Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wisdom Swimming in a Chelonian Shell

like a seed upon the sandy shore, 
I sprout and tap dance my way 
into the endless Sea. 
Follow my lead… 

Brave the sharp teeth 
and ravenous hungers 
which bar your path! 
and consistent effort
will get you past 

Pace yourself
steady your course 
through chaos
and you will

Swim with courage! 
Learn to live 
for one more day
Give yourself time
until it gathers round you
like a protective shell

Love who you are
Find your serenity
in the skin you are in, 
and everywhere is home!

The Wheel of the World 
becomes the pattern of my shield. 
I bear the Wisdom of Ancestors and long years. 
Open your heart wide as the Sea, 
and you too might trace the map of Earth’s magnetic field!

Never lost for long, 

arriving always at the perfect time… 

Each tear I shed is a step closer to 


and Transformation sublime.

My shield protects me, 

but it is not the whole of my self… 

nor does it sever me from All Our Relations. 

We are never alone, never unloved. 

The World sings to us always, 

and we are One with all Creation.

Together we swim
 through the Heartwaters, 
and the World rests upon our back. 
Our love is boundless, 
a gift freely given for 
mothers, fathers, 
sisters, brothers, 
sons, and daughters

Mitake Oyasin!
All Our Relations,
This is our vow.”

Who Sings Now?

For those new to the game, each poem is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; a star, stone, animal, plant, etc that holds lessons of Wisdom for us. Can you guess who is singing today? Congrats to Mike Dovers and Jan Neavill Hersh for naming this Teacher; well done! 

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” G.B. Shaw, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, 1893

“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future. " George Bernard Shaw

“We can share beaches and ocean with sea turtles but it requires commitment and effort on our part. We can make certain that future generations will have the opportunity to know these unusual animals. The late Dr. Archie Carr, a scientist and author who almost single-handedly began to turn the tide on the extinction of sea turtles, summed it up when he wrote, “For most of the wild things on earth the future must depend upon the conscience of mankind.” Our planet has come to an unprecedented point in its history where the actions of one species—man—will determine the fate of life on earth. It is not too late to ensure a future for sea turtles." Victoria B. Van Meter Florida’s Sea Turtles

Turtles Tortoises and Terrapins are reptiles, and closely related to the seven species of Sea Turtle ( Kemp’s Ridley, Flatback, Green, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, and Leatherback) that we will be discussing here. All turtles are well worth study of course, but Sea Turtles hold a special fascination for me. They have an extraordinary sense of direction and time, are extremely sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field, and are long-lived Teachers with many lessons for us.

The first fossil evidence of sea turtles developed about 150-200 million years ago. These turtles were much larger than those with us today. The largest from that time period was about 13 feet across with a 16 foot wingspan! Sea Turtles, unlike their land-bound cousins, are specially adapted to life at sea with flipper like feet and compressed aerodynamic shells. They aren’t able to draw their limbs into their shells either, relying instead on their agility to protect these exposed areas. These aspects speak of Sea Turtle peoples’ inability to withdraw from a situation, retreat into themselves, to protect themselves. They rely instead upon their emotional adeptness, their hard shell, and the wisdom they have gained over time to protect them in times of danger.

Sea turtles can be found in all but the coldest oceans, have excellent underwater vision, but are nearsighted on land. This shows us that Sea Turtle people are perhaps more adept at seeing ahead with the heart rather than the head; more understanding and in control of their emotions than their thoughts, or more importantly, their physical selves. Sea Turtle is no where near as adept on land as she is in water, unlike other types of turtles. 

This cautions Sea Turtle people to move even more slowly and thoughtfully. Patience, from the inside out - meaning beginning with Self and naturally extending outward to those around us. There is always an opportunity to practice Patience.  

One cannot tell the age of a turtle by appearance, and scientist estimate their lifespan to be about 100 years. Their long lives obviously connect them to the Ancestors, Ancient Knowledge, and all topics of Longevity. Sea Turtle reminds us that appearance does not accurately depict character or age though. Sea Turtle people often appear younger and behave in a more youthful manner than their actual age. They may also appear to act within their own time, rather than having a strict sense of time as it is judged in the modern world. 

Turtle people in general know that all things come to fruition when it is time for them to do so and not according to clocks or calendars. While they typically maintain a slow but steady pace, Sea Turtle people seem generally unconcerned about clear markers between past, present or future, and seem to know instinctively that Time is not a linear thing but flows constantly, like the Sea. 

