Turtle Tattoos Jackson MS
Turtle / Tortoise Tattoo Designs - Western cultures have long seen the tortoise as symbolic of patience and wisdom under duress. Aesop's fable of "The Tortoise and the Hare" is a celebration of the tortoise's steadfastness in the face of the speedy hare. The turtle's ability to escape danger by retreating into its shell has made it a powerful symbol of protection, healing, and inner knowledge. Little wonder that many identify with the spirit of the tortoise and make of it a reassuring tattoo design.
Turtle or tortoise - for purposes of symbology the difference is semantic, since they're of the same family. A tortoise spends its life in mainly arid terrain, and would probably drown in open water. The turtle can manage both realms of land and sea, swimming by holding its breath. The sea turtle, the largest of this family, rarely leaves the water except to lay its eggs.
Because of its early appearance on the planet - as much as 250 million years ago - the turtle is often associated with Creator symbolism. Indigenous peoples refer to North America as Turtle Island. According to legend, North America was created on the back of a turtle. In India, the tortoise supported the elephant , who, in turn supported the world.
In Chinese culture, the turtle has been attributed with strength, endurance, slowness, fecundity, and longevity. Its image appeared on the imperial banner as an emblem of protection in war. For the Japanese , the sea turtle was the emblem of Kumpira, the god of sailors. In Africa, where it has been a masculine symbol of fertility, the tortoise is also a household pet and emblem of protection. And in Ancient Greece, the turtle found a home as the emblem of Aphrodite, goddess of love , who associated the animal with the feminine/yielding aspect of water.
The turtle's legendary stability and endurance qualify it for a place of prominence in carvings and sculptures in many of the world's ancient cultures. For the Mayans, the turtle was associated with water and land and thunder. One Mayan deity is depicted wearing a turtle shell on his head. The Iroquois have their Giant Turtle, symbol of the wisest. Not so popular with the Aztecs, however, the turtle represented cowardice and boastfulness - hard on the outside, soft on the inside.
Amongst coastal peoples around the world, the sea turtle has become a special symbol of longevity, fertility and good fortune. As a graceful swimmer, it is also represents freedom. The sea turtle is unique in that it lives in water - it has flippers, not feet -- but must leave its favoured medium to procreate. It builds a nest on land. The journey from the ocean's edge across great stretches of sand, dragging its weight without hurrying or complaining, has made the sea turtle a symbol of patience and virtue. Once a suitable beach nest has been dug, the female turtle drops her eggs, as many as a hundred at a time. She buries them and returns to the ocean.