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As we travel along
Laughter, chuckling like a brook,
becomes a joyful song...
"Slide along the Mother's muddy sides!
Dive and splash
into the healing waters of Life!
Drink from the
eternal Fountain of Knowledge!
Catch the darting bits of colorful Wisdom
and Feast upon them!
Sisterhood will harbor you
from the strongest tides.
Hand in hand
with your Sister,
Down the gentle River,
into the ever-flowing Seas.
Fear not the Waters
Cradled by the nurturing arms
of Mother Ocean
All work is but Play
T'wixt the Land,
and the Wave.
Life is too short
to be angry or grave!
When cracking shells under the glimmering Sun...
Admire the Pearl, yes, but...
Tis the Shell's sacrifice that feeds you.
Laughter, joyous and often, is our goal...
for Laughter is Medicine
that multiplies in the giving and heals
more than one soul!"
Wisdom shining from every brow,
Who Sings Now?
"I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity. " ~Eleanor Roose
"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play." ~Friedrich Nietzsche
"In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and - SNAP - the job's a game!" ~ Mary Poppins
"I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose. " ~Woody Allen
Otters are carnivorous aquatic mammals of the family Mustelidae which includes weasels, badgers, and polecats. As always, those drawn to Otter should also take a good look at their closest relatives. There are 13 different species of Otter and they can be found just about anywhere in the world where there is a habitat to support them.
http://otterspecialistgroup.org is an excellent place to begin learning about these fabulous frolicking "Old Men of the Sea" if you don't know anything about them. Both Sea Otter and River Otter (specifically the North American River Otter) are referenced in this poem as I have been lucky enough to see both in my lifetime. I have a great love for this particular Teacher and it was one of my first "favorites" as a child.
Perhaps only Dolphin and Seal, also Children of Lir (the Sea), come close to Otter for excellence in Teaching us about the importance of Play and Laughter in our lives, for this is the primary Wisdom of Otter. Sisterhood, the true balance of friend and helpmate without jealousy or distrust, is also Otter wisdom. Most Creatures that spend all or the majority of their time in Water, especially the Ocean, are strong carriers of Feminine energy, but it is important to remember that each of us have both a Masculine and Feminine side and both in balance are necessary for a good life.
I'm sure everyone has a favorite comedian who always makes them laugh, or perhaps even one of those special people in our lives who inspire us with their lively curiousity and playful nature. Those that never seem to loose that Inner Child are often Otter people. Perhaps my favorite example of the Otter energy is the wonderful film, "Mary Poppins". While Mrs. Banks is on the right track with her Sufferage crusade "Our daughters' daughters will adore us and they'll sing in grateful chorus, "Well done, sister suffragettes!", her focus has left her children which is the most telling indication that her Otter energy is off balance. Mr. Banks who is so blatantly beyond such frivilous things like "fun" and "play" is a more serious case of unbalanced Otter.
Rosy-cheeked Mary Poppins "practically perfect in every way" guides everyone she comes in contact with into the wonderful world of Otter. Fun-loving Bert the Chimneysweep is the perfect masculine counterpart to represent Otter energy and perched on a shelf in my living room as a daily reminder are two ragdolls made to look like Mary Poppins and Bert. When I've had a particular hard day, I'll take them down from their place and share a comforting hug with them before letting go of whatever burdens I've recently found myself carrying.
"If animals play, this is because play is useful in the struggle for survival; because play practices and so perfects the skills needed in adult life." ~ Susanna Miller
Mary Poppins: "Our first game is called "well begun is half done"
Michael: "I don't like the sound of that."
Mary Poppins: "Otherwise entitled, "let's tidy up the nursery."
Michael:" I told you she was tricky."
Work is necessary to a good life. Even if we had everything we needed, we would still need profitable daily employment. Daily chores, gardening for food and pleasure, helping family and friends with their tasks, tending children, and whatever pursuits we like turning our hand to (I like to embroider my clothes) are the most basic kinds of work, but without an element of "work" in our lives we would soon loose our healthy sense of balance in idleness, boredom and apathy. But no one ever said that work had to be torturous or a burden! Otter's endless curiousity reminds us that work engages us in Life, and that everything is interesting and worthwhile if we only look at it the right way. Her eternal childlike senses of wonder and play teach us that approaching our tasks with willing cheerful hearts united in purpose will turn even the most daunting endeavor into a game between friends.
This sounds a lot easier than it actually is in practice! There are a lot of destructive behaviors out there, a lot of distractions and we are most definitely living in a time where we are feeling the consequences of the downward spiral that our society has been in for many generations now. While this makes it that much more difficult to summon up these positive and empowering Otter attitudes, it also makes it that much more vital that we make the effort!
There are many days when I just want to snap at the next person who gets in my face with their attitude. There are many days when my own worries seem so overwhelming that I feel as if I am being crushed by their weight. Every day is a struggle to reach down and pull a reason to simply laugh, or better still, find a way to make someone else laugh. Somedays I yell, even though I know it's the wrong sort of energy to spread and therefore the very last thing I want to do. Most days I feel frustrated, sad or worried at least 50% of the time.
