Part of the Sky Above Earth Below Oracle Deck I created in 2014. Mixed Media
Turtle (Longevity, Mother Earth)
Turtle perambulates on the land. Turtles are reptiles characterized by their bony shell which acts as a shield. All turtles can draw their necks into their shell in some way. Some fold the neck in, while others fold it to the side. The shell of a turtle can vary in colour from species to species. They are most commonly shades of brown, tan, and green. Land turtles may spend more time on land than their marine counterparts, but almost all turtles can swim well. Regardless of marine or land variety all turtles return to land to lay their eggs, it may be this trait that connected them symbolically with Mother Earth. Female turtles will lay a clutch of eggs and then bury it, allowing it to incubate on its own. A turtle’s diet will vary greatly based on its surroundings. Turtles will eat plant matter as well as insects or worms. Sea turtles in particular tend to eat more meat than their land-based kin. Turtles can live easily to the age of 80, and even beyond (their cousin the tortoise is even longer lived). This makes them well connected to the trait of longevity.
In ancient Egypt turtles were associated with the Underworld, and the god Set. Greek mythology related turtles (and tortoises) to the goddess Aphrodite and were seen as symbols of fertility. Fertility is a common trait associated with turtles, likely due to the amount of eggs a sea turtle will lay. Another common theme is turtle being a ‘world carrier’. The idea that a turtle carries the world, or islands, on its back can be seen in Hindu, Chinese, and Native American folklore. Almost all cultures linked turtle to the traits of longevity, and protection; a real world basis that turtle has in spades. Many Polynesian cultures view sea turtles as good luck. In Chinese mythology turtle is one of the most sacred animals; being the only pillar animal (the others being unicorn, phoenix, and dragon) that is still on earth. Among Native American myth there is the legend of the turtle moon calendar. The side sections of a turtle’s shell will be 28 plates, the time from full moon to full moon, and the back plates will number 13, the number of full moons in a given year. Because of this belief turtle was linked to the moon in many native tribes.
When turtle perambulates into your cards it can represent the great spirit of mother earth. Are you carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? How can you reconnect with the physical tangible world? Do you have what it takes to go the distance, even if it means a slow and steady pace? Despite living in and near water turtle is greatly connected to the element of earth, though a study of the water element, and even the moon card may offer greater insight.
Stars and Constellations
Fertility, Temperance, Shield, Boundaries, Persistence versus Speed