What is the Spiritual Meaning of the Turtle?
March 18, 2024 11 min read

What is the Spiritual Meaning of the Turtle?

By Lady Saoirse

TL;DR- The beautiful turtle mystifies us whenever we see it, but what does the turtle symbolize spiritually? Join Spiritual Blossom to learn all about the spiritual meaning of turtles and what it means to dream about them. Read to the end to find out how you can help save endangered turtles.


You may remember seeing a turtle cross the road or swim by as you were fishing. While you may not have paid attention to these encounters, perhaps the turtle was bringing you great spiritual messages. Find out the spiritual meaning of turtles and what some lore has said about them. Learn what it means when you dream about turtles and find out what blessings turtles bring when they are your spirit animal. Read on to discover what you can do to help endangered turtles and read all the way to the end to find out how you can learn more about folklore, spirituality, love, and astrology.


What’s a Turtle?

What is the Spiritual Meaning of the Turtle?

Turtles are reptiles well known for the shells on their backs. They are found nearly everywhere in the world and throughout the oceans. They are air breathing creatures and while they live near and swim in water, they tend to lay their eggs on land. They are called opportunistic omnivores and will eat both animals and plants. The largest living turtle is the leatherback turtle which can be as large as 8 feet long and the smallest turtle gets to be only about 3 inches long. Their shells protect them and help to give them shelter and while some people think that their shell lies on top of their body, it's actually a part of their body. Their arms and legs and heads are attached to bones that attach to their shells.

Because they are reptiles, they have a limited capability of regulating their own body temperatures. That's why you will see them basking in the sun to stay warm or staying in the shade to keep from being too hot. They're not very fast creatures so they feed on what they can find as opposed to hunting although some species such as the snapping turtle will go fishing for their dinner. For defense, a lot of turtles will just completely pull their head and limbs and tail into their shell to protect themselves. Turtles migrate long distances, and some of them will go thousands of kilometers to migrate. There are over 350 species of turtles and most turtles will build a nest for their eggs. Some turtles can live nearly 200 years and up but who knows? They might even live longer, and we don't even know it.


Turtle Spiritual Meaning

Not everybody believes that turtles are simply spiritual creatures, but believe they embody great things. Some people believe the earth itself is on the back of a giant turtle. To other people, the turtle symbolizes things like long life, patience, and home itself.

The Earth

What is the Spiritual Meaning of the Turtle?

To some people, the earth is on the back of a giant turtle. An Iroquois myth speaks of Sky Woman, who fell from the sky, hurling towards our world back when there was nothing here but water. All the animals worked together to make a place to give her to live. The muskrat dove beneath the waters and got some mud, which the animals put on the back of the turtle. The mud grew on the back of the turtle to create our planet, and that is why some people call the earth Turtle Island. To read about the Earth Zodiac Signs, see here: What are Earth Signs on the Zodiac? (spiritualblossom.com)


As of 2024, a Seychelles giant tortoise named Jonathan was estimated to be 191 years old and believed to be the oldest living animal on earth. Some species of turtle don't live as long, however. The map turtle is estimated to live only about 25 years. Compared to some other animals that people would keep as pets however, this is a pretty long lifespan. For these reasons, turtles represent long life. Surprisingly, the best way to get a turtle to live long is to allow it to live in the wild. Captive turtles tend to succumb to vitamin deficiencies or improper lighting issues and have care related illnesses. Another creature known for long life is the eagle and you can read about them here: What Does Seeing an Eagle Mean Spiritually? (spiritualblossom.com)


Because turtle’s bodies are enclosed by a shell, some people believe that they carry their home with them wherever they go. While their shells do protect them, a lot of turtles will build dens or dig burrows so that they can have a protective home. Some of them may spend more time on land but as it gets colder in the winter, they may burrow underground for protection. There is something to be said spiritually for being able to call your own body and soul your home as opposed to a building. Some people seek to emulate taking their home with them wherever they go as they believe the turtle does. Another creature who digs dens is the coyote and you can read about them here. Coyote Spiritual Meaning/ Their Symbolism and Lore (spiritualblossom.com)


Turtles are not known for being a fast moving creature. On land they move more slowly than they do in water just because of the way that their bodies are built. In general, most turtles move about 3 to 4 miles per hour on land at their fastest speed. Therefore, turtles represent patience. There is a nursery tale about the turtle and the rabbit. The rabbit was so confident about its speed during a race with the turtle that it lay down to take a nap, thus losing valuable time in the race. The turtle, however, continued until the end of the race so the rabbit lost anyways even though it was a much faster creature. One Zodiac Sign known for being patient is Pisces and you can read about them here: Pisces Zodiac Traits and Love Compatibility (spiritualblossom.com)


The Meaning of Dreams About Turtles

Dreams about turtles can mean any of the things that they symbolize. However, make sure to pay extra close attention to what kind of turtle you're dreaming about because it will give you details about the meaning. Sea turtles and red eared slider turtles are some of the more common turtles that people have dreams about, and a lot of people also dream about alligator snapping turtles. Dreaming about a green turtle will mean something different than dreaming about a painted turtle. An eastern box turtle symbolizes different things in dreams than pet turtles do.

Dreams About a Sea Turtle

Sea Turtles can be found in every ocean except for in the polar regions. There is fossil evidence that sea turtles go back at least 120 million years and that is why they may be some of the oldest existing creatures on the planet. Because they have been around for so long and can be found in so many different places, sea turtles represent wisdom. When you dream about baby sea turtles hatching from the beach and making their way to the ocean, you're being told that it's time to expand your mind and learn. When you dream about sea turtles diving deep into the water, you're told to look beneath the surface for answers. To read about dream interpretations see here: Your Guide to Dreams and Interpretation of Them (spiritualblossom.com)

Dreams About a Red Eared Slider Turtle

Red eared slider turtles are the most commonly traded turtle species in the world. This is because they're inexpensive, don't cost much to feed, and people like them as pets. However, this comes with a great price. They carry salmonella, which can be deadly. Dreams about red eared slider turtles symbolize hidden dangers. If you dream that a red eared slider turtle is at your place of work, pay attention, because a member of your team is about to try to sabotage things. If the red eared slider turtle is in your home in a dream, pay attention to the people who visit or live there, because somebody who you welcome seeks to harm you. To read more about dreams, see here: Your Guide to Dream Meanings Part 2 (spiritualblossom.com)

Dreams About an Alligator Snapping Turtle

What is the Spiritual Meaning of the Turtle?

Alligator snapping turtles are handled with care for good reason. Although they've never been reported to kill a human, they can bite through the handle of a broom and bite human fingers completely off. As a result, adult snapping turtles have very few worries about being preyed upon. Dreams about a snapping turtle are about self defense and protecting yourself. Anytime you dream about an alligator snapping turtle, be prepared to defend yourself. Notice that the snapping turtle does not hesitate to strike. When you dream about the alligator snapping turtle, you shouldn't either. Defend yourself fiercely and never apologize for it. To read even more about dreams see here: Your Dream Bible and Dream Analysis Guide (spiritualblossom.com)

Dreams About a Green Turtle

Green represents wealth, fertility, and new beginnings. So, when you dream about a turtle that is green, this dream lets you know that it's time to begin something new. Maybe you have been thinking about starting something, but you didn't know where to begin. Dreams about green turtles tell you to have confidence in your own abilities because you can make great things happen now. To read about an Angel Number that symbolizes new beginnings, see here: 1111 Angel Number Meaning and Symbolism (spiritualblossom.com)

Dreams About a Painted Turtle

The painted turtle is one species of animal that can tolerate freezing conditions. Some can survive up to 170 days like this. Dreams about painted turtles symbolize endurance. This dream will put you on notice that you are about to go through a difficult time, and you are instructed to endure it. This is good news when you have this dream however, because it means that you will persevere. One Zodiac sign that is tenacious and strong is Scorpio and you can read about them here: Scorpio Traits and Love Compatibility (spiritualblossom.com)

Dreams About an Eastern Box Turtle

What is the Spiritual Meaning of the Turtle?

