Turtle: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

Turtles have been on our planet for millions of years – they know it better than we do! They are known for their ability to live for many years, and for their calm and soothing demeanor.

Attributes like these have made the turtle into a very symbolic animal, and have given the species great importance among us humans. 

Think of the story of the hare and the tortoise; although it’s not specifically a turtle in that story that wins the race, turtles are so similar to tortoises that they are often considered alongside the motto, ‘slow and steady wins the race’.

From turtles’ calmness and slow approach to life, we can learn some great qualities. 

Turtle: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

If you want to find out more about what turtles represent, read on to find out what their significance is. In this article, we have explored the significance of everything to do with turtles, from what their presence in dreams means to what turtle tattoos represent. 

Turtle Symbolism And Meaning

Patience

As we all know, turtles’ movements are extremely slow. The little animals take a long time to get from one place to another – but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Their speed reminds us that life must not be rushed, and that we must be patient.

Good things take time, and the turtle reminds us that even if something takes a long time, it is still worth doing.

Life in the 21st century is chaotic, and constantly evolving. There are continuous flows of distractions, and the pace of life is quick. People want quick solutions to their problems, and easy fixes.

Thanks to things like technology and smartphones, almost anything we want is available at the click of a button, and this can lead us to become impatient and dependent on immediate satisfaction.

It is so important for us to remember to take our time with things, and to try to experience satisfaction from long-term efforts as well as short-term ones. The slower we do things, the more we can take care with them; it is quite often the case that rushed things lead to poor quality results, while truly brilliant things take time to produce.

The turtle shows us that no matter how long a journey takes, it is still an important part of life. If anything, the turtle shows us that the slower a journey is, the more rewarding it becomes. 

Wisdom

In our human world, we often equate wisdom with old age. The longer you’ve been living, the more you supposedly know about the world and the way life works.

Because of turtles’ ability to live for many years – some can live to over 100 – and thanks to their millions of years’ worth of time spent on our Earth, we often associate the animals with being wise. This has been the case for cultures all over the world for hundreds of years. 

Turtle: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

Peace

Partly because of their slow movements, but also because of their calm demeanor, turtles have become a symbol of peace. They are peaceful to watch and soothing to be around, and are one of the few animals on Earth that haven’t developed any sort of predatory behaviors.

They don’t hunt or fight, and have an entirely vegetarian diet. They are, in essence, harmless. That is why they represent peace and gentleness. 

Persistence And Fertility

These two attributes go hand in hand partly because of the way in which turtles breed. They refuse to lay their eggs anywhere less than perfect, so often travel millions of miles through treacherous waters just to lay their eggs on a beach that they deem to be safe.

This makes the turtle a brilliant example of persistence and determination. They are incredibly fertile, and can produce over a hundred eggs at once!

When you consider how long they live, it makes sense that they are symbols of fertility, because they can breed thousands of babies over their lifetimes. 

Sea Turtle Symbolism

Sea turtles are a type of turtle that can live for a hundred years or more, and which spend their lives – you guessed it – in the sea.

They symbolize ease and going with the flow, due to the fact that they always swim alongside or inside a current, and never against it. They let nature carry them through life and don’t fight its great power. 

The Turtle As A Spirit Animal

Also known as power animals, spirit animals are our spiritual guides, and give us insight into how we work as an individual. They are often defined by your date of birth or your zodiac sign, and are looked to to provide guidance and wisdom through life. 

Because of turtles’ variety of attributes, they are often referred to as a spirit animal. If your spirit animal is a turtle, it often reflects that you have a calm and positive outlook on life.

You like to take things slowly, so that you can get things right and take care with your decisions. You are likely to be a person that is resilient, and able to get through challenging times. Just as the turtle has its hard shell, you have a strong wall of boundaries that prevents you from being hurt too much by other people’s cruelty.

You are usually easy-going, and don’t get sidetracked by comparing yourself to others. 

For many years, the turtle has been a Native American spirit animal. Because of the way in which turtles live in harmony with nature, and with other creatures, turtles are a Native American symbol for their peaceful relationship with the Earth and with nature. 

The Turtle As A Totem Animal

A totem animal is an animal spirit that is connected to you personally and which many believe is able to guide and protect you through your life. Commonly, your strengths and weaknesses will align with those of your totem animal, and you can learn how to navigate through life with your totem animal’s approaches in mind.

It is difficult to know for sure what your animal totem is, as it’s a pretty subjective matter. Most people that really want to find out what their totem animal is consult a psychic, to get a professionally spiritual opinion.

You can also discover your totem animal through meditation, or simply by thinking about which animal you relate to the most. 

If your totem animal is a turtle, it quite often means that you are comfortable moving at your own pace through life, and that you do not feel rushed by the progress or pathways of those around you.

Perhaps you often feel as though you have been on the Earth longer than your years, because the turtle totem animal reflects a deep wisdom that is rarely found in other people.

