As 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?