I sit here on a cold, wet and windy Sunday, I seem to be coming to terms with particular emotional issues that I’ve been holding on to as fiercely as the Kraken, the legendary sea monster of giant size, (that is said to exist off the coasts of Norway and Greenland) holds onto ships and drags them down to the briny deep. I realise a message lurks - just like the sea farers of ancient times were terrified of the deep dark seas, I terrify myself and him who gets the brunt of my emotionally spiky suckers.
Exciting that a monster first mentioned in a 13th Century AD Icelandic saga called Orvar-Oddr would come through so strongly to drop some guidance into my life this past couple of weeks.
It began with a hilarious conversation with the bestie, where I first likened my management of this issue to that of the Kraken or an octopus, I remembered how when I first saw one on a nature documentary they terrified me. As the week progressed I become more and more aware of octopus, confirming my comical musing has more meaning; my boss gave me a little purple octopus stress toy; a documentary on legendary monsters caught my eye, where the giant squid was explored as an explanation for the Kraken myth; and finally, a young lady with a picture of a fierce looking octopus on her bag sat down next to me while I was at risk of being swept out to sea pondering the way I manage my emotions.
There is actually a lot out there already on the meaning and symbolism of octopus, I don’t think I can add any more value to what already exists. Some of the insights I’ve come across have really intrigued me and help me on a sort of emotional healing journey I’ve found myself on for a couple of years. I’ll share some with the aim of showing how they’ve come to helped me to navigate my emotional whirlpool.
Probably the most influential source in my research was the following article https://www.whats-your-sign.com/octopus-animal-symbolism.htmlwhere the writer talks about how “Even the habitat of the octopus speaks of mystery and wonder” of course the octopus lives in the sea, the place firmly in the emotional realms, moved by the power of the intuitive moon, water itself is fluid, flexible and creative. I used this insight to get creative - taking the power of the emotion, the flow of my inner guidance system I wrote, brain dumped in fact, I explored the situation with flexibility and purity and so I’ve begun to change my thinking.
This was backed up when I came across this https://www.mavenunmasked.com/blog-1/octopus-spirit-animal-totem “When emotions creep up from hidden chambers and wrangle your mind, Octopus asks you to explore them… The sea monster of lore and fantasy asks for your fear to spark your intuition, increase your awareness, and allow your creative energy to flow. I’ve started to see my emotions as allies, they’re there for a reason after all, we all experience them. My empathetic nature experiences them in technicolour and sometimes without warning or reason, they can and have overwhelmed me. Using them for creativity and drive seems to be helping.
Several of the sites I visited mentioned “They are born and live at the sea floor, symbolizing the necessity of being grounded in our lives” https://www.sunsigns.org/octopus-animal-totem-symbolism-meanings/ this reminder is important since I spend much of my time in emotional depths, professionally working in mental health and more recently personally. I’m a bottom dweller like the octopus so discovering the octopus symbolises having the ability to be grounded “…while still existing in the watery world of psyche” has been incredibly reassuring.
https://alltotems.com/spirit-animals/octopus-meaning-and-symbolism/ says that Self Care is a message of the octopus, (keeping on the emotional health side of things then). After the female octopus is impregnated she will find a cave or crevasse to lay her eggs and stand guard. She will gently move the water around her eggs whilst also slowly starving to death, by the time her eggs hatch she is close to death. “It is important for you to set up habits that make self-care a part of your routine in order to stay in your best health”. I talk about self-care A LOT, and I don’t just mean having a shower and brushing my teeth, that’s personal hygiene and comes into self-care, I’m talking about the things we do each day that make us feel well, I’ve begun carving out time in each day to do at least 3 things on my list of self-care activities, these include things like writing, exercise, meditation and reading.
I mentioned how I’m using my emotions to drive and focus myself now - according to Maven Unmasked the octopus comes with a message of multi-tasking and focus, (you can’t miss the 8 appendages, I’ll come back to those). This is something I’ve found increase since I’ve acknowledged her energy “…to help you do your tasks effectivity with equal attention. Balance and time management is key.” Time management is something I’ve been stressing about. At work in particular my attention is pulled from one task to another very rapidly and I find I lose my focus which agitates the perfectionist in me, then things get missed or half done, which will eventually cause anxiety.
Octopus guidance has enabled me to find my strengths, she “… reminded us to ‘Get a grip!’ as the suckers on their tentacles encourage us to get a firm grip on something before going at it full force.” She’s helped me think outside of the box, use my rational mind, strategy, reason and logic, she’s an invertebrate, watching her move is hypnotic, she comes with the message to loosen up and “move towards our goals in unorthodox ways and still achieve the same (if not better) results.”
The little purple octopus that now sits quite happily on my desk reminds me to balance and execute my tasks effectively by using awareness to harness the power of my emotions. The strength within them can be used to grip on to and move toward goals.
Back to those appendages… “…8 is the universal number of abundance and cycles” that spiral like the infinity symbol “…. The spiral is a representation of expanding consciousness and the ongoing creative process of the universe” the infinity symbol “… tell(s) us there is no beginning and no end, just an endless cycle of energy flow” connecting with those laws of nature could be daunting, but with the energy of octopus I see opportunity to manifest.
The octopus can detach a limb to serve as protection and distraction against predators which brings me back to letting go, I’ve let go of a few distractions in the last couple of months including for me feeling attached to TV and smoking as emotional coping skills. She can also regenerate her limbs, regeneration reminds me that just like waves the emotions will continue and I may slip back into habits that aren’t helpful, but they are a part of me, they shape my personality, this is a lesson in acceptance, in forgiving myself for all of me “The ability to regenerate helps them recover from difficult and potentially harmful situations” is another reassuring message of the octopus reminding me over and over again, I continue to move forwards.
Octopus is the master of camouflage, colours, textures and patterns can change to fit the environment, she reminds “…us that at times we are wise to camouflage our activities in order to succeed and thrive” http://wayofthewhale.com/blog/?p=572 and not only that she offers another defence mechanism of “…ejecting a thick, black ink into the waters as a method of escape. Dark clouds left in her wake leave the octopus’ attackers lost and confused.” The use of ink takes my mind back to writing and how I am using words, my creativity and my intuition to heal, escape the emotional darkness and continue growing.
And so I continue to walk this spiral, only for the time being I have octopus as my guide.
Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash