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    Some of the members and instructors here are conversant in the shamans path, and I’d like to ask what the significance of the following critter encounters may be, because I’m having some trouble interpreting them.

    1) On Friday, I went for a short walk at my local wetlands. I had to pick up my son from school, so took a short cut across a rocky weir to the other path. Just before stepping onto the weir, I saw a long necked tortoise (big bugger too, shell about the size of a dinner plate) half on one of the rocks. Well, I stared at him, and he stared at me, and neither of us moved. Eventually I unlimbered my phone and took a photo of him (he still didn’t move) and then carried on crossing the weir. It is an unusual thing to encounter one of these shy creatures, so I definitely took note of it.

    2) Today, I was engrossed in my war with the weeds in the backyard when I was startled by a good sized Blue Tongue lizard that ran right in front of me, nearly over my hand, in fact (blue tongues are about the same length as a mans hand and forearm, for comparison). It scared me because I had a broad brimmed hat on and caught the sight of scales out of the corner of my eye, and we have enough nasty snakes in Oz that, well,it  scared me. It scuttled off into the bushes, and I looked around and saw another one about 1.5 metres behind me, giving me the eye.

    I’m pleased they’ve taken up residence in our backyard, they keep down pests and snakes don’t like them and avoid them. Now, what I’d like some help with is interpreting what the appearance of these reptiles in my life might mean, from a shamans point of view, because I can’t find much in the way of resources about them.



    Kol Drake

    Totally non shamanistic thoughts?

    First, what the **** if a weir?
    I’ve heard of swamps, bogs, mires… never a weir.

    Short turtle ‘facts’ —

    The first turtles swam the seas more than 150 million years ago – some 50 million years before the birth of Tyrannosaurus rex.

    Seven species of sea turtle survive today: loggerhead, leatherback, hawksbill, green, olive ridley, Kemp’s ridley and flatback.  Smallest are the Kemp’s ridley and olive ridley, which can reach about two feet in length and weigh about 100 pounds, and largest is the leatherback, which can reach nine feet and more than a ton.

    The flatback sea turtle of Australia, is considered “vulnerable” to extinction “in the medium-term future” by the World Conservation Union.


    Turtles in myth and legend…

    In the Far East, the shell was a symbol of heaven, and the square underside was a symbol of earth. The turtle was an animal whose magic united heaven and earth. The turtle is a creation of nature that carries its round shell over the ground, like heaven, and has a flat bottom, like earth. With a profile resembling a mountain and the turning motion of its toes, it seemed to be a depiction of heaven and earth changing constantly through the seasons.

    The I-Ching or Book of Changes, an ancient Chinese code, was said to have been inspired by the King Tsang Hieh, when walking along the banks of the river Loh, and a turtle rose from the water and on its back were beautiful markings which suggested to the king all the different combinations of things and so he invented the I-Ching.  (( fun fact:  The I-Ching is actually identical in structure to the genetic code – a 64 permutation binary system. ))

    Like the Chinese, Indians have a legend that “the world is supported by four elephants standing on a giant turtle.”
    (Some say three… some four)

    To the Native Americans, it was associated with the lunar cycle, menstruation, and the power of the female energies.  The markings and sections on some turtles total thirteen. In the lunar calendar, there are either thirteen full moons or thirteen new moons alternating each year.  Many believe this is where the association with the female energies originated.  The turtle symbolizes the primal mother and Mother Earth.

    According to some Native American tales, the Earth Diver turtle swam to the bottom of the water that stretched across the world. He surfaced with the mud which the creator used to make the earth.

    The turtle is a shore creature, using the land and the water. All shore areas are associated with doorways to the Faerie Realm. The turtle is sometimes known as the keeper of the doors. They were often seen as signs of fairy contact and the promise of fairy rewards.

