what is the meaning of turtle

what is the meaning of turtle

Sea Turtle

Turtle symbolism and which means consists of longevity, perseverance, steadfastness, protection, retreat, healing, tranquility, the Earth, and transformation. For so long as people have walked the Earth, there have been turtles. Thus, turtle mythology and symbolism has possible been round for so long as now we have. As well as, the turtle spirit animal is a vital determine to many individuals world wide who really feel a kinship with turtles in addition to sea turtles. On this submit, you’ll study generally shared turtle and sea turtle meanings, turtle mythology, the turtle spirit animal, and extra.

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Desk of Contents

  • Distinction Between a Turtle, Sea Turtle, Terrapin, and Tortoise
  • What does a turtle symbolize?
  • Detailed Turtle and Sea Turtle Symbols and Meanings
  • Turtle Spirit Animal
  • Turtle Energy Animal
  • Turtle Totem
  • Turtle Mythology and Folklore
  • Native American Turtle Meanings
  • Australian Aboriginal Creation Myths About Turtles
  • Polynesian Turtle Symbolism and Myths
  • Japanese Turtle Symbolism and Tales
  • Turtle Symbolism in China
  • Turtles in Taiwan
  • Turtle Symbolism in Vietnam
  • Turtle That means in Hinduism
  • Turtle That means in Historic Egypt
  • Mesopotamia
  • Sufi Turtle Symbolism
  • Turtle Symbolism in Nordic Cultures
  • Turtles in Celtic Mythology
  • Turtle Dream That means
  • Turtle Tattoo
  • Organizations that Defend Turtles

Distinction Between a Turtle, Sea Turtle, Terrapin, and Tortoise

Earlier than we get began, I assumed a few of you may be all for studying in regards to the distinction between a turtle, a sea turtle, a terrapin, and a tortoise. Whereas they’re very comparable, there are some distinct variations.

To start, some turtles and all sea turtles spend most of their time within the water. In reality, they solely depart it to put their eggs on land and infrequently to bask within the solar. Thus, these species of turtles have webbed toes and their sea turtle cousins have flippers. Terrapins, then again, and a few species of turtles spend extra time on land. They reside in additional brackish, swampy environments. Tortoises, then again, are completely different from their water-loving cousins in that they reside completely on land and shouldn’t have webbed toes.

This submit will cowl turtle, terrapin, and sea turtle symbolism, and I’ll write a separate submit on the tortoise quickly.

What does a turtle symbolize?

  • Longevity
  • Perseverance and Steadfastness
  • Safety
  • Residence and Retreat
  • Therapeutic
  • Tranquility
  • Earth
  • Transformation

Detailed Turtle and Sea Turtle Symbols and Meanings

Turtle Sea Floor

“The turtle’s teachings are so lovely. So very particular. It teaches us that every little thing you’re, every little thing you want, and every little thing you convey to the world is inside you, not exterior, and also you carry it with you, and will not be restricted to a spot, house, or time.” – Eileen Anglin

Turtle Symbolism: Longevity

Turtles have been on the Earth for 220 million years, and individually, they’ve lengthy lifespans. Turtle can reside to 40 years previous, whereas sea turtles can reside into their 80s.

The Story of Atu

My household has a mud turtle (genus Kinosternon) named Atu who’s 28 years previous. A buddy of mine discovered her on the road in San Francisco. She was younger and sickly. When my buddy went on a visit, she left the little turtle with me.

Atu appeared to enhance with me, so Katie gave her to me. Atu lived fortunately in an aquarium for plenty of years once I reside on the houseboats in Sausalito, California.

My mother is a superb lover of turtles, and all the time requested about Atu, hinting that she wouldn’t thoughts having her come reside together with her in Colorado. The turtle is clearly considered one of my mother’s spirit animals and has been for so long as I can bear in mind.

So, I smuggled Atu in my pocket on a flight to Colorado. My mother grew to become her benefactor for plenty of years. My mother had a great buddy named Susan who all the time took care of my mother’s animals when she traveled. A real animal whisperer, Susan grew to become bewitched with Atu. Ultimately, she expressed that she wouldn’t thoughts having Atu come reside together with her. When my mother obtained ailing, she requested if me if she might give Atu to Susan. Figuring out Susan, I mentioned sure. Atu has lived with Susan now for effectively over a decade the place she enjoys being hand-fed freeze dried worms each night.

