Turtle Symbolism: 18 Spiritual Meanings Of Turtle

Turtles are unique animals that have existed for as long as humans have lived. This animal can function conveniently both on land and water. It is a widely distinguished animal all through the face of the Earth, attached to a wide array of symbolism. The turtle is an incredibly slow animal with a protective shell associated with a long lifespan.

People often take turtles for tortoise, terrapin, and sea turtles. Although very similar, each creature has distinct differences. Some species of turtle and sea turtles spend most of their lives in water and leave to bask in the sun or lay eggs on land.

Other species of turtle and terrapin spend more time on land, living in a swampy, brackish environment. On the other hand, tortoises are different because they live on land.

These creatures are attributed to the physical, mental, and emotional state of being that humans can relate to in particular facets of our lives. Some peoples feel physically or spiritually attracted to turtles. Such people tend to drift towards a turtle’s energy and feel spiritually energized whenever they see this reverenced animal.

So, does the turtle have any spiritual symbolism? What does it mean when you suddenly encounter a turtle? What are the different meanings attached to turtles in different parts of the world? This article will explain the common turtle symbolism and spiritual messages attached to it.

Turtle Symbolism

Turtle symbolism and meaning

The symbolism attached to the turtle differs from culture to culture. Here are some of the general meanings attached to the turtle:

1. Longevity

Turtles have been around for as long as humans as ever lived. They are one of the oldest creatures on the face of the earth. These creatures have existed for over 250 million years; hence people have been telling stories about turtles for a very long time. Also, they are one of the few animals with a long lifespan.

Turtles that live in water can live for up to 80 years, while those on land can live for close to 40 years. Due to their longevity and anciency, people have attached specific symbolism to them. Many cultures have adopted turtles as their symbols of longevity. An example is some part of the Native American culture that named the North American continent “The Turtle Island”.

This is because they attribute the turtle to earth and its history. You will likely have a long lifespan if the turtle is your spirit animal. You can meditate on the turtle when you wish for long life.

2. Wisdom

Turtle symbolism and meaning

Due to their long lifespan, turtles are believed to be very wise. It is believed that they have gathered ancient wisdom during their lives on earth. Many people believe that, just like humans, the turtle would have gone through different facets of struggle, starting from birth to death. One of the factors that contribute to their longevity is wisdom.

If the turtle is your spirit animal, you are open-minded and have a deep perspective on mother earth. It also means that you are an old soul with enough wisdom to teach others about life and its purpose. The turtle spirit also tells you that with wisdom, you can endure the test of time in whatever you are going through. It provides the needed guidance to navigate the tough pathways on this planet.

3. Patience

The turtle is also a symbol of patience and perseverance. This creature is widely known to be extremely slow compared to other animals. This is why the phrase “slow and steady wins the race” encapsulates the attribute of a turtle. The turtle always goes at its own pace to achieve whatever it puts its heart to.

Patience is a virtue that is extremely scarce in this world. Many people prefer to go through the shortcut to get things done. They expect a result overnight instead of waiting patiently and trusting the process. Turtles move around slowly, and their patience often pays off over time.

The turtle spirit indicates that you must be patient and perseverant no matter what life throws at you. This is what the sea turtle totem represents.

4. Determination and persistence

Determination and persistence are another virtue attributed to turtles. They are slow while walking on land but somewhat faster in water. They have exhibited patience and persistence when trying to strike a balance between walking on land and in water.

This creature is always determined to reach its goal without minding the challenges and obstacles around it. The turtle is a reminder that endurance, perseverance, and determination are the keys to success in this cruel world. Turtles have shown the importance of staying grounded and true to our course even when things don’t seem to be going our way.

If you come across a turtle, it is a reminder that while you are determined, you should also be persistent and never give up. Because turtles move slowly, they are often the target of prey. But turtles are always determined to

5. Fertility


Turtles are very fertile animals. They are known for traveling millions of miles on a beach just to lay an egg. They will also cover this same distance to hatch these eggs. These creatures can spawn from just two eggs to over a hundred eggs in a single breeding patch. Because they live a very long life, they can reproduce countless times during their lifetime.

