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Turtle Medicine

Aug 29, 2022

Video Summary:

I want to talk about turtle medicine. So first of all, what do I mean by medicine? The Native American traditions offer one of the clearest depictions of medicine. Native Americans and all aboriginal cultures were very connected to the earth, nature, and all the animals in nature.

They saw that each animal in nature had a gift- something to teach them. It had something that it had mastery over. And then by connecting with that animal, they could evoke that turtle medicine in themselves. And so they carried turtle medicine.

The Australian Aboriginal people, the people of the Dreamtime, would call it turtle dreaming. Carl Jung would've referred to it as the turtle archetype. So if you were analyzing a dream that had a turtle in it, you would draw on the symbolism of the turtle archetype. 

The turtle part of turtle medicine centers on the turtle carrying its home on its back. Metaphorically, you could say that the turtle is at home wherever it is. It realizes it belongs. So the turtle is really about belonging. It's realizing that you belong wherever you are.

You have a fundamental right to be there wherever you are. Now other people may not agree that you belong there, but that's their stuff. And if you belong, you have a voice that’s as important and significant as anybody else's. And the way you see things is just as valid as anyone else.

I learned this years ago when was renting a room in this house in Boise, Idaho. I had just moved in and didn't feel like I was at home. And my spiritual teacher comes over and we sat around the table in this other person's kitchen.

And he just sprawls out. He spreads out his keys, checkbook, diet Coke, and whatever else onto the table. And his body language was big and relaxed. He just started talking about something that was really intimate and sensitive to him. He didn't care. He was there, so he belonged. And he was sitting in the center of his sacred circle. He had total turtle medicine.

It was such a profound thing to me because I even paid rent to be there, and I didn't feel like I belonged. And here's this guy who comes in and just owns the joint. He did it in a respectful way, but he didn't put himself below or above anyone else or act like he didn't belong.

So the opportunity is to realize that you belong wherever you are and that your voice and the way you see things matter. And that you have a right, if you choose, to participate in the space that you're in. Other people may not welcome or appreciate it, but what's most important is that you know that you belong.

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