Noted for the beautiful markings on their shells, the eastern box turtle is mostly in the eastern United States. They haven't spread out too much because they like to keep the same home range for a long period of time. They are known to stay in the same territory for over 30 years, which is very unusual for an animal. Dreams about eastern box turtles tell you to stay close to home, or to be true to your roots. When you dream about the eastern box turtle, it is not a good time to make changes or forge ahead into new frontiers. Stay close to what you know best and be true to yourself. One Zodiac sign that is known for being a homebody is Cancer and you can read about them here: Cancer Zodiac Traits and Love Compatibility (spiritualblossom.com)

Dreams About Pet Turtles

Pet turtles in dreams, no matter what species they are, symbolize companionship. Companionship with a pet is different from companionship with friends, lovers, or family, however. Pets count on us to take care of them, and they depend on us for everything. When you dream about pet turtles, you're being told that you all enjoy a relationship, but it will come with great responsibility. One animal that people like to keep as pets is the snake and you can read about them here: Dreaming of Snakes- Meaning and Symbolism (spiritualblossom.com)


The Turtle Spirit Animal

 Spirit animals are creatures we have a spiritual connection to, and they teach us great truths. Some people believe that spirit animals only teach spiritual lessons, but other people believe that they can teach their own personal physical strengths as well. The turtle spirit animal will teach you to protect yourself, but also to strike out when you need to. They teach you to tend to your health so that you can have a long life, and they teach you how to have a strong connection with the earth itself. One of the most powerful lessons that the turtle spirit animal can teach you is to be patient. One time during your life when patience pays off is when you're building a new relationship, and you can about relationship stages here: What Are the Phases of Relationships? (spiritualblossom.com)


Are Turtles Endangered?

What is the Spiritual Meaning of the Turtle?

Some species of turtles are endangered, and they need our help. They are endangered because of loss of habitat, pollution, and climate change. Some turtles have been hunted to almost the point of extinction, and the places where sea turtles lay their eggs are tampered with by humans. Trash can also kill them.  How can you help turtles? Cleaning up trash in nature is a top way to help. Refrain from using single use plastics, because those pollute the areas where turtles live and they can harm themselves by eating the plastics. If you see a turtle crossing the road, pick it up and put it safely in the grass so that it doesn't get hit by a car. Never leave fishing line, fishing hooks, or nets because turtles can become entrapped in those and injure themselves or die. It doesn't take much to help and make a big difference. To read about another gentle creature that you can help, the black cat, see here: The Magic and Superstitions of Black Cats (spiritualblossom.com)


The turtle symbolizes patience, longevity, home, and the earth itself. When you dream about turtles they bring profound messages, and when the turtle is your spirit animal, they teach you their abilities. Never forget that the turtle might be a powerful creature, but it is endangered and you can do small things to help it. May all of your experiences with the turtle be spiritually meaningful. So Be It.


Would you like to know more about spiritual messages animals can bring? Get a reading started with a Spiritual Blossom Psychic to find out today. Online Psychic Readings | Spiritual Blossom Make sure to read all our articles to learn about folklore, love, spirituality, and astrology.  Articles & Media – Spiritual Blossom

About the Author:  Lady Saoirse has studied magic and lore for most of her life but started walking her own Magical Path after being spiritually reborn in the desert. Today she is a High Priestess for The Temple of the Goddess, she is a psychic advisor and spiritual counselor, she shares her gifts as a Psychic and Content Writer for Spiritual Blossom. She has written for Mysticsense and PaganPagesOrg emag.