I spend a lot of time lately trying to find my center. To force myself to think positively, to laugh, to pretend all these positive things even if I don't actually feel them simply because I know that this is the first step towards truly manifesting these things in my life. If I can't imagine it, how can it appear? Besides, who knows, tomorrow may be better, and nothing lasts forever. Recognize when you've slipped off of your good road, but forgive yourself for it too. Even Mary Poppins wasn't perfect, just "practically perfect". We all make mistakes, we all get overwhelmed, we all have moments we aren't proud of, or have "reacted to" a situation instead of "deciding" on it. It happens, but we make mistakes in order to learn.
Instead of being angry with yourself when something goes sour, take positive action. Appologize to those you've yelled at or wronged,and appologize to yourself too. Everyone needs comfort. One of the best ways to avoid these types of situations before they arise is making sure that you take time for yourself. If we don't take care of ourselves, we get sick. If we don't take the time to do those things that refresh and revitalize us, we become worn down. Sick and worn down means less able to stand under pressure, less able to respond appropriately or bounce back. All those many things that "must" be done or that we want to give our energy to, whether kids, job, schooling, or errands, will never receive our best attention if we are sick and worn down.
Beyond the things that everyone needs like good sleep, proper food and attention to our health needs, what makes you happy? What makes you feel centered and calm? What makes you laugh? For many years silence and solitude spent outdoors was my biggest rejuvinator, and while this is still important to me, it has become more important for me to write and to reach out to others with these thoughts I've carried around all these years. It is not uncommon for me to neglect things like housework in favor of writing lately because I know that the housework will still be there. The opportunity or inspiration to write or share with others might not be. What you do with what I share is, of course, entirely up to you. We all need to find our own balance between Work and Play, and these things can change over time. Flexibility and adaptability are important to Otters.
"It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them." Leo F. Buscaglia
"I was like a boy playing on the sea shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." ~ Isaac Newton
In the Sea and in Rivers, Otters feed primarily upon fish, shellfish, crustaceans and other hard-shelled invertebrates but have been known to make a meal out of amphibians, birds and their eggs, muskrats, or berries and fruit depending on what is available. Otters are very flexible creatures, not only in their skeletal structure but in their attitudes too. This is a reminder that flexibility and adaptability is necessary to navigate the rough waters in Life. Some Otters are solitary, others pair off or form loose groups, and all are pretty open to opportunity when it comes to grabbing a meal.
Freshwater otters usually have litters of one to three young, although River and Giant otters may have as many as five young in a litter. Asian small-clawed otters may have as many as six. Sea otters normally have only a single pup. About 2% of all otter births result in multiples, but only one pup can be successfully cared for. Freshwater Otters birth their young in a secure den on land, and the pups are born blind. They will remain quiet in the den for the first weeks of their life sleeping and nursing.
Sea Otters bring their young into the World right into the open arms of the Sea. Sea Otters are born with eyes open, a full dense coat of fur to insulate them, and a their first teeth already emerging. While they are completely dependent upon their mothers for nourishment and protection, they are definitely more capable and precoscious at an earlier age than other Otters. River Otter mothers turn the fathers out of the dens until the young are capable. Both River and Sea Otter tend to be diurnal, but can be more active at night.
From these facts we learn that Otter people can be born "eyes open" already spiritually, or psycically awakened. Or, they may manifest and develop these skills at a later stage in life. Otter people can experience challenging childhoods that urge them to develop self-reliance and survival skills early, although a well-nutured Otter could develop too much confidence and end up coming off as a "know-it-all".
Otter people tend to be very nuturing and "mothering" in their approach to children in general, epsecially their own, but tend to be better, more productive parents to only one or possibly two children. Equally at home in water, land or stormy winds, Otter people have a craving for knowledge, wisdom, dreams, bounty, new beginnings, new ideas, and all the other things that are represented by those creatures and plants that they eat. We feed upon these things and they are essential to us in ways that we don't often think about consciously. Curious by nature, we are drawn by the new and unknown, wishing instinctively to learn and expand our consciousness.
Otter people tend to be very creative, ingenious, adaptable and sociable people with a hunger for knowledge and wisdom. Deep dreamers, we often swim through our dreams as if it were the Waters that feed and shelter the four-legged Otter. Sensitive to the needs of others, sentimental even when we try to hide it, and sensitive too to the World around us we do a lot of learning and healing while we sleep. Sea Otters sleep floating on their backs in the Ocean and will often sleep in a kelp bed using this "bread of the sea" as a cozy comforter. River Otters sleep onland in dens called holts or pretty much anywhere they feel like sleeping. Serene Otter has very few predators on land or sea, and isn't too particular about where he sleeps.Keeping a dream journal is especially important for all deep dreamers, but so is simply noticing and appreciating the World around us.
If awareness and appreciation are the first steps, being grateful, and sharing with others are the next in our development. Otter lives in the lifeblood of the World and comes to us one of many emissaries that urge these Wisdoms upon us. Why have we resisted for so long? We learn best when work and play combine. Perhaps we have just been out of balance for such a long time that we've forgotten these crucial elements to a good life, but it is high time that we re-learn this piece of Otter Wisdom. All that we need is still there waiting for us, but until we learn to recognize, appreciate, show gratitude, care for and share the World's abundance with All Our Relations...our downward spiral will continue to it's inevitable conclusion.
"Mirth is God's medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it. " ~Henry Ward Beecher
"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul. " ~Yiddish Proverb
"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book." ~Irish Proverb
Laughter, in my opinion, is not just Medicine but a truly vital element in any Life. Laughter dismisses fears, banishes nightmares, heals wounds physical mental or emotional, lifts the heart and is completely contagious. Of course, it can also inflict embarassment, distress or pain depending on the manner in which it arises. Laughter should never be used as a weapon any more than Love or any other constructive quality.
As amusing as the antics or foibles of our fellows may be to us, we should always try to avoid laughing at another's exspense. We are, after all, one big family here on Earth and we should treat each other with the same respect, tenderness and consideration that we would like to receive. If you are laughing at someone you perceive is hopelessly offtrack...you may find yourself in a situation where the World is laughing at you!
Unlike other marine mammals, sea otters do not have blubber, instead they depend upon a dense, water-resistant fur to provide insulation against the cold. Sea otter fur is very dense and has a greater number of hair follicles per inch than any other mammal. Otters can be overly sentimental, either openly or secretly, and quite often appear insulated from the quips and barbs slung about them, even if they take every word to heart.
Otters can also be quite tactless for all their considerable charm, being too familiar, too curious, too direct, or too prone to laughter. Nothing can offend someone like laughter at what is considered an inappropriate time or place! You may have noticed that a great many people don't feel that laughter is every really appropriate. The best thing an Otter person can do is look for ways to start others laughing in a good way. Otter people could be anywhere along the spectrum depending on their own sense of balance, life circumstances, and whatever they may have had for dinner.
Balance is important for Otters, as they suffer greatly or die off when their environment is thrown out of balance. Otter people also need to actively seek balance in their own lives. It's wonderful to have a thirst for knowledge, for example, but if we are constantly exclaiming "Ooooh! Look at this pretty new shell" we could spend our whole lives picking up and dropping everything without ever really diving down to the bottom and finding a true pearl.
The eternal Fountain of Knowledge is wider and deeper than the Sea. While we cannot know everything, neither should we merely skim the surface. Otters share a lot of the same traits as the zodiac sign Gemini, although the birth time of Otter is said to be between January 20th and February 18th which makes them much closer to Aquarians. Of course, Gemini and Aquarius are close signs. As a Gemini I can say that either I truly love being in the company of an Aquarius or can't stand them...much like other Geminis! It is certainly true that Balance is often a difficult issue for both signs.
When my children were young, I learned three additional songs from the Mary Poppins soundtrack to add to "Let's Go Fly a Kite" and "Spoonful of Sugar" which were already on the nightly lullaby line up. "The Perfect Nanny", "Stay Awake" and "Chim Chim Cheree" were special requests from my children that will forever call to mind those precious moments of their childhood. My own little Otter cubs chuckling over their dreams as I watched in wonder from the Moonlit doorway. If you've forgotten how to play or can't remember the last good laugh that you had, it is time to get in touch with your Inner Otter. We Otter be grateful to have such fine Teachers willing to share their Wisdom with us. To everyone who has ever made me laugh out loud, I've always wanted to say...Thank you! I really needed that. I think of you every time I sign a letter "Wishing You Laughter". How does Otter appear in your life?
"May God grant you always...a sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you. Laughter to cheer you. Faithful friends near you. And whenever you, pray, Heaven to hear you." ~Irish blessing
"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods." ~Albert Einstein
Parrot umbrella: "That's gratitude for you. Didn't even say goodbye!"
Mary Poppins: "No they didn't."
Parrot umbrella: "Look at them! You know, they think more of their father than they do of you?"
Mary Poppins: "That's as it should be."
Parrot umbrella: "Well? Don't you care?"
Mary Poppins: "Practically perfect people never permit sentiment to muddle their thinking."
Parrot umbrella: "Is that so? Well, I'll tell you one thing, Mary Poppins: you don't fool me a bit!"
Mary Poppins: "Oh really?"
Parrot umbrella: "Yes really. I know exactly how you feel about these children, and if you think I'm going to keep my mouth shut any longer, I- "
[she clamps his mouth shut]
Mary Poppins: "That will be quite enough of that, thank you!"
Possible Complimentary and Balancing Energies
Fish from Salmon to Shark