Historic Knowledge

As historic beings with lengthy lifespans, turtles are symbols of longevity in cultures all around the world. They’re fairly the alternative of butterflies and dragonflies, whose time on Earth usually lasts simply a few weeks or months, respectively.

When the turtle is your spirit animal, you’re an previous soul with a perspective on life that’s deep and open-minded. You have got a lot to show others about life and about why we’re right here.

As a logo of historic knowledge, the turtle is a useful totem to meditate on whenever you want for a protracted lifetime of well being for your self and others. As well as, the turtle spirit is a useful image to consider when you’re creating one thing that you simply need to endure the check of time. This generally is a artistic challenge, a relationship or partnership, or a brand new enterprise enterprise. Turtles, in any case, had been constructed to final.

Perseverance and Steadfastness

Turtle climbing

The regular turtle can also be a logo of perseverance and steadfastness. Within the fable “The Tortoise and the Hare,” regardless of his sluggish tempo, it’s the tortoise who prevails due to his consistency and focus. The saying “Sluggish and regular wins the race” embodies the turtle spirit.

The turtle spirit is a smart instructor who reminds you that when you’re clear about your aim, keep true to your path, even when your progress appears sluggish and arduous.

After all, it’s important to be crystal clear about your goals first. In case you really feel such as you’re not sure of your path, it merely means you want extra data. Search it out. Examine, discover, meditate, and mirror. This course of can also be a part of your journey.

Resist and Persist

The turtle spirit additionally embodies perseverance. In a world that may be detrimental, harsh, and merciless at instances, the turtle reminds you to place in your shell of resistance and maintain transferring ahead.


Turtle on a Log

With their hardened shells, turtles are the last word image of safety. Native American moms used turtle medication to guard their new infants, together with holding sacred medication in turtle shells.

Summon the turtle spirit when you’re going right into a scenario the place you want safety. This may very well be a negotiation, a confrontation, or just a brand new expertise the place you’re pushing your limits. You have got a tricky shell of willpower and resolve that’s stronger than you understand.

Residence and Retreat

All of us have to retreat into our shells on occasion, away from the chaos of the world. When the turtle is your energy animal, it’s essential to provide your self the time it is advisable go into your man cave or she den, to handle your self, mirror, and recharge. Then, you can be higher outfitted to stay your neck out, embrace new experiences, and bask within the sunshine of life.

Turtles and Butterflies


As they’re symbols of safety and retreat, turtles are additionally highly effective symbols of therapeutic. As famous earlier, the Navajo Individuals used turtle shells to carry and dispense their medicines due to the turtle’s particular therapeutic qualities.

If you’re ailing or somebody you’re keen on is, meditate on the turtle’s longevity, endurance, and energy to heal. And, it goes with out saying, all the time search out assist out of your Greater Energy and your Angels.


You probably have ever seen turtles basking on a log in a lake and absorbing the sunshine, they’re peaceable beings. Whereas they are often territorial, you don’t see turtles battling like wolves over a bit of meat, or like crows driving an interloping owl away from their territory. Turtles don’t have time for such shenanigans. They might quite be peacefully coasting below water or absorbing the sunshine on shore.

In case you’ve ever had the privilege to snorkel or scuba dive and watch sea turtles within the ocean, you will have a first-hand account of simply how light and tranquil these particular beings are.

Summon the turtle spirit animal whenever you want tranquility. Even turtle pictures and movies can have a relaxing impact.


Turtle as Symbol for Earth

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In Hindu and Native American cultures, the turtle symbolizes the Earth. In tales from each of those cultures, there are depictions of an excellent turtle carrying the world on his again, in addition to being the creator of the world. Thus, turtles are symbols of each the vastness of the world and the Earth as a basis for all life.