Although the ages and sprawling rates differ from specie to specie, there is a distinctive motive behind regarding the turtle as a symbol of fertility. If the turtle is your spirit animal, it symbolizes that you are fertile. It also means that you’ll birth something new soon, whether in your career, finance, or family.

6. Peace and tranquillity

The turtle is a highly peaceful animal. They are always seen maintaining their lane in the lake while enjoying the sunshine. This creature symbolizes peace and tranquillity because they are harmless animals and do not exhibit predatory traits. Turtles are herbivores that mainly feed on vegetation.

Hardly will you see a turtle engage in a fight with other animals over prey. They will rather be on their own and enjoy their environment. You can take time to watch the turtle by scuba diving or snorkeling to see how peaceful turtles are. If the turtle is your spirit animal, mere looking at the image of a turtle in art or movie can be some sense of tranquillity.

7. Healing

Turtles are also a symbol of healing, as their tattoos also represent. The Navajo people are known to explore the healing power of turtles and reptiles like lizards and snakes. They believe so much in bringing about healing that they use turtle shells to dispense and hold their medicine. These fantastic creatures also represent an easy-going life. They do not concern themselves with what others think.

If you are sick or someone dear to you is very sick, meditate on the turtle’s healing power and longevity.

8. Protection

Turtles are known to have the capacity to protect themselves. Their hardened shell is capable of protecting them from any harsh weather as well as predator. Before harming a turtle, you have its shell to contend with for a long time. These creatures go the extra mile to protect themselves from anything that can pose as a danger to them.

In Native America, mothers use the turtle to protect their babies by using its shell to hold their babies’ medicine. Summon the turtle’s spirit when you are at a crossroads in life and need divine protection.

As a symbol of protection, the turtle reminds you that you have a strong shell of resolve and unwavering strength. Summon this power whenever you are pushing your limit, going on a new experience,  or involved in a confrontation or negotiation.

9. Transformation


Turtles symbolize transformation. Although they live most of their lives in the water element, some species of this creature still find their way to the land. They’ve been able to evolve and transform conveniently without difficulty. Baby turtle also finds their way to the land and back to the sea once they are hatched.

The turtle spirit reminds you that you can dive into your subconsciousness and back to the material world. If the turtle is your spirit animal, it also reminds you that you can expand your consciousness. It informs you that you can transform every aspect of your life, including your thoughts.

10. Earth, home, and retreat

The Native American culture and the Hindu believe that the turtle is a symbol of the earth. They have different mythology surrounding this perspective, where the turtle is seen carrying the world on its back. They also see the turtle as the creator of the world and the foundation for all lives.

The native American turtle indicates that you must retreat into your shell (home) when the world seems cruel and chaotic. If the turtle reveals itself to you, it means you need to take out time to go into your cave or shell, search for your inner man, recharge, reflect, and take care of yourself.

Its spiritual meaning also suggests that you must embrace new experiences and think big. If the turtle is your spirit animal and you like being alone, it informs you that the world is full of great experiences and notable people, so go out of your shell and explore.

North America turtle symbolism

Turtle is found in almost all parts of North America, and it has a positive meaning attributed to it. Some native American tribes believed that the turtle was the creator of the earth according to historical folklore, while others believed that the creator placed the world on the back of a turtle. North America is also known as the “Turtle Island”; in other cultures, turtle means Earth.

Sea turtle symbolism is often linked with good health and security. Among the Aztec and Honu tribes, the turtle symbolizes boastfulness and cowardice. It means turtles are hard on the outside but vulnerable and soft on the inside.

Eastern turtle symbolism

Eastern turtle symbolism

In different Chinese cultures, the turtle is a symbol of protection. These creatures are seen as sacred animals who carry the symbol of wealth, divine power, tenacity, wisdom, and longevity. Believers in Feng Shui and Vishnu place a turtle statue close to their door post to wade off negative energy.

They also believe that placing a turtle in your office or career section of your home brings promotion and professional reward. Chinese people also attach a symbol of good health to the turtle. They believe placing a turtle in the health sector of a house will bring vitality and good health to its inhabitants. In Japan, turtles generally symbolize fortune and longevity.

