Animal Symbolism of the Otter
The animal symbolism of the otter relies a lot on its environment. As an aquatic animal, the otter is a symbol of life. Why? Because the prime symbolic meaning of water deals with the divine feminine, which is a major life-giving energy. Water (and otters) are symbolic of creativity, fluidity and transitions. The otter's affinity to water is also symbolic of healing. Consider: Water is a purifying, cleansing element. It makes sense water-loving creatures such as the otter will share those purifying qualities too.
Otter meaning is also closely connected to lunar symbolism. Water, the moon and otters have a long, symbolic history together. Indeed, the Algonquin named one of their full moons the "otter moon". Otters are most active in the spring and summer. Typically the otter moon would be the first full moon after the spring equinox. If you dig this concept, check out my article on Native American Full Moons here.
For years, I've been fascinated by the concept of liminality. The word "liminal" is Latin, which means "threshold" or the space between. The concept of liminalness deals with neither here, nor there. It is the in-between. A good example in nature of liminal time/space includes twilight because that time is "in-between". It is neither day, nor night. I mention this because the animal symbolism of otters is rife with liminal essence. Why? Because where the water meets the earth is a liminal space. There is a meniscus between water and land that is neither wholly wet or entirely dry. Hence, it is a liminal space.
Given this nifty little attribute, it's no wonder the otter is considered to be a powerful symbol of initiation - especially in Native American lore, as well as Celtic legend. Ojibwa tribes are purported to call upon the spirit of the otter in birth, death and marriage ceremonies. They recognized these are major points of transition. A tribe member requires initiation from one phase of life into the next. Because the otter is adept at moving in-between (liminal spaces), it's a perfect energy to call upon when moving between two stages of life.
Getting married? Having a baby? Is a loved one transitioning into non-physical? Consider a humble request for the otter's presence during these occasions. The otter's light-hearted, caring, transition-savvy energy will insure these embarkations will be launched smoothly and with blessing.
Remember the mention of otter's animal symbolism to the divine feminine? This association is also connected to initiation. Consider giving birth. If that isn't a major initiation (new life into this world), then I don't know what is! The otter is the perfect energy to invoke during childbirth. A good friend of mine even had an otter themed baby shower! How cool is that?! What a positive, playful animal spirit to make way for a new life!
Speaking of playful, otters are that and then some! The animal symbolism of the otter is married to the idea of play, joy and having fun. If you've ever observed a romp of otters (appropriately, a "romp" is one of the terms for a group of otters) it's highly likely you saw some good-hearted roughhousing and frolicking. As a totem or animal spirit guide, the otter reminds us of the value of a good romp. If you're over-taxed, over-stressed you might be well served by tapping into otter energy. These play-packed critters will get you laughing and jump-jiving with joy in no time.
Part of that sense of play comes from the otter's high level of curiosity. I remember lazily rafting in Vermont and encountering a river otter. This little fellow was mightily curious about me, my raft, the oars...everything! He popped his head over the side of the raft and even palmed my oars. He took a gander at me, and took an even closer look at my lunch! LOL. In time, my little friend sated his curiosity and dunked back into the water, swimming off to other otter-delights. I was struck by how fearless this little guy was.
Fearlessness is another great symbolic attribute of the otter. They don't have a whole lot of enemies in the wild, which might augur that sense of self-security. When it comes to animal symbolism, the otter is a fabulous friend to call upon when you need a boost in courage. Not only is this creature fearless, she is also ferocious when it comes to protecting her family and territory.
Here are some summarizing tips on how the otter can help and guide you through life:
Be sure to check out the links at the end of this page for more awesome articles related to animal symbolism and more. Thanks for reading!
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!