The turtle spirit asks you’re taking a holistic view and assume by way of the large image. In case you really feel unwell, focus in your general well being, not simply treating signs. If you’re sad in your life, maybe a serious way of life change is so as. And if you’re caught up in instant issues, heartbroken by loss or rejection, the turtle reminds that you simply there’s an excellent large world on the market. It is stuffed with fascinating folks, pure wonders, and numerous experiences that you’ve but to find. Get out of your shell and discover the world.


Turtle in Lilly Pond

“And the turtles – in fact all of the turtles are free, as turtles ought to be – and possibly all creatures ought to be.” – Dr. Seuss

As semi-aquatic animals, turtles are symbols of transformation. All of life originated within the sea, and finally, some creatures made their option to land, together with the turtle.

But, the turtle by no means utterly disconnected from the water. Sea turtles particularly developed and returned full-time to the water. Though they nonetheless make the pilgrimage to land to put their eggs. Simply as their infants, as soon as hatched, will make the journey throughout the sand and again into the ocean.

Diving into Your Unconscious

Going into water is a logo for diving into your unconscious and your super-conscious – an altered state out of your day-to-day life within the materials world. The turtle spirit embodies the power to transition forwards and backwards between these states.

Increase your consciousness.

The turtle spirit animal invitations to develop your consciousness. There’s a lot extra happening than we expertise in our day-to-day aware states. The turtle spirit animal reminds you that you’ve the potential inside you to remodel any space of your life, together with your ideas.

Because the Sufi poet Rumi wrote:

“Cease performing so small. You’re the Universe in ecstatic movement.”

Turtle Spirit Animal

Turtle Spirit Animal

When the turtle is your spirit animal, you’re blessed with an historic understanding of the world. In keeping with Native American traditions, you don’t essentially select your spirit animals. As an alternative, they select you. Your spirit animal may come to you in a imaginative and prescient quest or by way of prayer or meditation, or in one other highly effective manner that impacts your human expertise on Earth.

If a turtle or sea turtle makes themself identified to you, whether or not in actual life or by way of artwork, the media, or elsewhere – concentrate. There are not any coincidences. Your spirit animal serves as a information, bringing you messages from the Universe that can assist you are you navigate your life path and your soul’s journey.

if you happen to’re interested in different animals who may be your spirit guides, you possibly can take UniGuide’s spirit animal check and browse the spirit animal overview submit.

Turtle Energy Animal

Turtle Fantasy, Girl with Book

“Attempt to be just like the turtle comfy in your personal shell.” – Invoice Copeland

Because the identify implies, an influence animal can empower you with their most dynamic traits. For instance, you possibly can summon the turtle energy animal whenever you:

  • Are beginning a brand new relationship or endeavor and wish it to final for the long-term.
  • Really feel the necessity for extra safety in your life, whether or not it’s bodily, emotional, psychic, or monetary.
  • Have to summon the perseverance to get by way of a difficult time in your life or to beat obstacles.
  • Wish to rework an space of your life.
  • Want extra peace and tranquility in your life.
  • Would love some good luck to return your manner!

Turtle Totem

A turtle totem is a logo that encapsulates the constructive attributes of the animal is represents. So, a turtle totem generally is a good luck talisman for bringing therapeutic and safety in your life. It can be a great luck image when you’re present process a metamorphosis and hope for constructive outcomes.

Turtle Mythology and Folklore

Turtles have roamed the Earth for about 220 million years, making them just a little “youthful” than sharks, who’re roughly 450 million years previous, and dragonflies, who’re about 300 million years previous. Sea turtles, nevertheless, are a bit youthful than land turtles, at about 120 million years previous. Biologists surmise that sea turtles developed from their land-loving cousins, finally growing flipper-like “toes” from semi-webbed toes, due to evolution.

We’re children in comparison with turtles.

In comparison with these historic animals, we people are children. Our first ape-like ancestors who walked on two legs didn’t seem on Earth till 5 – 7 million years in the past. After we arrived, the turtle was already right here. So, this may occasionally very effectively be when turtle symbolism and mythology started to take form within the minds of our distance ancestors.

Whereas hominids have modified a lot over these hundreds of thousands of years, turtles are just about the identical as they ever had been. Apparently, nobody noticed a cause to interrupt the turtle mould. So, you possibly can say that turtles and sea turtles are really historic beings who carry of their DNA the knowledge of the ages.

