The turtle is a symbol of Mother Earth. Actually, we live on a continent whose original name is the “Great Turtle Island”. If you look at a map, you can see its head as the North Pole, the front legs are Alaska and Quebec, the hind legs are Florida and California, Mexico is its tail.
The turtle helps us to connect to Mother Earth. We use the expression ”to be grounded” to express this and it means to have our feet energetically firmly embedded in the ground. The turtle lives in water and on earth. This means the people with turtle medecine can feel at home in many places. This teaches us the principles of rooting ourselves: to develop our ideas we must be rooted to where we are in order to grow the creative hub. It also teaches us how to follow the current flow without violence and whining to avoid the obstacles which arise with those attitudes.
People who have turtle medicine teach us, by their way of life, to take the time to do things and that it’s useless to run. Think about the fable of “The Tortoise and the Hare” where both animals are in a race and where the hare, advancing very fast, is too confident and decides to sleep while the tortoise, advancing slowly but with regularity arrives first at the finish line.
The turtle evokes the importance of thinking carefully before doing. It also symbolises the idea of peaceful protection. To protect itself, the turtle enters its paws and head into its shell. This mode of defense is peaceful and teaches us the importance of clearly defining our borders. This is a very important task for all beings. In what surroundings do we wish to live, what do we accept, what do we not accept and how do we affirm our borders and the respect with which we expect to be treated? With whom do we choose to be in relation with and with whom do we want no relationship? These questions are important. When we have a clear vision of our borders, those things we are open to share and those that we are not willing to share, life becomes easier and more harmonious.
The turtle teaches us the freedom that we need to give to our children. The turtle lays her eggs and leaves them to fend for themselves. First, this means that we must consider our children as whole beings, who have their own wisdom. We must keep our eyes open but allow them to try things out and make their mistakes. If we do not allow them to try things out they might not experience anything difficult in the moment but may try it later when it’s more dangerous. If we allow them more freedom they will learn faster and have more self-confidence. In the long run we will be grateful that we trusted them. Secondly, it also evokes the idea of letting things ripen, like eggs left in the sand so the sun can heat them until they hatch. Similarly, an idea must become mature before we express it so it can achieve the expected results.
This is the turtle’s symbolism, one of the largest clans amongst First Nations, one of the best managers of the Earth who have a strong sense of maternal family; they are also people of great peace.