Turtles are animals that are very important in mythology and they have been symbolically used to travel between dimensions using Stargate technology.
Turtles are very slow animals and they have much longer life-span then humans do. They seem to live in another time. Turtles can crawl into their shell and withdraw from the outside world, exploring their inner worlds.
Many of them live on the beach, between the limits of the land and the sea, which can also be seen as representing the heaven and the earth. As above so below.
In many mythologies of the world, among them Chinese and Native American mythology, the world rests on four elephants, that rests on a giant turtle. Anishenabe tradition says that the earth rests on a turtle's back and under the turtle is an infinity of other turtle's backs.
In Hinduism, Vishnu's turtle incarnation Kurma the Turtle helped create the world by supporting it on his back.
Kurma, the tortoise was sent to help the Devas (heavenly beings or lesser gods) obtain the nectar of immortality which the Asuras (demons) also sought. The Devas and Asuras churned the ocean to get this nectar, using a giant snake, Vasuki, as the churning rope and Mount Mandara as the churning rod. To prevent the mountain from sinking into the ocean, Vishnu as a giant tortoise supported the mountain under water until the nectar of immortality emerged which Vishnu gave to the Devas alone.
Plastromancy was an ancient form of divination using turtle shells.
The Iroquois creation myth also features a turtle
Before man kind, Skywoman and her unborn twins where cast from the island in the sky through a hole where the tree of life was plucked. With help from the other animals in the ocean Skywoman tried to made home on the back of the turtle. She was given some mud gathered by a little toad from the bottom of the ocean. This mud spread and grew on the back of the turtle until it became the size of North America. North America is also called "Turtle Island".
She gave birth to two boys, one name Flint (his heart was cold) and the other Sapling (who was kind) they grew fast and began filling the land with their creations. While Saplings created good things to benefit man, Flint was the opposite; he destroyed his brother’s creations and created all that is bad in the world. There came a great battle between the brothers, Flint lost and because he was immortal he was forced to live on the turtle’s back. His anger is associated with the activity of volcanos.
The constellation Lyra depicts the harp-like musical instrument, the lyre. The lyre, in mythology, was crafted out of a turtle shell by Hermes for Apollo, who gave it to his son Orpheus who used it to persuade Pluto/Hades to release his deceased wife from the Underworld. Breaking his promise to Pluto, Orpheus' wife died a second time and was not released from the Underworld. Swearing never to love again, Orpheus was torn to peices by a group of women whom he rejected. His decapitated head ended up in the river Hebrus where it gave oracles.
Turtle symbolism in popular culture
- Master Oogway, the turtle from Kung Fu Panda can be seen ascending up to the heavens, leaving the material existence with the help of divine wind. "You must believe", is his last words before he fulfills his destiny.
- In an old episode of the Swedish cartoon Bamse, the turtle Skalman can be seen inventing free energy-devices and time-machines.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was seen fighting Krang, who opened up a Stargate on top of the World Trade Center in the episode "The Big Blow Out"
- In The Neverending Story a turtle can be seen as a link between realities when the main character is being transported through dimensions.
- In The Simpsons episode "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)" Homer is urged to "follow the tortoise" and ends up on the top of a Mayan pyramid where he meets his spirit guide.
- In finding Nemo, Marlin and Dory are found by a group of sea turtles who are riding the turbulent waters of the East Australian Current, and Dory makes a full recovery.