One of my best friends, and a wise soul indeed, reminds me often to pay attention to the “signs” from the Universe. He says they come in three’s…the first is a whisper, the second is a nudge and then if One is still not paying attention, a scream! It’s a good practice to take time to be still, to go within and listen to those messages. When we do not is often when something happens to us that will make us stop and slow down, to tune out the daily noise. This, to me, is why we practice yoga, meditation, chi gong, tai chi and other mindfulness practices. They take us to the still point within.
I was at a crossroads in life, a time of intense personal transformation, when I was guided to take some time off and spend it on the island of Maui. My calendar is always booked, even on weekends, so stepping away can get tricky. I knew the importance of stopping the business of life, to go within, to retreat from all the constant bombardment of technology, family, friends, work responsibilities etc. I have also known and experienced firsthand what can happen when we don’t stop and listen.
I always turn to Nature and the animal, plant, mineral kingdoms at times of seeking vision. There are many indigenous people all over the world that follow these signs and live in peaceful harmony with their natural environment. We, of course also know of many opposite examples, as we exist in a dual Universe.
I began my inner journey on a beach on the western side of the island. My usual preference is for the opposite side of Maui near Pa’ia, but I was choosing to experience new places, to seek out that which is not in my comfort zone. The western waters were calm and clear. One could see to the bottom of the sea floor when swimming and the color of the water held otherworldly shades of deep midnight blues to turquoise and teal that really couldn’t be captured in photos.
I took a stroll on the shore toward a large outcropping of lava rocks that had settled on the sand from volcanic activity eons ago. I looked down and began to see one heart shaped stone after another. They literally would wash up to my toes. And then I looked up and saw a dozen of the largest sea turtles I had ever seen! One of them managed to lumber to shore to sun and snooze near the lava rocks, while the surf lapped at his behind causing one eye to open and close with slight annoyance.
The turtle totem in the Native American tradition is the Mother, the keeper of the ancient wisdom. According to Elena Harris, Editor of Spirit Animal.com:
“The turtle totem wisdom teaches us about walking our path in peace and sticking to it with determination and serenity. Slow moving on earth, yet also incredibly fast and agile in water, those who have the turtle as totem or spirit animal may be encouraged to take a break in their busy lives and look around or within themselves for more grounded, long-lasting solutions. Traditionally, the turtle is symbolic of the way of peace, whether it’s inviting us to cultivate peace of mind or a peaceful relationship with our environment.
The turtle symbolism is characterized by the association with the Earth and earth symbols of grounded-ness and patience:
• Symbol of the world, of the Earth
• Ability to stay grounded, even in moments of disturbances and chaos
• Slowing down, pacing yourself
• Determination, persistence
• Emotional strength and understanding
• Ancient wisdom
The turtle is also linked to the spirit of the water and the fluid nature of emotions.”
The turtle totem symbolizes our peaceful walk on this earth. It represents the path we take as we embark on our journey through life. In contrast to emotional or spiritual development occurring in bursts, the way of the turtle anchors our personal unfolding in a slow, more grounded series of steps and longer cycles of transformation.
The turtle is associated with our physical and embodied evolution on the earthly plane. Call this spirit animal for help to be more grounded. You can also get help slowing down and pacing yourself, so you can take your next step with more confidence.
The American continent is referred to as “Turtle Island” in the Native American folklore. It is said that the Turtle carried the weight of the land of that continent on her back. This image is also present in Hindu and Chinese cultures, where the turtle is the animal carrying Mother Earth and holding the world in balance.
Having the turtle as totem means that you have an affinity with the ancient wisdom of the earth. You are naturally tuned into the elements, land, plants, people and animals. You carry your home on your back figuratively speaking and feel at ease wherever you are.
The wisdom of the turtle totem teaches us about determination and staying strong despite obstacles or distractions. This animal encourages those who have it as totem to listen deeply to their guidance and trust their path no matter what.
It is a great helper for those who need to provide a steady effort and persistence. You can call on the wisdom of the turtle when you need help to sustain your efforts and succeed in a long-lasting endeavor. By analogy with the biological attributes of this animal characterized by a long life, this spirit animal is also associated with longevity.
If you have the turtle as spirit animal, you may be inclined to base your decisions on a deliberate process of reviews and considerations. It may sometimes take you longer than most to make your move, but the results tend to be long lasting and solid.
The turtle represents the way of peace – whether it’s external or internal. It is considered as the Peacemaker in Native American traditions. This animal is also often associated with the feminine principle or feminine energy, which foster peace and harmony with all things.
Being inspired by the wisdom of the turtle totem, you can slow down when you feel you are getting overwhelmed by a situation or emotions and rest to gain a more grounded perspective. This spirit guide can assist you in taking time for yourself to better integrate all the aspects of a given situation.”
The powerful emotions that come from swimming with the sea turtles and the wisdom these ancient ones exude is not to be missed. I found my daily swims and time on the sand with these beautiful wisdom keepers to be not only grounding, but the perfect path to inner peace and reflection, a time to hear those whispers and gentle nudges from the Universe and to prepare for the next chapter in life from a place of peace and confidence.