This page is dedicated to London and Thames, my own beloved pair of Red-eared Slider Turtles. Thank You both for the all the joy you have brought into my life!
Turtle symbolizes both new beginnings and endings. It is through the ending of something that allows space for something new to arise. This ending may be of an outer circumstance or a change or shift that occurs within ourselves. There may be a sense of loss or even grief over what has passed and yet it is through the energy of Turtle who is very long lived and thus very wise, that we can come to understand why something did need to leave our lives. Turtle can help lead us to that space where we can finally move on, to let go of what has been, celebrate it for the gifts it gave us and finally to turn and head for a new shore. Turtle people themselves often feel that their life is an endless series of endings and new beginnings, that like the tides, their lives are constantly in flux and they must learn to shift and tack as the current carries them along. Turtle people often say that they never really feel they have a home other than what they carry on their back so to speak. I knew a Turtle person once who was called Turtle because she literally carried her home with her (in a rucksack!) wherever she went.
For Turtle people, home is where they are in the present moment. The journey itself is what is important, not where they "come ashore". For those of us who find we are constantly striving to reach the completion of a goal and burning ourselves out in the process, Turtle medicine can be very helpful to call upon because it reminds us to slow down and look at where we are right now. It may be that the goal or pursuit has become a habit or something we feel we "should" do because someone else expects it of us. Maybe we would really like to be doing something different and Turtle has appeared to say that there is something better if we will take a minute to float in the waters of life and look to see what that might be. We may even find there is something bobbing along in the water next to us that can help us reach our goals even faster so we certainly don't want to swim right past it! Turtle people themselves need time to be quiet, to be still, to allow themselves to think things through and watch for signs through what floats near them in the flotsam and jetsam of life. They get their bearings through looking to see what is around them and through sensing what the waters that carry them are doing. Are the waters calm and clear or is turbulence on the horizon? Either way, the Turtle person will know what to do if they get quiet and still for these folks are often strongly intuitive.
The energy of Turtle combines the energy of the sea and land or the emotions and the rational. While Turtles spend most of their time in water, they must come ashore to lay their eggs which for both Turtle people and for those that Turtle appears, indicates that they too need to come "ashore" from time to time in order to "lay the eggs" that will give birth to their future. At this time we can all begin to further understand the importance of both the emotional/intuitive and intellectual/rational process's that are required for greater access to a sense of our own wholeness and to create our lives from that sense of wholeness. Turtle is offering itself as a bridge so that we may cross between the two with greater ease and safety. Those who feel more inclined towards acting from their intuitive and emotional side may find that they are better able to work with the rational in actualizing their dreams and visions when Turtle appears. Those who operate primarily from the mental plane, may come to appreciate and value the importance of the intuitive as a guide to help them reach their goals more rapidly. Turtle people often do feel their emotions very strongly though its not obvious on the surface. These are folks that tend to keep very much to themselves, being shy, quiet and reserved. It takes Turtle people time to learn to trust other folks, especially if they have been bady wounded by others in the past. They may seem to have a very hard, exterior shell and yet underneath, just like their totem, is much softeness and gentleness.
Turtle people really do feel the need to have a tough exterior. Life may have started off with some major challenges for these folks and they haven't forgotten it, certainly not on an energy level. When Sea Turtle eggs hatch, the newly born babies make their way to the sea as quickly as they can. Along the way there are many, many predators on the shore that are hoping for a delicious baby Turtle meal! The Mother Turtle has long since departed, making her way back into the water after she has laid and covered her eggs with sand. The only protection these babies have is their shell and for them, it often isn't enough to keep predators at bay. Even though thousands of eggs may have hatched during this cycle, only a small percentage of those will reach the sea. Of those, many more will be taken by other predators, with a bare few surviving into adulthood so the cycle can begin anew. For Turtle people, they may have felt exposed and vulnerable to the world shortly after birth and faced many challenges while growing up. Some I have known lost their Mother due to her dying during the birth process or the Mother felt the need to give her baby up for adoption. Turtle people feel this quite keenly and yet they also sense that in some way, a greater purpose for what has occured is involved. One man said to me that even though he often wished for his mum when he was growing up, he also felt that what happened was right and good for both of them. He truly felt that by her leaving, it gave him the freedom to find his own way and grow more fully into his true potential. He learned to become very strong and self-reliant from an early age and this has served him well. Yet for others, there is a constant ache that never quite goes away and its important that these folks honour that sense of loss and not dismiss it out of hand.
Turtle medicine is for getting in touch with the heart energy and emotions as represented by the water element. All of our emotions must be honoured for even though there are days when the seas and waters of life are calm and clear, there are also moments of turbulence which act as a sort of cleansing process. The turbulence can bring elements of our emotional world to the surface from depths that we have dis-owned consciously and yet those elements are still impacting us on a daily basis whether we choose to recognize they are still there or not. By recognizing that part of the human process is to acknowledge that each of us is created from parts that we like and parts we don't, we can begin to work with the parts we don't like and find ways to channel them constructively.
When Turtle appears and for those who carry this medicine, it is also important that we have patience and act only when we feel the time is right for us to do so. Turtles themselves are slow moving and do have slow metabolisms. Yet because of their slow movement they are much more aware of what is going on around them! We can call upon this energy to help become more aware of our own surroundings and thus be better able to grab and act upon opportunities that we might otherwise have missed if we were hurtling along at a more frenetic pace! Faster is not always better, if one moves too quickly, attention to minor details may be passed over resulting in a loss of opportunity because one was not better prepared or one may fail to notice that an even more fulfilling door was opening. Our world has become so solar, everyone feeling the push to constantly act and do rather than sit and just be and know that from time to time, thats precisely what we need to be doing. Yet as a very wise person once said, "we are Human BE-ings, not Human Do-ings!"
Many of the challenges and health issues that people face are due to stress. The stress is caused by feeling one must constantly race towards the next finish line, do this so we can have that, with few ever stopping to ask themselves if what they are racing towards is even what they really want out of life. For too many, the time to stop and really think about what life means to one is after one is diagnosed with cancer or has a heart attack or perhaps it is a serious accident that finally puts the brakes on. Depression, panick attacks and anxiety have also been linked to stress and may be another way that the wiser part of ourselves chooses to stop us before we actually end up killing ourselves in pursuit of something we don't even really desire! Turtle knows that by moving slowly and calmly, we allow the doors of intuition to open. Intuition is also linked strongly to the imagination, something else Turtle people have an abundance of. Imagination and day dreaming, its hand maiden, are what allows us to not only see new possibilities, but to imagine the easiest and clearest ways to reach those possibilties. Things tend to come to us when the time is right for them to do so and pushing the river not only will not bring them any faster, but on an energy level, may actually repel those things from us.
Turtle can also teach us about boundaries at this time. When a Turtle feels threatened, it pulls into its shell, cautiously peering out when it senses the threat may have passed. So too at times do we all need to pull into our shells if someone comes at us too quickly or appears to need more than we can possibly give them. Taking the time to put a bit of space and distance between ourselves and the other person/situation can save us much grief in the long run! Its always okay to take as much time as one feels the need to suss things out, to watch as something develops over time before making a committment or even getting a second opinion from someone we trust if need be. Asking the world to show us the truth of any situation may be needed at this time as well and does require some patience/willingness to slow down and simply watch for the answers as they come through to you. The technique itself is simple: writing down your question and placing it on your altar, a windowsill, on your desk or wherever you feel is right to put it is all that is needed. Then as time passes, note what happens as you are standing in a queue at the supermarket or chatting with a friend. What are people saying to you or around you? If you are reading a book or a newspaper, does something jump out at you that relates to the question you have asked? Does everyone you know suddenly start commenting on similar situations they have heard about? Do you turn on the telly and there is a program that fits with what your question was? Or perhaps you look up into the sky one day and a cloud shape or a rainbow seems to be speaking to you of your question. Don't rule anything out as "coincidence"! You have asked and the Universe and the world are working together to bring you the answers so have faith and trust in the messages you are receiving! Often times when someone uses this technique and they receive an answer, there is an emotional or physical charge that accompanies it, chills up the spine, tingling in the third eye chakra, or an emotional surge of energy. There may be a sense Of "Eureka, thats it" or a light bulb going off above one's head. It FEELS like truth as the energy comes through!
Again, when Turtle appears or one has it as a totem, its important to trust in what the intuition is saying. Its okay to learn to trust other people and situations slowly. Its okay not to try and override one's gut sense that maybe things are not in one's best interests and to take some time to see what is really happening beneath the surface of the waves. Even though I have lived with London and Thames for months, and handle them several times a week in order to clean their home, they are still very shy and leery of people. The other night, I was showing London to my flatmate as he had grown so much recently (Doing the proud mum bit here!). London was doing his typical Turtle pull in and then Ken said, I wonder if he would try and bite if I put my finger near his mouth. London pulled in even further and stayed that way until I walked away with him. Then his head started to come out a little more and I said to him, "look, its okay, its just a finger". With me, his head stayed out and he looked up at me with those wise, knowing eyes. I felt as though I had won the lotto, he was trusting me not to hurt him! Turtle people too can make one feel that way when you can get close to them, if you do or already are close to a Turtle person, pat yourself on the back for obviously you must be a very good person indeed and walk your talk! Turtle medicine can teach those of us who do have it as a totem how to slow down and just allow people to show their true colours over time.
Turtles are also Navigators and as such they can help us to navigate to the shore we are seeking to land upon when they appear. There is a wonderful book on dreams written by Robert Monroe - Dreaming True. In it he discusses the Polynesian navigation system known as "Waymaking" which basically consists of the following: You set your sight on a goal, in their case navigating the ocean from point A to point B but for our purposes point A can be anything your heart desires. You then focus on using all your inner senses to picture yourself there, your goal realized and you living in the middle of it. The Polynesians say to "Hold the vision in your mind or else you will become lost" as you begin your own navigation process. Notice one important point: The Polynesians do not urge one to focus on HOW to navigate the waters to reach point B! It is enough to simply HOLD that vision as firmly and strongly in your mind as you can, write it down if need be including all the senses such as taste and smell if applicable. If you do this consistently and with patience, the "how's" will take care of themselves. You wil feel guided to take one small step here, another there, ideas will spring into your mind as to what actions to take. If you are truly committed and follow through on each step as it is presented to you, the navigation becomes effortless! As you complete one step, another will be presented. The timing will often depend on how fast you are willing to allow yourself to reach your goal. Rest assured that as each step is taken, more will be presented to you.
Turtles are very long lived unless of course a predator intervenes and have remained unchanged themselves for over 200 million years. Just as one who has lived to be of great age, so too does Turtle carry an immense amount of wisdom. Turtle has watched as thousands of other species and life forms have come and gone, it knows that nothing on this planet will last forever and thus one may as well enjoy what is in the present moment for it may not be here tommorow! Yet there is not a sense of sadness or loss over this, for Turtle lives in the realm of the Creative and knows that for life to continue, all things must change. The only real death in life is stagnation. As one door closes, a new and better one is opening. We may need time to grieve for what has passed and Turtle can teach us how to use that time creatively and well. Even in the midst of death and grief, new life is being born. Turtle may whisper to us how to navigate this new life if we are open to being quiet enough to listen.
Other things that may be important for you when Turtle appears :
A successful completion of one phase leads to a new cycle of opportunity opening for you.
Greater Success and Recognition for hard work and painstaking effort.
A sense of willingness to begin anew after a cycle of pain or hardship.
Feeling more connected with the flow of the Universe or having a sense of your own personal cosmic mission.
International travel or business success.
A Change of job or residence, sometimes via a promotion that leads to needing to change one's residence.
Anything that requires patience, hard work, attention to details or is very long term is wonderful to start at this time.
An ending of some sort that you need to grieve and yet bear in mind that a new door is or shall be opening as soon as you are ready to move through it that carries the potential of being even more fulfilling that what came before. Difficult though it may be, you may already recognize that what is ending is truly for your Higher Good and the Higher Good of others at this time.
Affirmation for Turtle Medicine - "I am open to moving with the waters of life that I may find my true place and fulfillment.".
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