Today my turtle decided to come out and play.
Background information. I have a box turtle. His name is Tama (although everyone calls him ‘Turtle’) and he’s just over seven years old and is lazy. Now, I’m not talking about lazy compared to a human or a cat. I mean lazy compared to other turtles of his species. And he’s always been like that. There’s nothing wrong with him. He at one time shared his container with another turtle but we never got a new one after the other one died because he seemed happier. He has a huge rabbit cage he lives in all to himself. He likes his turtle pellets and occasionally will eat the vegetables and fruit we provide (which we do, constantly, but he rarely touches the stuff.) Really, he likes his hide-away cave and to be left the hell alone.
Today though, I was walking by to talk to the Necromancer about E3 and the turtle was out and about in his cage. Looking for delicious food, mucking about in his huge water pond, and generally being active. This is surprising because I haven’t seen him for about two weeks. We check, daily, to see if he’s alive. We change the food and water. Weekly we switch out the soft coconut we use for cage cover. But it’s something of a marked occasion when we see him come out on his own.
Because I needed to clean his cage anyway, I took him out of his home and checked him over. I don’t know a whole lot of detailed anatomical information about turtles, but I can tell whether or not they’re healthy or need a vet. He was active, alert, and wanted to be put down. So I put him on the ground and he wandered the living room while the cats watched him from a distance.
Why am I talking about my turtle?
Mostly, because I really love turtles. I find them easy to manage and great pets to keep (if you’re willing to put in the work and expense for them). I don’t use turtles in my witchcraft but I really love symbolism for what they stand for (to me).
What symbolism? Longevity. Quick to hide and seek shelter. They have a hard shell which they are connected to but are so soft inside. They don’t carry their homes with them, but at the same time they do. Their homes are literally a part of them; they can’t be parted from them. They wander, always attached to their home, but bury themselves in their homes as well. The original wandering hermit. Always alone even in a group.
To me, turtles are wise, determined creatures (and they are determined little buggers). When they set out for something, they stick to it. Unless a predator is coming towards them, they do not deviate from their paths and plans. They don’t move just laterally but climb too, and they soak in the sun (I have a great love of the sun) and the heat.
Omnivores, depending on the species, they’ll consume insects, fruits, vegetables, fish, and even some meats. (You can feed turtles cat food, for example, depending on species. Best ask a vet or herpetologist first.) Turtles can make this hissing sound and can snap or bite when they need to. So while they might defend themselves by pulling deep into their shells, they’re willing to attack too. Turtles tend to be able to camouflage themselves and are great at hiding (not just in their shells but in the environment). They are slow to move but sometimes they’re quick little bastards. (I’ve personally spent several minutes chasing turtles around the living room.)
Brave little creatures, I’ve seen my turtle look directly at the cats and keep on trucking as if they weren’t afraid of this huge creature willing to eat them. (My cats leave him alone. Bothering the turtle never ends well for them when they’re caught at it.)
Turtles frolick. They do. A land turtle, upon discovery of a pond of water, will frolic. They’ll frolic when placed outside. They have fun and play.
I associate turtles with divination, although why I can’t say as I don’t use turtles or turtle shells as a divination method. Possibly due to the hermit idea that they could spend a lot of time in deep introspection.
Now, as I listed above, I have my own symbology for each animal. Some of it based on the animal itself or what I associate with them. Some folklore or historically based. Some of that symbolism is common, some not so much. I tell all my students to consider creating their own symbology for animals as they go. It’ll help discover the meanings of dream, visions, and in general is incredibly useful for divination.