turtle island

Turtle Island

Many of you who read my ramblings here, or know me personally, are aware of how potent Turtle has been to me as totem, and also how She has transfigured for me along my journey. (a brief search of the word ‘turtle’ in the search box here reveals dozens of posts in which her Name is embedded)  From those early assurances of protection through withdrawal (an introvert’s credo) through the understanding that I am called to carry my home with me wherever I go, to not step outside of my centeredness in Love, belonging, and self (an inner/outer integrity) , to the way she burrows beneath the cold and sustains her very being with the essence of herself, she has tutored me well.  

Many indigenous cultures hold reverence for the Turtle. In the more watery regions of this earth, She is often understood as the Island where human life begins.  So, recently, when an image* came to me, with which to sit in prayer (a visio lectio meditation) of a woman (at least that is what I saw) kneeling in a posture of supplication… or was it desolation… or was it submission, grief, defeat…or the rest of child’s pose, I saw Turtle Island. Her legs and arms at the base of the sculpture were adorned in watery blues, and as the sculpture rose through the greens of shoulders, hips, back of head, to the tans and earthy browns of upper and lower back, and on upward to the gaping red swirl atop her back , above her heart, I saw the earth rising from the water. A newborn island of welcome erupted from a volcano.

And so, I wrote to Her in me/in you

 From deep within your pain
grief, arising,
emerging or erupting ,
- it matters not  to me
if it was slow or sudden,
violent or gentle-
you have been lifted
from that place in which you
were submerged, beneath
the dark or turbulent.  

Some see only your despair,
for now at least, but I
see you, in your rising,
laying down
of burden from your back,
vulnerability  now revealed
as sacred ground
like those volcanic islands
of the Ancient One
welcoming the human

You have risen from that dark sea,
your back at first aflame
where it opened to your heart,
flowing, overflowing, unseaming ,
and at first seeming,
to lay destruction
in your wake
But I see that watery hue
surrounding you
protecting you
you did no harm in rising

Your posture
is not one of power nor of import,
aggression nor attack-
no pillar of strength are you-
but of surrender,
stillness letting go
into something bigger than yourself
opening that heart
of yours to Universe

And you become
an island, lush,
of hospitality where life
on earth might be borne
where the weary or the wounded
might land or crawl
upon your submission
for refuge or for rest,
shelter, nurture, hope
but most of all,
belonging.
  • I am hoping to garner permission to share the image here. For now you might follow this link from the artist, Diane Therese Pinchot’s, page (scroll down, you’ll know which one )

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