Celtic turtle symbolism

For the Celts and Hawaiians, the turtle symbolizes encouragement and a doorway to the magical world. Turtle encourages you to explore yourself, locate the idea you need to express, and go within yourself. It also drives you to a magical world that connects you to the turtle’s keen senses that feel all vibrations through its skin and Shel.

These parts of the world also attribute turtles to fertility. The Celtic Sharma uses a turtle to keep themselves protected and grounded when traveling between the spirit and the earthly world. They also believe that the phrase ” slow but steady wins the race” is attributed to a turtle.

This region also believes the creator straps the world’s weight on the turtles’ backs.

Africa turtle symbolism

Turtle also has a special meaning in Africa. In most parts of this region, the turtle is seen as one of the wisest animals. In Nigeria, the turtle is seen as a manipulator with creative ways of getting out of any situation while performing heroic acts. In Ancient Egypt, the turtle’s spirit is used to wave off evil spirits and protect people’s lives and health.

This African region also believes that the turtle is linked to the underworld due to its strong water connection. This ancient creature is also known for exhibiting healing power. Some parts of its organs are harvested and mixed with other potions to heal infectious ocular diseases, sunburn, and squinting.

In some African cultures, the turtle symbolizes respect for elders, intelligence, and prudence. This is linked to the animal’s wrinkling skin.

Turtle Christian symbolism

Turtle Christian symbolism

For the Christian, the turtle is viewed as a symbol of an unclean spirit of combat and evil. It is also seen as a burdened king because of the shell on its back. It is also seen as a symbol of immorality due to its long life and ability to defy death.

The biblical meaning of turtle is also linked to the afterlife. It signifies how each soul will travel in the spirit world to either hell or heaven. The Bible shows the turtle as a symbol of wisdom, calmness, and patience.

Turtle as a spirit animal

Since you don’t choose your spirit animal and they are the ones who chose you instead, consider yourself lucky if the turtle is your spirit animal. It means you are endowed with a richer understanding of the world. To know your spirit animal, they often reveal themselves to you in powerful ways that influence your human experience on earth.

This includes mediation, prayer, or vision quest. If a turtle makes itself known to you in media, art, dream, or real life, know it’s no coincidence. People governed by turtle power are good listeners; they never get lost and are excellent in space orientation.

Turtle as a power animal

If the turtle is your power animal, it can empower you with some dynamic traits. The turtle power animal will help you let go of bad memory. It also helps you to be spiritually awakened while living in the physical realm. When in uncomfortable situations, turtle power makes you emotionally unavailable. You can summon the turtle power animal when you:

  • Desperately need good luck to come your way.
  • Want to transform certain aspects of your life
  • When you are about to embark on an endeavor or start a new relationship, and you want it to last for long.
  • Need more tranquillity and peace in your life
  • Are about to give up, and you need perseverance. This will help you overcome obstacles and get through specific challenges in life.
  • Need financial, psych, emotional, and physical protection.

What does it mean when you dream about a turtle?

Have you ever dreamt of a turtle and wondered what it means? Having a dream about a turtle can signify many things. It can be a symbol of prosperity, good health, and long life. It can also come as a push to have a long-term vision, to be constant in action and patient.

Dreaming about a turtle’s shell represents a need for a defensive attitude, emotional withdrawal, and protection. It can also mean you are about to have a delightful experience coupled with joy and peace. When you dream about a turtle’s speed, it indicates that you need to move forward and reach your goal, even when you are at a slow pace.

However, it can also mean that you must take things slowly and be cautious, so you don’t miss out on any important detail. When you dream about the baby turtle, it means that you will soon birth fresh ideas in your career, finance, or relationship. It is an indicator that you should let go of fears.

Dreams are personal to each dreamer, so the interpretation given to a turtle dream can vary. In all, try to remember the emotion you felt in that dream to get a better insight into the meaning of the dream.


Turtles are old and one-of-a-kind creatures that have existed for millions of years. They are calm animals with the ability and resolution to protect themselves from predators and survive for a long time. The turtle symbolism is for those that want wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. Invoke its power and watch things fall in place.

Turtle Symbolism

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