Turtle, the animal of resilience: legends and symbolic meaning

The turtle is an animal that represents tenacity, resilience, strength, but also longevity. Let's see together some legends and their symbolism.

La turtle it is an animal that represents tenacity, resilience, strength, but also longevity. It is considered a wise creature and one of those who can defend themselves best, due to its carapace. Let's see together some legends and their symbolism.

The turtle is one of the most ancient animals and for this reason it has always played an important symbolic role. Image of the universe and the earth, she is defined as wise and a bearer of truth in many fables.

For the Maya, the turtle was related to the stars and constellations. The shell is a representation of the celestial vault. The shield of Orion is called a tortoise in the Yucatec language, the god of the Moon is depicted covered with an armor made up of tortoise shields.


Turtle, etymology

The word 'turtle' comes from the Greek, tartaroukhos: which belongs to hell, to Tartarus. According to popular etymology, it derives from the Latin tarturus or underground world and evokes the image of the underground areas of the psyche.

The Native American Tortoise Legend

A legend about the turtle comes directly from Native Americans and talks about the creation of the world.
There was a time when gods and humans lived together in heaven. One day one of them grappling with the roots of a tree noticed that the roots had gone beyond the clouds and were drawing nourishment from an ocean

Then the turtle at the head of all the animals, called a general assembly and ordered the bystanders
to go immediately to look for some of the land from which, beyond the ocean, the roots certainly drew nourishment. The beaver went first, swam and swam until he drowned, the same fate had the otter. The old frog did
then threw and managed, before expiring without strength, to leave a mound of earth on the carapace of the
turtle. From that small heap of mud an island took shape that slowly grew to create the earth

Other legends about the turtle

Another Greek legend has the turtle as its protagonist. It is said that the nymph Chelone had dared to mock Zeus and It was her wedding day. For this reason she had been punished by the Gods: she was thrown into the sea and condemned to carry her home on her back, becoming a turtle.

Turtle: symbology

For the Indians of North America (the Algonquin in particular) the turtle represents the world above and below us, it is a kind of totem because it is at the origin of creation of the Earth.
In China, some legends often tell of a sea turtle on whose back the Earth rests. Not surprisingly, if you happen to visit some Chinese country you will find turtles supporting large columns of monuments.

In Mongolia, the turtle is the symbol ofeternity and it is for this reason that the great emperors were depicted next to them. Even today, it is customary to believe that if a turtle is sighted on a boat it will bring luck, but the Greek fishermen for example believed that it was a good omen only if it was seen to the right of the boat.

In Maori culture, the turtle symbolizes family, fertility and prosperity. For the Japanese, the turtle is associated with the stork as a symbol of happiness and luck, this is because legend has it that a pair of lovers had turned into these two animals to reach the Kingdom of the immortals.

Other beautiful legends:

  • The Indian legend of the armadillo that teaches us how to fight enemies
  • The legend of the Phoenix, symbol of the power of resilience
  • The Mayan legend of the Hummingbird
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