Are Turtles a Sign of Good Luck?

Whether a turtle are a “sign of good luck” or not really just depends upon the culture, religion or the individual.  However it is said in many cultures that turtles are a sign of good luck.  They are believed by many to have power over all kinds of bad magic and also symbolize the primal mother and Mother Earth.  In addition they have also been said to symbolize longevity and one’s hope and wish for a long life.  They are supposedly a link between heaven and earth which made them a natural for use in divination.  A few cultures and religions stray away from this train of thought and view the turtle as being bad luck or evil.

Some cultures view the turtle as an ancient symbol that represents order, creation, endurance, strength, stability, longevity, fertility, and a gentle innocence, these creatures are said to offer protection, good fortune and have the power to bring forth happiness and good omens.

The turtle is one of four of the Chinese sacred animals (the other three of the four being the dragon, the phoenix, and the unicorn).  The turtle is a creature of two elements; land and sea, as such these creatures reflect an ability to adapt and flourish in many different environments.  In Asian myth, the turtle represents universal order and is thought to have created the universe from its body: its shell is symbolic of the heavens while its body is symbolic of the earth and its under shell is said to represent the underworld.

In American Indian cultures, turtles are said to represent the wisdom of the ancient ones and are often highly respected for their strength and individuality.  Those who bear the symbol of the turtle can carry the responsibility of caring for, protecting and nurturing others.  These creatures are also considered to be the oldest, most sacred symbol of the Anishinabe and Haudenosaunee people who believed that North America was created on the back of the turtle.  To this day, most indigenous people still often refer to North America as “Turtle Island”.

In the Hindu religion, turtles are considered to be the second carnation of the powerful God Vishnu.  Legends go on to say that after a great flood, which occurs every four billion years and dissolves the earth, the God Vishnu transforms himself into a great Turtle.  The turtle carries a vessel on his back, 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 great Turtle remains in place, and on his back now stands a large elephant that supports the planet.  Turtles have also been said to be symbols of immortality and are considered temporary dwelling places for souls that are making their way through a series of lives that are on the path to Nirvana.

In the West, early Christians did not like turtles at all and even went as far to view them as symbolizing evil forces during war.  In Greece, turtles were once believed to be the citizens of hell.

There have been Japanese fairytales that tell of a man who goes by the name of Urashima.  This man was said to protect a turtle from some boys who were bothering it.  As a reward, Urashima (the man) is taken by the turtle to meet the King of the Ocean, where he then gets to marry the King’s beautiful water sprite daughter.

In places like Nigeria, the turtle is a symbol of the female sex organs and represents sexuality.

In any case it is plain to see that the majority of cultures and religions view turtles as a good thing, so in order for individuals to avoid some bad karma it might be best to try and keep turtle’s out of harm’s way. Whether or not you personally want to believe that they are good luck, or anything else for that matter is really up to you.  You are able to form your own opinion on the matter.


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