By Ina Woolcott
In the Native American culture the turtle is the oldest symbol for Mother Earth, reminding us that we need to honour the earth. All we have comes from the earth and we must take good care of the earth, to show our gratefulness. We must create a better home not only for ourselves but ALL beings residing on earth, whether they be animals, plants, rocks, woods or stones. The Iroquois of North America believe they are descended from a turtle that got rid of its shell, and that the earth rests on the back of the Great Turtle. Other Native American tribes see Turtle as a symbol of persistence and endurance. A lot of tribes have turtle clans. In Eastern religions, Turtle is thought to be the balance of opposing principles, such as heaven and earth. Turtle produces a large numbers of offspring, linking it with fertility and is sacred to the goddess Aphrodite.
Turtle, who seems to move as slowly as earth herself, travels his own path in his own time. He shows us that sometimes we need to slow down. People often say they have no time to do what they want. All we possess in the world is time! If we didn’t have time, we would be dead. Turtle also represents security, solid grounding, and support. Slow, steady, strong, wise with age, protective, and unshakeable, Turtle appears the very model of settled, universal order.
Turtle carries his house on his back, and when feeling threatened can hide to protect himself – this shows us about protecting ourselves. Just like the turtle, there are times when we need to put a protective shield around us to ward off negative emotions and forces such as anger, jealousy and thoughtless actions of others. We need to learn to protect ourselves – in a non violent way – not only when we feel threatened by the outside world, but also in order to contemplate, to decide what our next move will be. On the flip side, this is also a reminder of the importance of going within.
Turtles bury their eggs in the sand, showing us that at times we need to aid the growth of our delicate ideas before bringing them forth into the light. If it seems that there is too much to do, when we are good at starting projects but not so good at completing them, we can call on the energy of Turtle.
Also remember the fable about the turtle and the hare? Faster, stronger and bigger does not always equal better, and is not always the best method to obtain a goal. If you are dedicated, focused and work hard to fulfil your aim, it is unimportant whether you are slow or not for eventually, you will succeed. Slow-moving, contemplative Turtle can also be seen as grounded. Being grounded doesn’t mean being stuck in one place not going anywhere, stagnant. Turtle travels close to the earth, intimately connected with the currents of Mother Nature’s energy. Moving slowly means it has all the time to appreciate all of her creations. We can follow this example, when we take the time that is always available, when we move more slowly along our own paths and enjoy the journey. We can learn to ground ourselves in the nurturing and protective energy of the earth and to flow with its energies at a pace which ensures what we focus on is achieved.