    Turtles are also symbols of immortality (due to their long lives) and are considered temporary dwelling places for souls making their way through a series of lives on the path to Nirvana. The turtle is considered to be the second incarnation of the powerful god Vishnu in the Hindu religion. After a great flood, which occurs every four billion years and dissolves the earth, Vishnu transforms himself into a great turtle. On his back, he carries a vessel in which the gods and demons mix the elements necessary to re-create the globe. After a thousand years, when the earth has been reborn, the turtle remains in place, and on his back stands a large elephant, which support the planet.

    To the modern Chinese, turtles are viewed in many different ways. It is regarded as one of the four divine animals, along with the dragon, phoenix and chimera. They are worshipped in temples.

    Common Buddhist restraints against the killing of animals evolved into the Buddhist ceremony of releasing turtles.

    Greek mythology credits Apollo with creating the first lyre by stretching strings across the shell of a sea turtle who had given his
    all for music.

    As the feminine power of the waters the tortoise was an emblem of Aphrodite/Venus; also of Hermes/Mercury in Graeco-Roman myth.    Pausanias says that it was also sacred to Pan among the Arcadians and that it was prohibited to kill it.

    The ancient Mexicans ranked the turtle next to the goddess of flowers, while the Toltecs believed their ancestors rode on
    the backs of turtles in crossing the sea to arrive on this continent (near the site of present-day Veracruz.)


    Okay.. more turtle facts (and fiction) than you probably ever cared to know.

    Blue tongued lizards?

    VERY first thought that came to mind was — COOL, Inari has her own dragons hanging out in her yard!    ;D


    Hi Kol,

    1) Weir (from wiki)

    A weir (rhymes with pier) is a small overflow-type dam commonly used to raise the level of a river or stream. Weirs have traditionally been used to create mill ponds in such places. Water flows over the top of a weir, although some weirs have sluice gates which release water at a level below the top of the weir. The crest of an overflow spillway on a large dam is often called a weir.

    At the wetlands they use weirs between the small lakes to maintain the water depth. At the wetlands near my house, they have the concrete weir, then large flat stepping stones next to it, so people can cross when it’s not overflowing.

    Oh, and I think it was an Eastern Snake necked tortoise, if anyones interested.

    2) There actually is a genus of lizards in Australia that are referred to as ‘dragons’, http://www.kingsnake.com/oz/lizards/agamids/agamids.htm take a look at some here. Blue tongues don’t belong to that genus though. Drats.



    Generically speaking, turtles represent the ability to be protected and self-contained while creating new pathways for the self to evolve. It isn’t a selfish thing, either, but they represent a way for us to spiritually focus on the self. Self-determinism kind of stuff. Turtles also tell us to be patient, that everything that we need is within us right now, but to wait for the full effect to come through in nature’s cycles.

    Now… lizards are about having a keen sense of the shih. They tell us when to strike to cause the biggest effect. To me, this represents how you have been dealing with your new business and whatnot, but it also means that an integration of sorts is occurring where you are combining all of your abilities into a life “battle plan” that will result in good things and success. They also represent the armor that we wear to protect us from the vibes of others. It decreases outside interference when we need to remove ourselves for focus. Also, the lizard reminds us to pay close attention to the symbolism in our dreams.

    Both of these medicines show a need for protection though. They are both saying to go within and look at the triggers that are causing emotional sensations. It is through this discovery that you will find the paths to take and the armor to wear.

    Hope that helps you out some. :)


    Thanks for the advice Icarus, I shall  :med2 on this.


    Another thing that may pique your interest. In some North American Shaman Traditions, the emergence of animals, to include insects, around a person represents one who is becoming in tune with nature. The belief is that animals can sense things that we humans have forgotten, when they perceive an energy source that is harmonious, they become curious. At the same time, that aura of goodwill and safety attracts those seeking shelter. This also the reason why certain people seem to attract bugs while others don’t, i.e. being outside and not being bugged, while the person right next to you is swarmed. I personally have a belief this energy pattern is also what makes campfire smoke follow someone around, while leaving others alone.

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