The Turtle and Tortoise Totems
The Turtle and the Tortoise are very similar in nature and appearance. Some Turtles, however, have the added element of being considered a sea and land creature, while the Tortoise, due to its lack of webbed feet, is more grounded and connected to the Earth. There is one species of Turtle, the massive Sea Turtle, which never leaves the water except to lay eggs. Both are considered sacred by many cultures and tribes.
The Turtle comes in many sizes and some Box Turtles can be very small, about the size of a quarter. Box Turtles are one of those who live on the land. Some species of Turtle seldom leave the water and have webbed feet to aid in fast swimming. The female will leave the water to dig a deep hole in the sand in which to lay her eggs. These Turtles are very connected to the element of water and the flowing freedom it brings. Turtle shells are very beautiful and the markings often found at the bottom of their bodies can be quite intricate and artistic.
According to some cultures, the top shell of a turtle is said to represent Heaven while the bottom of the shell or underbelly is thought to represent Mother Earth. The Turtle unites Heaven and Earth. There is a Chinese legend that tells of the Sacred Turtle; its shell contains a map of the Nine Regions of China and it holds up the sky, he is honored and respected by the people of that country. The Turtle is also one of the Four Guardians of the Compass of Celestial Emblems of the Chinese Emperor; it guards the North is associated with the winter season and its color symbol is black. The Lakota Indians of the Midwest United States see the Turtle as their creator, to them she is a feminine power and, as she grants life; she is sacred to them. The women of the Lakota tribe aspire to be as the Turtle, flexible and long-lived.
The Tortoise does not have webbed feet, but thick sturdy legs. They lack the necessary biological equipment to thrive in the water. They have large domed shells and they are terrestrial and thus have a deep connection with the Earth. They also carry their homes upon their backs. They move very slowly and determinedly to their destination. They live on a diet of leaves, shrubs and insects. They like to dig burrows when it is very hot outside which they will slip into to cool off from the heat of the daytime sun. They are shy, but amiable creatures. The old adage “slow and steady wins the race” comes from the characteristics of the Tortoise. Tortoise’s are also symbols of immortality in Buddhism, and are thought to be the impermanent dwelling place for souls making their way through a series of lives on the path to Nirvana
The physical, spiritual and mystical similarities between the Turtle and the Tortoise are very similar. These creatures are methodical, determined and patient. Whether they live on land or in the sea they represent steady energy and long life. They also both represent independence, travel, and the ability to not be tied down or chained to one place as they both carry their home with them wherever they desire to be. They both posses strong self-protection in the form of their home shells, they can pull their extremities into their shell which offers them safety from outside threats.
Turtles and Tortoise’s may appear very similar, but one should not be fooled by this seeming resemblance. No two are the same; the variations of their shells and markings vary greatly from each other marking them as unique and individual amongst their species.
The Indomitable Turtle Totem possesses the following virtues:
Independence, exploration, travel by sea, deeper consciousness, steady energy, joy with present circumstances, self-protection, inner wisdom, strength, steady and long lasting progress, longevity, patience, the secrets of life, Heaven and Earth.
The Terrestrial Tortoise Totem possesses the following virtues:
Harmonious life, freedom of false attachments, travel by land, deeper connection to the Earth and sky, steady energy, power of observation, self-protection, inner wisdom, determination, steady and long lasting progress, longevity, patience, the secrets of life, Heaven and Earth.
Turtle and Tortoise Pearls are said to impart their particular magical virtues to their owner. Their Pearls are characteristic of their host animal; they possess all the splendid characteristics that may be seen in these creatures themselves; the indomitable spirit and determination of the Turtle and Tortoise are contained within their individual pearls waiting for the proper owner to bestow their inner magic to that unique and fortunate individual. For century’s shamans, priestesses, spiritualists and practitioners of the occult have used their pearls to transfer their powerful magical energy to themselves and to others in need of their commanding magic and virtues. Turtle and Tortoise pearls are highly sought after by any wishing to absorb their virtues into their lives and develop stronger mental abilities such as those embodied by these immortal creatures. The owner of a Turtle or Tortoise pearl will see their lives, spiritual energy and mental clarity imbued with all of the virtues attributed to them. These animal totems are strong spirits and their magical properties are one of the most significant of all animal totems. Longevity, determination, freedom from false attachments, and so much more can be integrated into the spirit of the possessor of these magical pearls and their totems.
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