Not solely are they historic, turtle are all over the place. There are over 300 and so they reside on each continent besides Antarctica. Thus, turtles seem within the mythology and folklore of many cultures. Listed below are a few of these tales:

Native American Turtle Meanings

Native Americans Sky Woman with Turtle
Sky Girl with Turtle, Iroquois. Paintings: Moon Spiral Artwork.

Each Native American tradition is exclusive, with their very own set of traditions and beliefs. Nonetheless one factor all of them have in widespread is a deep reverence for animals and nature. For a lot of Native American tribes, the turtle is a strong being.

A Celestial Image of Mom Earth

For the Native Individuals, the turtle symbolizes the Earth Mom. Most turtles have 13 scales, or scutes, on the again of their shell. To Native Individuals, these scutes characterize the 13 full moons that now we have every year.

As well as, on the very outer rim of most turtles’ shells, there are 28 smaller scutes. For the Native Individuals, these 28 sections represented the 28 days in a lunar month. Thus, turtles had been thought of a celestial image of Mom Earth.

Turtle Shell Lunar Calendar

Turtle Earth Mom

There’s a Native American creation fantasy about an excellent flood, which lined the Earth with water. The Turtle Earth Mom swam beneath the floor of the water and gathered mud from the ocean ground. She used this mud to create land for folks and animals to reside on.

Turtle Island

The Iroquois have an analogous creation fantasy. Of their story, the Sky Girl falls right down to Earth. Nonetheless, the Earth is roofed in water. So, the animals who had been dwelling within the sea, tried to create some land for her. They swam to the underside of the ocean and introduced up mud to create the land, however had nowhere to place it. So, the muskrat started to pile mud on high of the turtle. Quickly, the opposite animals joined in to pile extra mud on the turtle’s again. The turtle grew bigger and shortly a complete island shaped on his again, and that is how the Earth was made.

For the Mohawk Individuals, the Earth was additionally carried by an enormous turtle. And earthquakes had been merely the turtle shrugging to shift the burden of the world she was carrying on her again.

Turtle Clans

Native American cultures have a clan system that’s organized round household teams, that are based mostly on the maternal line. Clans function a system of neighborhood group and a division of labor, and a few historians surmise that they helped to maintain gene swimming pools wholesome by stopping shut kinfolk from marrying.

Clans even have animals which are related to them, such because the bear, crow, fox, or hummingbird, and plenty of tribes have turtle clans. These tribes embrace the Chippewa, Huron-Wyandot, Menominee, Abenaki, Shawnee, and Iroquois.

Australian Aboriginal Creation Myths About Turtles

Aboriginal turtle artwork
Paintings: Njrami Fourmile, Njarmi Artwork and Design.

As I wrote about in my overview submit about spirit animals, just like the Native Individuals, the Aboriginal Australians consider strongly within the interconnectedness of life on Earth. Their perception system is usually known as “animism,” which suggests they seen folks, crops, animals, landforms, and celestial our bodies as interconnected and a part of a better entire. The Aboriginal Australians additionally revered turtles, who figured prominently in a few of their creation tales.

Wayamba the Turtle

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A very long time in the past, Oola, the lizard, was gathering yams for her youngsters to eat. Abruptly, a warrior named Wayamba jumped from the bushes and grabbed Oola and her youngsters. He informed Oola that she would change into his spouse. Wayamba was armed with weapons and a giant protect, so Oola couldn’t overpower him.

When Wayamba walked into his camp with Oola and her youngsters, his tribe members had been very offended as a result of they knew he had stolen her. So, they informed Wayamba that when Oola’s tribesmen got here to rescue her, he could be on his personal to defend himself. They weren’t getting in to a combat of his making.

Figuring out he could be outnumbered, Wayamba wrapped two shields round his physique, one within the entrance and one within the again. As Oola’s tribesmen attacked, throwing spears and boomerangs, Wayamba pulled his head, arms, and legs in between the 2 shields. Nonetheless, realizing that he was nonetheless outnumbered, Wayamba ran as quick as he might and dove right into a lake.

