Gifts: Protection. Pacing. Emotion. Determination. Steadiness. Going your own speed.
Challenges: Dallying. Shyness. Stubbornness. Slow to decide and slow to take action. Hiding out in your shell.
The big gift from Turtle is going your own speed. You know this already from the tale of the tortoise and the hare. In their race, the hare is so cocky about his certainty of winning the race that he takes a nap in the middle of it . . . only to wake up just in time to see the slow tortoise cross the finish line and win. The moral of the story is “slow and steady wins the race.”
Yes, you’ve heard that tale a thousand times. You know all about slow and steady.
But that’s not really Turtle’s message. It’s not, “You need to go slowly and steadily.” Turtle is saying, “You need to go your own pace, fast or slow, regardless of what anyone else does or says.”
Turtle offers the gift of determination, but it’s different from Ram’s headstrong determination. Ram overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Ram has to get to the top. Turtle just keeps moving forward. In the movie “Finding Nemo,” Dory thefish says, “Just keep swimming.” Spirit animal Turtle says, “Just keep moving.”
Your turtle may be a sea turtle, another aquatic turtle, or a land tortoise. Each one will embody determination with its own flavor and energy. Notice the serenity and grace that emanates from Sea Turtle gliding through the water. Observe Tortoise doggedly crossing dry terrain to find seemingly elusive nourishment. Even Baby Sea Turtle has its own message of determination. It knows that it might get eaten by predators during its trek from egg to sea, but it will surely die if it gives into fear and doesn’t go to the sea at all. Turtle’s determination will get you through your own challenges, no matter how big the risk.
Turtle brings another gift to this issue of risk: self-protection. Like Crab, Turtle comes with its own built-in armor. Moving slowly may necessitate an extra layer of self-protection. And that protection facilitates calm during a slow pace. Imagine how restless and anxious you become moving in slow traffic when you really need to be somewhere now. Now jack that up several times when your physical safety is on the line. Turtle is able to remain so calm because of trust: trust in its shell and in its strategy of pacing.
Spirit animal Turtle does not hide in its shell. And it doesn’t want you to hide in your shell either. It’s fine to retreat into your shell temporarily—to muster your courage, to take a breather, to protect yourself from real danger. Just don’t stay there.
That’s a real challenge for Turtle people: coming out of your shell. You may be naturally shy, and you may resist coming out. Remember that Turtle is willing to take a risk. Turtle sticks its neck out. What are you willing to stick your neck out for?