today’s world offers many challenges, and the last few years have seen a dramatic rise in popularity of returns to some of the old ways where spirituality and guidance are concerned.
All Shamanic spirituality, no matter which part of the world it is derived from, involves the recognition of animal spirit guides. The Native American belief is that these guides enter the spirit at birth and stay with the individual throughout their life. Other branches of Shamanism believe that guides can be temporary, coming only in times of challenge or change and that some people can have several guides all at the same time.
Some people instinctively know which animal is their spirit guide while others will have to work towards identification. There are many excellent resources that can teach how this can be done which are available through courses, books or the Internet.
Sometimes there will be a great similarity between the attributes and qualities of character of an individual and their guide while at others the purpose of that animal is to teach and imbue those strengths where they are needed to overcome problems, arrive at difficult decisions or become free of pain and anxiety.
In addition to specific qualities of an animal they will also represent one or more of the four elements of earth, air, fire and water which will add further to the messages and lessons you will receive.
The otter will spend time on both land and in the water and therefore represents both earth and water elements and all the energies associated with them.
The otter is an extremely playful creature which has been observed engaging in behaviour which has no other purpose than that of pleasure. The otter brings a message of light-heartedness and teaches appreciation that not everything in life is about work although there are times when that has to be done. Learning to laugh and play are strong messages here.
The grace and litheness of form of the otter is a strong feminine symbol but this doesn’t mean that men are less likely to have the otter as their guide. Both genders have female attributes which should be nurtured and recognised for balance. In fact this is displayed where the young of the otter are concerned; mother, father and other offspring all participate in caring for any young. Furthermore, the otter is known as a particularly caring and protective mother when compared to other water mammals and the young will remain with them for almost a year. At its best, the feminine symbol is about healing, wisdom and nurturing. These may be qualities already held by an individual or those that must be learned for fulfilment of a personal journey.
The otter is known to be a highly curious creature who will thoroughly explore their surrounding environment and all that is in it. The otter teaches the wisdom of not taking everything at face value but being prepared to consider people, places and situations from all angles and relishing opportunities to explore new horizons.
Many otters will be solitary animals outside of breeding times, and this attribute imbues those with the otter as their guide to have inherent self-reliance and independence while staying connected to others around them.
When otters are observed swimming it will be seen that they are agile and fast. The spirit message here is to use the otter’s energy to learn how to glide through the rough waters of life and to overcome emotional obstacles, leaving behind those things which are only burdens and unnecessary.
Those who have the otter as their spirit guide may find themselves far happier if they live on or near rivers, lakes and the ocean.
All of the animal spirit guides will instruct, guide and protect, but you must allow yourself to be open to their messages and accept their teachings. This may involve accepting personal weaknesses as well as recognising strengths.