Wayamba was by no means seen once more. Nonetheless, those that enterprise into the water have reported seeing an odd creature with shields on its again down within the deep.

Polynesian Turtle Symbolism and Myths

The Indigenous Individuals of the Polynesian Islands even have a group of turtle legends.

The Turtle and the Shark

There as soon as was a blind lady named Fonueau who had a daughter named Salofa. One yr, a extreme famine overtook the island and Fonueau and Salofa started to starve. Fonueau assured her daughter that the villagers would absolutely convey them meals as a result of they knew she was blind. Nonetheless, meals by no means got here.

As they grew increasingly more determined, Fonueau and Salofa determined to go away their destiny as much as the gods. So, they jumped off a cliff into the ocean. However after they each returned to the floor, they noticed that the opposite had been reworked: one right into a shark and the opposite a turtle.

Excited that they might all of a sudden swim so effectively, they swam to search out one other island. Ultimately they got here to the shore of a village referred to as Vaitogi. After they arrived, the native chief, a person named Letuli, and his folks took pity on the ravenous creatures and fed them.

The turtle and shark had been then reworked again into their human types of Fonueau and Salofa. Out of gratitude, the 2 girls danced and sang to entertain Chief Letuli and his folks.

Immediately, the folks of Samoa play their particular track after they want the facility of the turtle and shark spirits, and it’s mentioned that after they sing this track, a shark and turtle seem within the sea.

Japanese Turtle Symbolism and Tales

In Japan, turtles are symbols of longevity and felicity.

Turtle Symbolism Japan
Paintings: NeoJaponismAtelier.

The Story of Urashima Tarō

There as soon as was a fisherman named Urashima Tarō who rescued a turtle. To repay him, the turtle mentioned he would carry him on his again to the Dragon Palace beneath the ocean. There, as his reward, the gorgeous Princess Otohime would entertain him.

Urashima Tarō spent a number of pleasurable days with the princess. Nonetheless, he knew he needed to return to his house on land. When it got here time for Urashima Tarō to go away, the weeping Princess Otohime gave him a jeweled field as a parting present. Nonetheless, she informed him he mustn’t ever open it.

Urashima Tarō turtle buddy arrived to take him house. On the lengthy journey, Urashima Tarō grew bored. Unable to comprise his curiosity, he opened the jeweled field. When Urashima Tarō lastly obtained again to his village, he realized that he had not been gone for only a few days. In reality, 100 years had handed, and he was now a really previous man.

Turtle Symbolism in China

Chinese family with sacred turtle
A Chinese language household China, a household exhibits reverence for a sacred turtle. Picture: Paul Munhoven.

In China, turtles are sacred animals who’re symbols of longevity, knowledge, and wealth. For practioners of Feng Shui, putting a turtle statue close to the entrance door protects your private home from detrimental vitality. As well as, putting a turtle behind your again in your workplace will provide help to to be extra profitable. Moreover, putting a turtle within the profession part of your private home or workplace, as represented within the placement on the bagua, will convey skilled rewards. You can too place a turtle within the well being part of any room to convey well being and vitality to inhabitants.

Turtles in Taiwan

In Taiwanese tradition, turtles characterize good luck, longevity, and peacefulness. Thus, the Taiwanese bake little truffles within the form of turtles throughout pageant season, giving them as presents and choices in temples.

Turtle Symbolism in Vietnam

Turtles are additionally sacred animals in Vietnamese tradition, and they’re the topic of many Vietnamese tales. One of the enduring is the story of the Sacred Big Turtle.

The Sacred Big Turtle

Within the fifteenth century, a rich landowner named Lê Lợi was given a supernatural sword from his angels. With this sword, he efficiently drove the occupying Ming Military off of his personal and surrounding lands. Thus, the folks topped him as their emperor.

In the future, Lê Lợi was taking a leisurely boat trip in a lake when an enormous golden turtle surfaced. Now that the battles had been over, Lê Lợi knew that he should return his magical sword, so he positioned it on the again of the turtle, who swam into the depths of the lake. The return of the sword introduced peace to the land, So, Lê Lợi renamed the lake, which is situated close to present-day Hanoi, “Hồ Hoàn Kiếm,” which interprets to “Lake of the Returned Sword.”

Turtle That means in Hinduism

World on Elephants and Turtle
The Hindu World, 1877. Artist Unknown.

Much like the Native American creation legend, in Hindu mythology the world rests on an enormous turtle. Nonetheless, the Hindus insert 4 elephants who stand on the shell of the turtle to uphold the world.


In Hindu mythology, there’s a big turtle named Kurma who holds the god Vishnu on his again. Kurma even has a temple that’s devoted to him – the Srikurmam Kurmanathaswamy Temple, which is situated in Andhra Pradesh, India.

In Hinduism, Kurma is taken into account the primary dwelling being, his stomach symbolizing the Earth and his shell symbolizing the celestial world, or heavens.

Turtle That means in Historic Egypt

In historic Egypt, turtles had been plentiful within the Nile River. The Egyptians noticed them as sacred beings who warded off evil. They wore turtle amulets for defense and to maintain the wearer wholesome. Thus, as with different cultures world wide, turtles in Egypt had been symbols of safety, well being, and longevity.


The Mesopotamians related Enki, their god of water, with the turtle. In a single story, when Ninurta, the god of looking and farming, tried to realize absolute energy over the world, Enki launched an enormous turtle to comply with him. The turtle caught Ninurta and bit his ankle. He then dug a giant gap and pulled Ninurta into with him, thus saving the world.

Sufi Turtle Symbolism

Baby leatherback turtles
Leatherback turtle hatchlings (Dermochelys coriacea) leaving their nest at Eagle Seashore, Aruba. Picture: Elise Peterson

For the Sufis, turtles held essential symbolic which means. The Sufis noticed the hatching of child sea turtles who make their pilgrimage throughout the sand an into the ocean as symbolic of 1’s return to God by way of prayer and God’s steerage.

Turtle Symbolism in Nordic Cultures

In historic Norse legends, there have been two Earth goddesses who’re related to turtles. Fjorgyn, the goddess of nature, soil, and stone, is usually depicted with three spirit animals – a snapping turtle, a toad, and a vole. And Asha, who’s the goddess of artwork and pottery, is usually depicted with a painted turtle.

Turtles in Celtic Mythology

The Celtic god Lugh, who was the god of the solar, warfare, and expertise, is most frequently seen with ravens and wolves. Nonetheless, he’s additionally related to the turtle.

Turtle Dream That means

Turtle Dream

If a turtle enters your desires and also you marvel what the dream meant, contemplate the feelings you felt within the dream. Goals are private to every dreamer, so a turtle dream for one individual could also be interpreted very otherwise from one which one other individual has. Nonetheless, delving into the feelings you felt within the dream in context to your personal views of turtles and sea turtles can present higher insights into what your unconscious is making an attempt to inform you.

As they’re symbols of retreat and transformation, a turtle dream may be interpreted as an indication so that you can take some down time to relaxation and mirror and take into consideration areas of your life that you simply want to rework.

Turtle Tattoo

Turtle Tattoo A turtle or sea turtle tattoo is a phenomenal image that demonstrates that you’re an previous soul in addition to an individual who remains to be present process your personal non secular evolution and transformation. it additionally communicated that you’re related to the Earth and look at life in a holistic, big-picture manner. It additionally exhibits that you simply love turtles and sea turtles! Tattoos are private to every particular person, however hopefully understanding extra about turtle symbolism and mythology will convey even deeper which means to your tattoo.

Organizations that Defend Turtles

Illustration of Turtle Species

In keeping with the Worldwide Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), many turtle species are listed as threatened, endangered, or critically endangered. Threats to turtles and sea turtles embrace air pollution, plastic waste, habitat loss, poaching, and the impacts of local weather change, together with extreme storms, hotter sand, and sea ranges rising. Moreover, sea turtles are impacted by coastal improvement, fishing nets, and different business fishing actions. In case you care about turtles, please do what you possibly can to assist defend them. Listed below are some organizations which are working to avoid wasting the world’s turtles:

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  • Turtle Conservancy
  • Humane Society Worldwide
  • Sea Turtle Conservancy
  • Wildlife Trafficking Alliance
  • WildAid
  • Turtle Basis