Q:

What is the symbolic meaning of a turtle?

A:

Quick Answer

The turtle is a symbol of endurance and persistence in many cultures. The turtle also symbolizes the Earth in many cultures, such as Native American legends.

Continue Reading
What is the symbolic meaning of a turtle?
Credit: Kristal O'Neal Moment Open Getty Images

Full Answer

The turtle is traditionally a symbol of perseverance and resilience. Fables, such as "The Tortoise and the Hare," rely on these symbols to show the value of perseverance. According to the University of Houston, the turtle can symbolize creativity, endurance, strength, fertility and stability. Turtles are also associated with longevity because the animals live very long lives.

Native American traditions refer to the North American continent as Turtle Island in reference to traditional legends that say the Earth grew from the back of a turtle. The turtle is also associated with the Earth in Hindu and Chinese cultures. Some Native American tribes, such as the Hopi, used turtles to represent water. Other tribes considered the turtle a symbol of safety.

Because the turtle carries its home on its back, the animal can symbolize the ability to adapt to new situations and environments easily. Both sea and land turtles symbolize protection in reference to the turtle's ability to hide within its shell when threatened. Turtles can also represent slowing down or setting a steady pace due to the slow nature of the animal. The sea turtle can be associated with an easygoing nature because these turtles travel with the tides, rather than to specific destinations.

Learn more about Symbolism

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What does the sun symbolize?

    A:

    The sun has been a symbol of power, growth, health, passion and the cycle of life in many cultures and religions throughout time. Some believe it is a representation of the higher self, while others see the sun as a god to be worshiped.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What does a double rainbow mean?

    A:

    A double rainbow is considered a symbol of transformation and is a sign of good fortune in eastern cultures. The first arc represents the material world, and the second arc signifies the spiritual realm. A double rainbow forms due to an optical illusion when sunlight enters a raindrop and creates two internal reflections before the rays exit the droplet.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the symbolic meaning of a dead bird?

    A:

    Imagery of dead birds can have several different meanings in a variety of cultures, but the most common application is symbolic of a loss of freedom. Due to the fact that birds are not Earth-bound like humans, they tend to represent freedom in literature, poetry and art. Therefore, dead birds often represent a loss of freedom, imprisonment or paralysis.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some beliefs on the symbolic meaning of birthmarks?

    A:

    In some cultures, people believe that birthmarks predict future traits of an infant. For example, some believe that a birthmark on the baby's foot is an indication that she will travel a lot as an adult, while a mark on the back may signify that she will be truthful and open-minded. Other people believe that birthmarks originate from specific events experienced during the mother's pregnancy, such as getting a fright or having an fulfilled desire for a certain food.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore