Turtle symbolism and an interpretation includes longevity, perseverance, steadfastness, protection, retreat, healing, tranquility, the Earth, and also transformation. For as long as humans have actually walked the Earth, there have been turtles. Thus, turtle mythology and symbolism has actually likely been about for as long as we have. In addition, the turtle spirit pet is crucial figure to countless people roughly the human being who feeling a kinship through turtles and also sea turtles. In this post, you’ll learn about commonly mutual turtle and also sea tortoise meanings, tortoise mythology, the turtle soul animal, and also more.

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Table the Contents

Difference between a Turtle, Sea Turtle, Terrapin, and Tortoise

Before we gain started, ns thought several of you can be interested in learning about the difference between a turtle, a sea turtle, a terrapin, and a tortoise. While they are an extremely similar, there space some unique differences.

To begin, some turtles and also all sea turtles spend many of their time in the water. In fact, they only leave it come lay their eggs ~ above land and also occasionally come bask in the sun. Thus, those types of turtles have actually webbed feet and their sea turtle cousins have actually flippers. Terrapins, ~ above the various other hand, and also some varieties of turtles spend much more time on land. Castle live in an ext brackish, swampy environments. Tortoises, on the other hand, are various from their water-loving cousins in the they live totally on land and do not have actually webbed feet.

This short article will sheathe turtle, terrapin, and sea turtle symbolism, and also I’ll write a separate short article on the turtle soon.

What does a tortoise symbolize?

LongevityPerseverance and also SteadfastnessProtectionHome and RetreatHealingTranquilityEarthTransformation

Detailed Turtle and also Sea turtle Symbols and Meanings


“The turtle’s teachings room so beautiful. So an extremely special. That teaches united state that everything you are, every little thing you need, and also everything you lug to the people is inside you, no external, and you carry it v you, and are not restricted to a place, space, or time.” – Eileen Anglin

Turtle Symbolism: Longevity

Turtles have actually been top top the earth for 220 million years, and individually, they have long lifespans. Turtle deserve to live come 40 year old, while sea turtles deserve to live right into their 80s.

The Story the Atu

My household has a mud turtle (genus Kinosternon) called Atu that is 28 year old. A girlfriend of mine uncovered her on the street in san Francisco. She to be young and sickly. Once my girlfriend went on a trip, she left the tiny turtle with me.

Atu appeared to boost with me, so Katie offered her come me. Atu lived happily in an aquarium because that a number of years as soon as I live top top the houseboats in Sausalito, California.

My mother is a an excellent lover that turtles, and constantly asked about Atu, hinting that she wouldn’t mind having her come live v her in Colorado. The tortoise is clearly one of my mom’s heart animals and has been for as long as I deserve to remember.

So, i smuggled Atu in my pocket on a trip to Colorado. My mom came to be her benefactor for a number of years. My mom had actually a great friend named Susan who always took care of mine mom’s animals when she traveled. A true animal whisperer, Susan ended up being bewitched v Atu. Eventually, she expressed the she wouldn’t mind having Atu come live v her. Once my mom got ill, she request if me if she might give Atu to Susan. Learning Susan, I said yes. Atu has lived v Susan currently for fine over a decade where she enjoys gift hand-fed frozen dried worms every evening.

Ancient Wisdom

As ancient beings with lengthy lifespans, turtles space symbols that longevity in societies all over the world. Lock are quite the the contrary of butterflies and also dragonflies, who time on planet generally lasts just a pair of main or months, respectively.

When the turtle is your soul animal, you room an old soul with a perspective on life that is deep and open-minded. You have actually much to teach others around life and about why we are here.

As a price of old wisdom, the tortoise is a advantageous totem come meditate on as soon as you wish because that a lengthy life of health and wellness for yourself and also others. In addition, the turtle heart is a helpful symbol come think around when friend are developing something the you want to endure the test of time. This deserve to be a an innovative project, a relationship or partnership, or a brand-new business venture. Turtles, after ~ all, were built to last.

Perseverance and Steadfastness


The steady turtle is also a prize of perseverance and also steadfastness. In the fable “The Tortoise and the Hare,” despite his sluggish pace, that is the tortoise who prevails since of his consistency and also focus. The speak “Slow and steady wins the race” displayed the turtle spirit.

The turtle spirit is a way teacher that reminds you that once you space clear around your goal, stay true to your path, even if your development seems slow and also arduous.

Of course, it’s vital to be decision clear about your goals first. If friend feel favor you’re unsure of her path, that simply method you need an ext information. Look for it out. Study, explore, meditate, and reflect. This process is also part of your journey.

