Native American Totems

Discovering the medicine and lessons learned from the spirits of animals and all living things.

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What lessons do we learn if Turtle is an animal totem that is working with us? In Native American traditions and teachings we find that Turtle is the oldest symbol for our planet. Both the symbol and the animal spirit are a personification of goddess energy and the eternal Mother from which life itself evolves. All of us are born of the Earth’s womb and to her soil our bodies return when our journey comes to an end. Turtle will ask us to be attentive to the cycle of give and take and to remember to give back to the Mother as she has given to all of us.

The shell that protects Turtle can be compared to the protection that Mother Earth has utilized over the centuries as her body has been ravished by us humans. Actually, we can see Mother Earth protecting herself right now with the climate changes, volcano eruptions, and earthquakes that are happening around the world. We humans have shields like Turtle to protect us from hurt, jealousy, envy, and the insensitivity of others. Sister Turtle as an animal totem will teach us how to use our shield or shell for protection. If the actions or words of the people around us leave a wounded feeling, Turtle is telling us to go inside ourselves and to honor our feelings. If we feel that we have been attacked, the message from the animal totem Turtle might be to give a warning snap.

When Sister Turtle comes to us as an animal spirit to share her wisdom and medicines, she asks us to honor the creative source that each of us has within us. She wants us to learn to be grounded to the Earth and to observe our situations with motherly compassion. Turtle has two energies, earth and water and we can use those to create a harmonious flow in our situations.

In the Native American tradition of animal totems, Turtle acts as the best teacher for the art of grounding. She helps us to focus on our thoughts and actions and to slow to a pace that assures completion of what lays before us. We learn to not “push the river” and cause a situation where resolution or completion doesn’t happen too soon. It is important to remember to allow things to happen at their own rate and in their own season.

As Sister Turtle would bury her eggs, we need to bury our thoughts and allow them to hatch into what they should be. In other words, allow them to develop before we bring them out into the light for others to see or know about.

When the animal totem of Turtle comes to work with us, we are reminded of the ally we have in Mother Earth and that no matter the situation we find ourselves in…we can always ask for help.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related

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