Turtle symbolism represents calm, fortitude, and longevity. Turtles are one of the most dreamed-about animals and common symbols in many cultures.


What Does a Turtle Symbolize?

  • Perseverance
  • Wisdom
  • Home and Safety
  • Patience
  • Tranquility
  • Fortitude
  • Longevity
  • Gratitude
  • Acceptance

Types of Turtles and Their Spiritual Meanings


  • Like the fable of The Tortoise and the Hare, this type of turtle is a sign of perseverance and the power of showing up every day. We can accomplish anything if we keep trying.
  • Tortoises can also be a sign it is time to slow down. If you are working too hard, especially in a job that doesn’t bring you joy, the tortoise might appear to tell you to slow down. This reminds you to avoid burnout, especially if you are working toward goals that matter to your employer but not yourself.

Sea Turtle

  • Sea turtles indicate fertility and creation. They are believed to be what brought Polynesians to the islands of Hawaii. It is also believed that their shells created the Hawaiian islands. Seeing a sea turtle might mean that it is time to take off on an adventure. They can also signify that you should embrace your creative side or that it’s time to start a family.
  • According to the National Ocean Service, sea turtles can live to be 50 to 100 years old. They are the longest-living of all turtles and an endangered species. They are a sign to take care of ourselves so we can also live long lives.

Snapping Turtle

  • Snapping turtles are a bit contrary to what most of us associate with turtle species. These “go-getters” seek out opportunities and represent determination and focus.
  • Snapping turtles also symbolize confidence. Unlike other varieties of turtles, they are willing to put up a fight to defend themselves.
  • A snapping turtle can also signal that you are effectively facing inner critics. Or perhaps it indicates your need to stand up to your inner demons, moving out of the shadows and into the light.

Giant Turtle

  • Giant turtles have enormous significance. In ancient times, they were believed to be creators of the world. They are often said to indicate a connection to Mother Earth and a desire to protect the environment.
  • Because of their relationship to the earth, giant turtles often appear as a sign that we should be grateful for the most elemental things, like the world in which we live. Making small efforts to honor the earth we live on can go a long way. And the appearance of a giant turtle indicates we may not have been mindful enough in recent days, months, or years.
  • Because of their size, giant turtles can also indicate a problem that is too big to ignore. We often put off problems when they are small. The appearance of a giant turtle might suggest that something you’ve been putting off must be faced before it gets too big to handle.

Baby Turtle

  • Baby turtles indicate a striving toward what we are most inclined to do. Like the hatchlings instinctively making their way to water, we all have something that drives us. The turtle inspires you to pursue what truly matters.
  • As much as we might want to pursue something, leaving our comfort zone is uncomfortable. Seeing baby turtles indicates that you must be willing to leave behind what is familiar in pursuit of something better.

Turtle Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning

Native American

Native Americans believed the turtle symbolized stability. Turtles walked the earth and were thought to be well-grounded. But they also inhabit the waters, representing the connection between man and creator and the spirit and the mind.

Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiians consider the turtle sacred and believe it represents calmness and safety. They are common animals in this culture, and the odds of crossing paths with one are reasonably likely in this environment.


The Chinese associate the turtle with opulence, prosperity, and femininity. Their symbols are used as charms to help stimulate fertility.


The Sufis believe hatching turtles heading to the sea indicate a return to God’s guidance. Viewings of the baby turtles are common each hatching season.


Christians believe the turtle carries the weight of its shell as a burden representing sin. They are symbols of Christ’s burden of the cross and forgiveness. 

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