Deadlines tend to be rather inconvenient things to such folk and procrastination can become a serious problem for any Turtle person. There is a difference between taking ones time and assessing a situation from all angles, and simply putting something off because we don’t want to deal with it. However, independent Sea Turtle people do prefer to handle things themselves rather than delegate or pass off something that they know is important.

Turtles in general ask us to sloooow doooown though. Breathe. Relax. Be at Peace. Go with the flow, Dude. Mellow! Sea Turtle encourages us to remember Change is truly the only predictable constant in life. So, relax and enjoy! The proper expression of our emotions is a natural and healthy necessity for a good life.This means embracing and expressing both ends of our personal spectrum of high and low points. Our lives are stories unfolding, journeys in progress. Sea Turtle says all things happen as they should, when they should.

Laughter is something we're all more comfortable with, more willing to accept and express. Laugh more is an easier goal to set than, allow myself to cry more. No one should be unwilling (feeling ashamed, "too old", "silly") to shed tears though, Turtle reminds us. One of the most ingenious physical adaptions of Sea Turtles is their ability to maintain a good internal water balance by secreting excess salt through special glands just behind their eyes. 

These legendary “mock tears” are a tangible reminder that properly expressing emotions keeps us healthy and well-balanced. Crying is not a signal for alarm nor should it be suppressed. It is a sign of maintaining internal balance, soul-cleansing, release, and a gift to the World. The act of crying is like returning the water and salt of life directly from our hearts in an exchange of emotional energy with the Universe. For all their thick shells, cold or stoic demeanor, Sea Turtle people can have hearts as deeply compassionate as the endless Sea. 

Sea turtles live rather solitary lives, never meeting or caring for their young, and only congregating during mating. Biologists believe that mother turtles return to the beaches of their own birth to build their nests and lay their eggs, but it is not yet understood how they find that one stretch of shore out of countless beaches. Hawaii’s Green sea turtles travel over 800 miles from their feeding grounds to their nesting sites! Usually during late spring, the males and females meet up and swim to the natal beaches where they mate. 

While females do not mate every year, when they do mate they come ashore as often as five times every 15 days to make nests in the sand and lay their multiple leathery eggs. Green sea turtles nest only at night, but construct their bottle-shaped nests much like any other Sea Turtle. The Ridley turtles are particularly noted for their mass nesting; arriving all at once at one lone beach in all the world to lay their eggs in what is called the Arribada or “arrival”. Surely an extraordinary sight!

In the Tarot, the 21st card is The World, and water-dwelling turtles often represent the World as well. Like this card, Turtle tells us that we will be happiest, at our most complete, when everything works in harmony, and that we are a dynamic part of this harmony. In order to hold the World in our palms, we must give ourselves to it whole-heartedly. This is the source of all happiness. When my choices led me to a point in my life where I felt isolated and actually wanted to turn my back on the World, I began carrying a Sea Turtle (Squirt from Finding Nemo) on my keychain to remind me that I was a sacred part of the hoop of Life and this was a very good thing. Looking back, I see that this may very well have been my first step toward healing. I began writing these poems the same year. Compassionate, wise, gentle, persistent, bearer of the World… How does Sea Turtle appear in your life?

“Hundred and fifty, and still young, dude. Rock on!” Crush from Finding Nemo

"The turtle rattle is emblematic of peace of mind, and it is used in the dances to help portray happiness. Peace is a state of mind. It can be attained through daily learning experiences. We must learn and understand how to walk in balance on the Pathway of Peace." Grandmother Twylah

Keywords: Wisdom, Patience, Peace, the World (Turtle Island), Creation, All Our Relations, Interconnected, Navigation, Exploration, Guidance, Longevity, Endurance, Perseverance / Stubbornness,  Protection, Pacing, Motherhood/Feminine energy, Caution, Dependability, Natural cycles, Ancestral Wisdom, Intuition, Cosmic power, prophecy, healing, Grounding

Associated with: the Discworld, Finding Nemo. the World/Turtle Island. Lakshmi, Kurma, Vishnu, Set, Yamm, P'an Ku, Pan, Aphrodite/Venus, Hermes/Mercury, Poseidon/Neptune, Ix Chel, Ea-Oannes, Llyr, Manannan, Fand, Tangaroa, Tamonten, Sedna, Kauila, Kumpira

Potential Balancers: sea creatures like jellyfish, seaweed, cuttlefish, crabs, sponges, coral, conch, whelks, molluscs & crustaceans, nautilus, algae, fish, sharks, whales, pinnepeds, otters, land animals like dogs, elephants, foxes, raccoons, and lizards. birds like gulls, storks, herons, cranes, and frigates. elements like earth, water, or air. the sun, the moon. Stones like lodestones, pearls, malachite or hematite.

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