Resist and Persist

The tortoise spirit additionally embodies perseverance. In a people that have the right to be negative, harsh, and cruel in ~ times, the tortoise reminds girlfriend to placed on your shell of resistance and keep moving forward.



With their hardened shells, turtles space the ultimate symbol the protection. Native American mothers used turtle medicine to safeguard their new babies, consisting of holding sacred medicine in tortoise shells.

Summon the turtle spirit when you room going into a situation where you require protection. This can be a negotiation, a confrontation, or just a new experience wherein you space pushing her limits. You have actually a hard shell of willpower and resolve that’s more powerful than girlfriend realize.

Home and also Retreat

We all must retreat right into our shells indigenous time come time, away from the chaos the the world. When the tortoise is your strength animal, it’s vital to offer yourself the time you need to get in your man cavern or she den, to take treatment of yourself, reflect, and also recharge. Then, you will certainly be much better equipped come stick her neck out, embrace new experiences, and also bask in the sunshine that life.



As they room symbols of protection and also retreat, turtles are also an effective symbols that healing. As detailed earlier, the Navajo civilization used turtle shells come hold and also dispense their medicines because of the turtle’s special healing qualities.

If you space ill or someone you love is, meditate ~ above the turtle’s longevity, endurance, and also power to heal. And, that goes without saying, always seek out help from your higher Power and also your Angels.


If friend have ever before seen turtles basking ~ above a log in in a lake and soaking up the sunshine, you understand they are peaceful beings. When they can be territorial, you don’t watch turtles battling favor wolves end a piece of meat, or prefer crows driving an interloping owl away from their territory. Turtles don’t have time because that such shenanigans. Castle would rather be peacefully coasting under water or soaking up the sunshine ~ above shore.

If you’ve ever before had the privilege to snorkel or scuba dive and also watch sea turtles in the ocean, you have actually a first-hand account that just just how gentle and tranquil these unique beings are.

Summon the turtle spirit pet when you need tranquility. Even looking at turtle images and also videos have the right to have a quiet effect.



In Hindu and also Native American cultures, the turtle symbolizes the Earth. In stories from both of this cultures, there are depictions the a great turtle transferring the people on his back, and also being the creator the the world. Thus, turtles are symbols that both the vastness that the world and the earth as a structure for all life.

The turtle soul asks you take a holistic view and think in regards to the large picture. If you feel unwell, emphasis on your as whole health, not simply treating symptoms. If you space unhappy in her life, probably a significant lifestyle readjust is in order. And also if friend are captured up in prompt problems, upper heart by ns or rejection, the tortoise reminds the you there’s a an excellent big people out there. That is complete of amazing people, natural wonders, and countless experiences the you have actually yet to discover. Obtain out of her shell and explore the world.



“And the turtle – of course every the turtles space free, together turtles must be – and also maybe every creatures must be.” – Dr. Seuss

As semi-aquatic animals, turtles space symbols the transformation. Every one of life originated in the sea, and also eventually, part creatures made their way to land, including the turtle.

Yet, the turtle never completely disconnected indigenous the water. Sea turtles specifically evolved and also returned full time to the water. Although lock still do the expedition to land come lay your eggs. Simply as your babies, when hatched, will certainly make the journey across the sand and earlier into the sea.

Diving right into Your Subconscious

Going into water is a symbol because that diving into your subconscious and also your super-conscious – an changed state from your day-to-day life in the product world. The turtle heart embodies the capability to shift back and also forth in between these states.

Expand your consciousness.

The turtle spirit animal invites to broaden your consciousness. Over there is therefore much an ext going on 보다 we endure in our day-to-day mindful states. The tortoise spirit animal reminds you that you have actually the ability within you come transform any kind of area of your life, consisting of your thoughts.

As the Sufi poet Rumi wrote:

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

Turtle soul Animal


When the tortoise is your heart animal, you room blessed with an ancient understanding that the world. According to indigenous American traditions, you don’t necessarily select your spirit animals. Instead, they choose you. Your spirit pet might involved you in a vision pursuit or with prayer or meditation, or in an additional powerful means that effects your human experience top top Earth.

If a turtle or sea turtle provides themself well-known to you, even if it is in genuine life or v art, the media, or elsewhere – salary attention. There space no coincidences. Your spirit pet serves as a guide, pass you messages from the world to assist you room you navigate her life path and also your soul’s journey.

if you’re curious about other pets who might be your heart guides, you deserve to take jajalger2018.org’s spirit animal test and also read the spirit animal overview post.

