While dreams are vivid and moving, I never give them much attention. I figure they are my extremely busy subconscious playing out stuff that has happened in real life, some of which I maybe did not even notice.
But the turtle dream really made me think.
I love turtles. They have always been a totem for my family. Turtles symbolize home, wisdom, and longevity. Other people claim turtles represent femininity, fertility, and family.
So turtles are cool and I’ve always loved them, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a dream about one. I don’t put much stock in dream analysis, but there was something striking about this dream.
In the dream,
I was out with a bunch of people by a pool– one of the small above-ground ones. There were people in the pool, splashing and having a great time. I looked down on the ground and saw what I thought at first was a snake– something scaley and reptilian-looking. But as I followed the wrinkled limb, I saw it was a turtle, partially buried in sandy earth. On the turtle’s back was something resembling a blow-hole, and out of it crawled a smaller turtle, clearly a baby.
I looked around and could see turtles all about, crawling out of the earth. They are huge! I exclaimed to a man standing nearby, possibly my husband. These are way bigger than the one that came to lay her eggs a couple months ago! We gave them plenty of room. They were snapping turtles, and at that size could probably bite off a finger, or even an arm.
Then I was in my bed, swaddled in sheets. There was a creak on my stairs and the great, big snapper came up and into my bedroom. She had her baby with her. I started screaming for my husband to come, but it was like I was screaming underwater and couldn’t be heard.
The baby turtle, which was comically big, about the size of my head, sped over to my bed and began climbing into it. I thrashed a bit, trying to fend him off with my flimsy sheets, still screaming.
I jolted awake; my daughter who had come upstairs beckoned to me.
It was hard to wake from the vivid dream-state I’d been in. My eyes were heavy and puffy. I got up and grabbed an iced eye pack from the freezer and went back to my bed.
I pondered the turtle attacking me where I lay, the fear I felt at the prospect of being snapped and bitten and clawed.
And yet, I love turtles. They are not a creature who I find fearful, especially since they are typically slow moving.
When I do attempt to analyze my dreams, I consider everything and everyone in the dream as a representation of myself, or of some part of me. I believe turtle was not some external force of malice, but a part of myself.
Turtles have a hard shell which protects them from predators. What did this dream say about the “shell” I have put around myself lately?
And what of the fact that they were specifically “snapping” turtles in my dream, as opposed to red belly turtles, or sea turtles, or giant African tortoises? Is this a subconscious commentary about my demeanor of late?
How about the freaky speed at which turtle was charging at me? Could this have anything to do with my constant rushing, my preoccupation with schedules and being bound to time?
What was subconscious turtle trying to teach me?
It is a lot to dwell on, which is why I typically do not get too deep into dream interpretation. I read a quote from Dalai Lama once that “if we spend all out time interpreting dreams, we have no time for dreaming.” You could get lost in the subconscious, right?
The morning after my turtle dream, I sat with it– the images, the fear, the questions it brought up.
We had a beautiful, big snapper come up from the stream next to our house this past spring. She trundled up and crossed the street to lay her eggs in our neighbor’s yard.
We watched her progress for several hours.
She was all business. She got to the spot where she would leave her clutch of eggs, and used her hind legs to claw into the dirt. Over the course of an hour, she laid her eggs, and then she started her progression back across the street to go down to the swamp from where she came.
Emily was scared turtle would get “squished” by a car, so we went outside to watch for traffic so “Greenie” could make it safely back to her home.
It brought us joy. Excitement. Wonder.
Could that be why subconscious turtle charged at me? To jolt me back in the direction of joy and wonder? Because in that case, the dream was a beautiful gift. . .