Sharing your knowledge on your areas of expertise may be satisfying for you, and can help you feel as though you are fulfilling your soul. Because of turtles’ affinity with nature, if your totem animal is a turtle, you are probably someone that is well-grounded and who has a strong moral compass when it comes to respecting our planet and its inhabitants.

Other attributes of a person whose totem animal is a turtle include emotional resilience, patience, and kindness. 

Turtle: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

Native American Symbolism Of The Turtle

As we briefly touched upon, turtles have been a spirit animal for Native Americans for many years. They represent an affinity with nature, and here is some more information on why.

Native Americans hold the belief that the turtle existed when the universe first began. In fact, they have a belief that whoever created the universe placed the whole world upon a turtle’s back.

This means that Native Americans sometimes see turtles as the most important creatures in the world, and as the backbone of our whole existence. Occasionally, turtles are considered by Native Americans to be at one with the actual Earth, and be a part of it as opposed to an organism living on it. 

Christian Symbolism Of The Turtle

The Christians’ views on turtles are slightly more bleak than those of Native Americans. There are some Christians who believe that the shell of a turtle represents the sins of all of humanity, and the burden of carrying sin around with you through life.

Because of this, they are not admired by Christians, but more seen as representations of evil. However, Christians also occasionally consider turtles to be immortal, which does present them in a more heroic light. 

Turtles Appearing in Dreams

Having a dream about a turtle could symbolize a few things. If you’ve been dreaming about turtles recently, take a look below and see if any of the symbolic meanings align with what is happening in your life at the moment.

Seeing a turtle in a dream could be an indicator that you are rushing something in your life. Seeing a turtle could remind you of the need to take things slowly, particularly in relationships, but also in any other aspect of your life. Take the hint and think a little bit more about things before you do them.

Dreaming about a sea turtle often reflects a desire in you to feel free. Perhaps someone or something is limiting your happiness or your potential to succeed, and you should consider removing them from your situation. 

If you dream of a turtle that is within its shell, it could be a warning. Perhaps it is not about something big, but you might be getting a sign to be careful in the following weeks.

If you dream of a turtle that you can watch coming out from inside its shell, it might be reflecting how you are opening yourself up to opportunities and experiences, or telling you that you should. So many positive things can come out of leaving your shell, so why not get up and try something new after a dream like this. 

Meanings Of Turtle Tattoos

Traditional turtle tattoos can symbolize any of the turtle’s traits. A desire for a long life can be reflected in a turtle tattoo, as can an affinity with Earth. For sailors, a turtle tattoo was a symbol of their crossing the equator. 

In Hawaii and Polynesian tribes, tribal turtle tattoos can symbolize important milestones in someone’s life. In some Polynesian communities, a turtle tattoo can symbolize the relationship between life and afterlife, and strengthens their hope in an afterlife. 

In Japanese culture, a turtle tattoo often symbolizes wisdom and a long life. Turtle tattoos in Japan are often colorful and frequently placed alongside other animals as part of a larger tattoo. 

Nowadays, a tattoo can mean whatever you want it to. Lots of people see turtle tattoos as a representation of a strong connection with the ocean, and with the planet as a whole. 

The Spiritual Meaning of Turtles

Because of their affinity with Mother Nature, and due to their millions of years of residency on Earth, the spiritual meanings of turtles are often associated with creation and its many facets. For example, the determination that turtles have represents an unwavering faith and spiritual strength.

The slowness of the turtle also represents a sense of trust between it and the world, which spiritually reflects human ability to trust in nature’s power.

It also reflects how the world has got to where it is through a slow and steady process, over the space of millions of years, and reminds us that good things can take time. 

Turtles In Astrology And Zodiac Signs

The turtle is a Primal Astrology and Zodiac Sign. If your zodiac sign is that of a turtle, it is likely that you share many of the namesake’s approaches to life. For example, you are surrounded by a protective layer or boundary which prevents you from being harmed by difficult situations, just as the turtle has its shell.

The life of someone with a Turtle zodiac sign tends to be straightforward and happy. They will be able to flow through life without being affected by other people’s choices, and will be structured partly around being close with friends and family.

The shell of the turtle can also reflect a person’s inability to open up, and to share their true self with those around them. Beneath the hard exterior there is a vulnerability, which is often easier to hide than to share. Because of this sensitivity, if someone betrays a person with a turtle zodiac sign, they will likely be removed completely from their life.

After all, turtles are peaceful animals and prioritize maintaining a calm and peaceful environment and lifestyle. If you have a turtle as your zodiac sign, you are likely to be lucky in love. Although, the more you push to find a soulmate, the less likely you are to find them; once you accept that they will enter into your life organically, you are more likely to meet them. 

Turtle: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

A Summary Of The Symbolic Meanings Of Turtles:

  • Peace
  • Determination
  • Calmness
  • Acceptance
  • Affinity with nature
  • Independence
  • Slowness
  • Patience
  • The world’s creation
  • Natural beauty 
  • The relationship between life and death
Gloria White