Turtle power Animal


“Try come be choose the tortoise at lull in your own shell.” – invoice Copeland

As the surname implies, a power animal can authorize you through their most dynamic traits. Because that example, you deserve to summon the tortoise power pet when you:

Are beginning a new relationship or endeavor and also want it to last for the long-term.Feel the require for much more protection in your life, whether it’s physical, emotional, psychic, or financial.Need come summon the perseverance to gain through a an overwhelming time in her life or to overcome obstacles.Want to transform an area of your life.Need more peace and also tranquility in her life. Would prefer some great luck come come your way!

Turtle Totem

A turtle totem is a symbol the encapsulates the positive attributes of the pet is represents. So, a tortoise totem can be a good luck talisman because that bringing healing and also protection in her life. It can also be a good luck symbol as soon as you space undergoing a change and expect for optimistic outcomes.

Turtle Mythology and also Folklore

Turtles have roamed the planet for about 220 million years, making castle a tiny “younger” 보다 sharks, who are about 450 million year old, and dragonflies, who are around 300 million year old. Sea turtles, however, are a little bit younger 보다 land turtles, at about 120 million year old. Biologist surmise the sea turtles developed from their land-loving cousins, eventually arising flipper-like “feet” native semi-webbed feet, many thanks to evolution.

We are youngsters contrasted to turtles.

Compared come these old animals, we people are youngsters. Our first ape-like ancestors who walked on 2 legs didn’t appear on earth until 5 – 7 million year ago. As soon as we arrived, the turtle was already here. So, this may an extremely well be once turtle symbolism and mythology began to take form in the mental of our street ancestors.

While hominids have adjusted much over these millions of years, turtles space pretty much the same as they ever were. Apparently, no one observed a factor to break the turtle mold. So, you have the right to say that turtles and sea turtles room truly old beings who lug in their DNA the wisdom that the ages.

Not only are castle ancient, turtle are everywhere. There room over 300 and they live ~ above every continent except Antarctica. Thus, turtles show up in the mythology and also folklore of many cultures. Here are few of those stories:

Native American tortoise Meanings

Sky Woman v Turtle, Iroquois. Artwork: Moon Spiral Art.

Every native American culture is unique, with their own collection of traditions and also beliefs. However one point they all have in typical is a deep reverence because that animals and also nature. For many Native American tribes, the tortoise is a an effective being.

A Celestial prize of mother Earth

For the native Americans, the turtle symbolizes the planet Mother. Many turtles have 13 scales, or scutes, top top the ago of their shell. To indigenous Americans, this scutes represent the 13 full moons that we have actually each year.

In addition, top top the very outer in salt of most turtles’ shells, there are 28 smaller scutes. Because that the aboriginal Americans, this 28 sections represented the 28 work in a lunar month. Thus, turtle were considered a celestial price of mother Earth.


Turtle planet Mother

There is a indigenous American production myth around a an excellent flood, which extended the earth with water. The Turtle earth Mother swam below the surface ar of the water and gathered mud from the ocean floor. She offered this dirt to develop land for people and animals come live on.

Turtle Island

The Iroquois have a comparable creation myth. In their story, the sky Woman falls down to Earth. However, the planet is extended in water. So, the animals who to be living in the sea, tried to develop some land because that her. They swam to the bottom of the sea and also brought up mud to create the land, yet had nowhere to placed it. So, the muskrat started to pile dirt on optimal of the turtle. Soon, the other animals joined in to pile more mud ~ above the turtle’s back. The turtle prospered larger and soon whole island created on his back, and this is just how the earth was made.

For the Mohawk People, the earth was also carried through a gigantic turtle. And also earthquakes were merely the turtle shrugging to change the load of the human being she was transporting on her back.

Turtle Clans

Native American cultures have a clan device that is organized approximately family groups, which are based on the maternal line. Clans serve as a system of ar organization and a division of labor, and also some historians surmise the they assisted to store gene pools healthy and balanced by preventing close relatives from marrying.

Clans also have animals that are associated with them, such as the bear, crow, fox, or hummingbird, and a variety of tribes have turtle clans. This tribes encompass the Chippewa, Huron-Wyandot, Menominee, Abenaki, Shawnee, and also Iroquois.

Australian aboriginal Creation Myths about Turtles

Artwork: Njrami Fourmile, Njarmi Art and also Design.

As ns wrote about in my rundown post around spirit animals, like the indigenous Americans, the indigenous Australians believe strongly in the interconnectedness that life top top Earth. Their belief system is sometimes referred to as “animism,” which method they perceived people, plants, animals, landforms, and also celestial bodies as interconnected and component of a greater whole. The aboriginal Australians also revered turtles, that figured prominently in several of their development stories.

Wayamba the Turtle

A lengthy time ago, Oola, the lizard, was gathering yams for her youngsters to eat. Suddenly, a warrior named Wayamba jumped from the bushes and grabbed Oola and her children. He told Oola the she would become his wife. Wayamba was equipped with weapons and also a large shield, for this reason Oola can not overpower him.

When Wayamba walked right into his camp with Oola and her children, his tribe members were an extremely angry since they knew he had actually stolen her. So, castle told Wayamba that once Oola’s tribesmen came to rescue her, he would be ~ above his own to defend himself. Lock weren’t gaining in to a fight of his making.

Knowing he would certainly be outnumbered, Wayamba wrapped two shields roughly his body, one in the front and also one in the back. As Oola’s tribesmen attacked, throw spears and boomerangs, Wayamba pulled his head, arms, and also legs in in between the two shields. However, knowing that he to be still outnumbered, Wayamba ran as quick as that could and also dove right into a lake.

Wayamba was never ever seen again. However, those who undertaking into the water have actually reported see a strange creature v shields ~ above its back down in the deep.

Polynesian turtle Symbolism and also Myths

The Indigenous people of the Polynesian Islands additionally have a collection of turtle legends.

The Turtle and the Shark

There once was a remote woman named Fonueau who had actually a daughter named Salofa. One year, a severe scarcity overtook the island and Fonueau and also Salofa began to starve. Fonueau assured her daughter that the villagers would surely lug them food because they knew she to be blind. However, food never came.

As they grew an ext and an ext desperate, Fonueau and Salofa determined to leaving their fate as much as the gods. So, lock jumped off a cliff into the sea. Yet when they both went back to the surface, they witnessed that the other had been transformed: one right into a shark and the various other a turtle.

Excited the they might suddenly swim therefore well, they swam to find another island. Eventually they concerned the coast of a town called Vaitogi. Once they arrived, the local chief, a man named Letuli, and also his people took pity on the starving creatures and fed them.

The turtle and also shark were climate transformed earlier into your human forms of Fonueau and Salofa. The end of gratitude, the 2 women danced and sang to game Chief Letuli and also his people.

Today, the world of Samoa beat their special song when they need the strength of the turtle and shark spirits, and it’s stated that once they sing this song, a shark and turtle show up in the sea.

Japanese tortoise Symbolism and Stories

In Japan, turtles space symbols the longevity and felicity.

Artwork: NeoJaponismAtelier.

The Story that Urashima Tarō

There as soon as was a fisherman named Urashima Tarō that rescued a turtle. To repay him, the turtle stated he would lug him top top his back to the Dragon palace beneath the sea. There, as his reward, the beautiful Princess Otohime would entertain him.

Urashima Tarō spent several pleasurable days through the princess. However, he knew he had to return to his home on land. Once it came time for Urashima Tarō to leave, the weeping Princess Otohime gave him a jeweled box as a parting gift. However, she told him he must never open up it.

Urashima Tarō turtle friend arrived to take it him home. On the lengthy journey, Urashima Tarō thrived bored. Unable to save on computer his curiosity, he opened up the jeweled box. When Urashima Tarō lastly got ago to his village, the learned that he had actually not been gone for just a few days. In fact, 100 years had passed, and he was now a really old man.

Turtle Symbolism in China

A Chinese household China, a household shows reverence because that a sacred turtle. Photo: Paul Munhoven.

In China, turtles room sacred pets who space symbols of longevity, wisdom, and also wealth. because that practioners of Feng Shui, put a tortoise statue near the former door protects your residence from an unfavorable energy. In addition, put a turtle behind your ago in her office will help you to be more successful. Furthermore, place a turtle in the career section of your house or office, as stood for in the placement on the bagua, will lug professional rewards. Girlfriend can also place a turtle in the health section of any room to lug health and vitality come inhabitants.

Turtles in Taiwan

In Taiwanese culture, tortoise represent good luck, longevity, and peacefulness. Thus, the Taiwanese bake small cakes in the shape of turtles during festival season, offering them together gifts and also offerings in temples.

Turtle Symbolism in Vietnam

Turtles are also sacred animals in Vietnamese culture, and they room the topic of countless Vietnamese stories. Among the most enduring is the story that the Sacred huge Turtle.

The Sacred huge Turtle

In the 15th century, a rich landowner named Lê Lợi was provided a superordinary sword from his angels. Through this sword, he efficiently drove the occupying Ming military off the his own and also surrounding lands. Thus, the human being crowned him as their emperor.

One day, Lê Lợi was taking a leisurely boat ride in a lake as soon as a massive gold turtle surfaced. Now that the battles to be over, Lê Lợi knew that he have to return his wonder sword, therefore he inserted it on the ago of the turtle, that swam right into the depths of the lake. The return of the sword lugged peace come the land, So, Lê Lợi renamed the lake, i beg your pardon is situated near present-day Hanoi, “Hồ Hoàn Kiếm,” which converts to “Lake of the went back Sword.”

Turtle an interpretation in Hinduism

The Hindu World, 1877. Artist Unknown.

Similar to the aboriginal American development legend, in Hindu mythology the human being rests top top a huge turtle. However, the Hindus insert four elephants that stand top top the shell of the turtle to uphold the world.


In Hindu mythology, there is a huge turtle named Kurma that holds the god Vishnu ~ above his back. Kurma also has a holy place that’s dedicated to that – the Srikurmam Kurmanathaswamy Temple, i m sorry is located in Andhra Pradesh, India.

In Hinduism, Kurma is considered the very first living being, his ship symbolizing the Earth and also his covering symbolizing the celestial world, or heavens.

Turtle an interpretation in ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, tortoise were numerous in the Nile River. The Egyptians experienced them as sacred beings who warded turn off evil. They wore tortoise amulets because that protection and to keep the wearer healthy. Thus, as with other cultures about the world, turtle in Egypt were signs of protection, health, and also longevity.


The Mesopotamians connected Enki, their god that water, with the turtle. In one story, as soon as Ninurta, the god that hunting and farming, check to acquire absolute power over the world, Enki exit a giant turtle to follow him. The turtle caught Ninurta and bit his ankle. He climate dug a big hole and also pulled Ninurta right into with him, hence saving the world.

Sufi tortoise Symbolism

Leatherback tortoise hatchlings (Dermochelys coriacea) leaving their nest at Eagle Beach, Aruba. Photo: Elise Peterson

For the Sufis, turtle held essential symbolic meaning. The Sufis observed the hatching of baby sea turtles that make their pilgrimage across the sand an right into the sea as symbolic the one’s go back to God v prayer and God’s guidance.

Turtle Symbolism in Nordic Cultures

In old Norse legends, there were two earth goddesses who are associated with turtles. Fjorgyn, the goddess the nature, soil, and stone, is often illustrated with three spirit pets – a snapping turtle, a toad, and a vole. And also Asha, who is the goddess the art and pottery, is often portrayed with a painted turtle.

Turtles in Celtic Mythology

The Celtic god Lugh, that was the god the the sun, war, and skills, is most regularly seen v ravens and also wolves. However, the is additionally associated through the turtle.

Turtle Dream Meaning


If a tortoise enters her dreams and you wonder what the dream meant, take into consideration the emotions friend felt in the dream. Dreams are personal to every dreamer, for this reason a tortoise dream because that one person may be interpreted an extremely differently indigenous one that another person has. However, delving right into the emotions you felt in the dream in paper definition to your own views that turtles and sea turtles have the right to provide better insights into what her subconscious is trying to tell you.

As they room symbols that retreat and also transformation, a tortoise dream can be construed as a authorize for girlfriend to take it some down time come rest and also reflect and think about areas of her life the you would like to transform.

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Turtle Tattoo

A tortoise or sea tortoise tattoo is a beautiful symbol that demonstrates that you are an old soul as well as a human being who is still experience your very own spiritual evolution and transformation. It likewise communicated that you are linked to the Earth and view life in a holistic, big-picture way. It additionally shows the you love turtles and also sea turtles! Tattoos are personal to each individual, but hopefully understanding much more about tortoise symbolism and mythology will lug even deeper meaning to her tattoo.

Organizations that protect Turtles


According to the worldwide Union because that the conservation of Nature (IUCN), countless turtle varieties are provided as threatened, endangered, or critically endangered. Threats to turtles and sea turtles encompass pollution, plastic waste, habitat loss, poaching, and the results of climate change, consisting of severe storms, hotter sand, and sea level rising. Furthermore, sea turtles are affected by coastal development, fishing nets, and other commercial fishing activities. If friend care around turtles, please do what you deserve to to help protect them. Here are some organizations that are working to conserve the world’s turtles: