turtleAs I was walking around Lake Harriet with a friend last Saturday, we happened upon a large turtle near the shoreline. We watched as the turtle slowly made its way toward the water. Shortly afterwards, sitting outside at Sebastian Joe’s, we noticed two large turtles on the patio. The turtles were not alive like the one at the lake, but turtles they were. My friend and I talked about the synchronicity of seeing three turtles in such a short time span. What might it mean? What is the symbolism of the turtle in animal medicine? I checked out my  Medicine Cards book when I got home and this is what I learned about the turtle. “Turtle is the oldest symbol for planet Earth. In honoring the Earth, we are asked by Turtle to be mindful of the cycle of give and take, to give back to the Mother as she has given to us. Turtle has a shell which is similar to the protection that Earth has employed for centuries as her body has been defiled. Like Turtle, you also have shields that protect you from hurt, envy, jealousy and the unconsciousness of others. Turtle teaches you, through its habit patterns, how to use protection. If you are bothered by the actions or words of others, it is time to go inside yourself and honor your feelings. Turtle is a fine teacher of the art of grounding. In learning to ground, you are placing focus on your thoughts and actions and slowing to a pace that assures completion.”

Turtles are also a symbol of longevity. Some turtles live up to 200 years without appearing to age at all. How do they accomplish this? By never rushing life and, at the first sign of stress, heading in to the quiet comfort of their mobile homes. We can learn a lot from turtle wisdom. Remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare and who finished first. Here’s to living the turtle’s way!

What about you? What can you learn from the turtle? What shields do you use to protect yourself?  How can you ground yourself today? What would happen if you slowed down your pace like the turtle? How can turtle help you to flow harmoniously with a situation that is challenging you? Where do you go when you are feeling stressed? Where is your comfort place?

Turtle Wisdom
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12 thoughts on “Turtle Wisdom

  • June 29, 2014 at 6:21 pm
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    My son made me more aware of turtles when he was three. We were in Hawaii and visiting the aquarium and he disappeared. I ran around in frantic mama mode and “finally” (it must have been all of ten minutes) found him staring at the “Tur-tles.” We hung out there for a good half hour. Put things in perspective for me I have to say.

    • July 1, 2014 at 6:08 pm
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      We can learn a lot from the turtle. For me, it’s about slowing down and going inside myself when I need to re-energize.

  • June 30, 2014 at 12:06 pm
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    i didn’t know all the symbolism about turtles, but when you think about it – it all makes perfect sense. I like that line “slowing to a pace that assures completion”. I have long rushed through things – including my meals! I’m making a conscious effort of slowing down, being more deliberate in what I do, and taking in all that is arround me. Thanks for this post – it was enlightening and inspiring.

    • July 1, 2014 at 6:07 pm
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      Thanks for your comments Vickie. Slowing down is what I hear when I listen to turtle wisdom and retreating inside when I need to.

  • June 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm
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    I fell in love with a turtle (maybe it was a tortoise?) at a reptile center years ago. She was huge, about the size of an ottoman and I was told she’d get much bigger. We made eye contact, she ambled over and we spent some time just staring at one another. It wasn’t an antagonizing stare like it can be with some animals, it was more of a deep silent communication. I’ve never forgotten that moment.

    • July 1, 2014 at 6:05 pm
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      Thanks for your comments Susan. I wonder if the turtle is your totem?

  • June 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm
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    Good for you (and your friend) for paying attention when Turtle showed up. It’s always interesting to see where such invitations lead – whether it’s just for a moment or whether this is meant to be a deeper more long term connection. One thing I think about turtle is the need to stick your neck out to get someplace.

    • July 1, 2014 at 6:05 pm
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      Ooh, I like that, sticking my neck out to get somewhere. Taking risks is necessary if I am going to move forward in my life. Remember the turtle!

  • June 30, 2014 at 6:50 pm
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    Love the ‘turtle way’ slow and steady…..staying grounded and going within myself…..yes, something I should remember more often.

    • July 1, 2014 at 6:03 pm
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      Turtle wisdom is a good reminder for me as well, Debbie. Slow down, breathe, go within.

  • June 30, 2014 at 8:19 pm
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    How nice to stumble upon this turtle medicine! I have those medicine cards to and often refer to them.
    I think I’ll take this message to slow down, retreat and breathe deeply.
    Thank you, Kathy

    • July 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm
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      Thanks for your comments Kathy!

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