The turtle is widely recognized for its attachment to spiritual and mystical beliefs. Across the world, the turtle symbolizes different things to different cultures. Due to their long lives, protective shell, and slow speed, the turtles’ meaning to humans is associated with mental, physical, and emotional states during certain times of life.
As one of these meanings, turtles do represent good luck, especially in Asian countries such as China and Japan. Turtle statues are also related to feng shui, a belief within Chinese culture an energy called Qi that holds the universe, earth, and humanity together. In the feng shui systems, the statutes have specific guidelines on how and where they should be placed in order to bring luck.
It is also believed that turtles have the power to ward off bad magic, grant longevity, and offer the link between heaven and earth. In ancient cultures, the turtle is often seen carrying the world on its back, which symbolizes perseverance in hard times.
Why is a turtle good luck?
The association mostly comes from the turtle’s long-life span, along with their well-developed protective shell. With age comes wisdom, and often overall good health. As one of the oldest animals on earth it also has relations to endurance, wealth, and hope.
What does a turtle symbolize?
Turtle symbolism in Asian countries
Let’s look at a few of the different countries in Asia that hold different beliefs about what turtles symbolize and cover each of them.
The Black Turtle of the North is one of the four sacred animals in feng shui next to the Azure Dragon of the East, the White Tiger of the West, and the Vermillion Phenoix of the South.
It is also said that their shells contain secrets to earth, the heavens, and the universe. So much so that turtle shells were used for fortune-telling during the Shang Dynasty.
Translated in Japanese to ‘kame’, the turtle represents wisdom, luck, longevity, and good fortune. In fact, so much good fortune that it is believed to grant its owner 10,000 years of wealth. It’s shell represents the sky, and the breastplate represents the earth.
The turtle also has great importance within Hinduism. There is a mythical creature called Akupara, spoken of in many stories as a giant turtle that supports the earth and sea solely on it’s back.
Much like in Japan, the Hindu culture also associates the plastron of the turtle to the terrestrial world and the shell to the celestial world. The reptile is depicted raising four elephants on it’s back, where the elephants symbolize man, and the turtle symbolizes fertility.
In Mongolia, the turtle is a symbol of eternity and represents wisdom, power, and longevity. Mongolia, like India, has legends about a turtle that supported the world on its back.
Stone turtles were also put outside of the city of Karakorum to act as guardians that would protect the city. They were also found outside of the monastery of Erdene Zuu Khiid.
What Seeing Turtles in Dreams Symbolize
An injured turtle – You may encounter difficulties whilst trying to do the right thing.
Touching a turtle – Pleasure, rebirth, and invincibility.
A sea turtle – You do not appreciate other people’s involvement in your personal business.
An aggressive turtle – You will see progress, but it will be slow.
Turtle eggs – You must let go of your worries and responsibilities.
An empty turtle shell – Nothing stimulates you intellectually.
Bitten by a turtle – A warning that someone loyal to you is running out of patience with you.
What People Believe Encountering Turtles Means
Turtle near your home – In spiritual terms the home represents the root chakra, the energy center that responds to all things such as finances, relationships, domestic or physical matters. Since the turtle already carries it’s home on it’s back, this energy is amplified.
Finding a turtle near your home is a sign of protection, domestic harmony, and abundance.
Turtle at your door – Much like opening a door represents different realms or aspects of your life, a turtle found at your door means new ideas, new opportunities, or a new sense of intuition.
Turtle crosses your path – This represents courage. Meaning a sense of courage to continually move forward in spite of your fears, and develop strength by not giving up in the face of a challenge.
Turtle follows you – If a turtle is following you on land, it represents the creative potential that you haven’t unlocked yet. If a turtle is following you in the water, it means multi-dimensional communication.
Are turtles evil?
There are some cultures however that see the turtle as bad luck. For example, in early Christianity, the turtle was a symbol of evil during the wars. Some even believed that turtles were a temporary place for souls to dwell as they made their journey through to Nirvana.
In ancient Greece, it was thought that turtles were creatures of hell. Although, there is also the infamous, enlightening Greek story known as ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’.
Turtles have a variety of meanings to different cultures, but generally speaking they are seen as symbols of longevity. They also represent good fortune and wisdom to some cultures.
There were some people who believed that turtles represented bad luck or evil, but those were generally limited and didn’t influence how turtles were seen on a larger scale.