The turtle lives twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile.
— Ogden Nash
I so love Ogden Nash. He was so clever with words.
And I love to see turtles out in the garden when I’m at my clients’. Turtles symbolize Earth Mother and are a conveyor of Earth Mother’s blessings more than any other animals according to some Native American beliefs (see Animal Speak by Ted Andrews, and Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams). So whenever I run across a turtle, it is always auspicious for me, and signals that my work or efforts at that time are in line with Earth Mother. I saw one last fall about a week before my first Sacred Gardening workshop and that was quite an honor.
I also rescued one in a poolside bed that was akin to a desert (very little food there in the small hot bed by the pool) about three weeks ago at a client’s garden. It was a box turtle and quite healthy about five inches across. I carried it over to another part of the property that was wooded and rather overgrown. I knew that it would be relieved to not be baking in the sun and in some habitat with more food and cover. I suppose that it was attracted to the smell of the pool water but then discovered a pool with some dry pool beds there next to the water. Not exactly its habitat. It was a gift to see it and help it find its way to a better place.
It’s these little actions that help remind me of messages and Earth Mother’s ways of communicating with me. Plus how we are all in relationship and that turtle was definitely in the wrong place and it was right to relocate it.
This is a portion of Turtle medicine. You can read all the animal medicines in the book: Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson. Visit medicinecards.com to learn more.
Turtle… Great Mother,
Feed my spirit,
Clothe my heart,
That I may serve you too.
In Native American teachings, Turtle is the oldest symbol for planet Earth. It is the personification of goddess energy, and the eternal Mother from which our lives evolve. We are born of the womb of Earth, and to her soil our bodies will return. 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. Mother Earth’s protection has come in the form of Earth changes, new plant growth, the creation of new land masses by volcanoes, and climate alteration. 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. If you are attacked, it is time to give a warning snap.
If you have chosen the Turtle symbol, you are being asked to honor the creative source within you, to be grounded to the Earth, and to observe your situation with motherly compassion. Use the water and earth energies, which represent Turtle’s two homes, to flow harmoniously with your situation and to place your feet firmly on the ground in a power stance.
Turtle is a fine teacher of the art of grounding. You may even be able to overcome some of your “space cadet” tendencies if you align with Turtle medicine. In learning to ground, you are placing focus on your thoughts and actions and slowing to a pace that assures completion.
Turtle buries its thoughts, like its eggs, in the sand, and allows the sun to hatch the little ones. This teaches you to develop your ideas before bringing them out in the light. Look at the old fable of the tortoise and the hare, and decide for yourself whether or not you would like to align with Turtle. Bigger, stronger, and faster are not always the best ways to get to a goal. When you arrive, you may be asked where you’ve been and you may not be able to remember. In that case, arriving prematurely can make you feel very immature.
If you draw the Turtle card, it augurs a time of connecting with the power of Earth and the Mother-Goddess within. This is a reminder of the ally you have in Mother Earth. It does not matter what situation you have created: ask her for assistance, and abundance will follow.