Updated: Jan 30
I recently went on a trip to Florida which is the home of the gopher tortoise. I made it my mission to meet one in person since we don't have these wonderful creatures in my neck of the woods. Luckily, it didn't take long wandering a wildlife reserve to meet some! I had no intention of having a conversation but felt that one in particular wanted to chat. I happily sat down with a pen and paper and enjoyed the below conversation which I'm so excited to share with you! :)
After this conversation, you will find:
Energetic medicine tortoise offer humans
Fun facts about the gopher tortoise
Conservation status and ways you can help
A Conversation with a Friendly Tortoise
It's not often one takes the time to really listen and absorb what we slow creatures can share with the world. Humans are numb and walking around with purpose but are blind to their true reality. They miss so much. I ask you to consider slowing down, putting your face to the ground and noticing what happens to wander by. You never know, it could be a tasty morsel and easy catch on the fly.
Do you have any messages for humanity?
Please be respectful of our burrows, they're very precious for us to dig out and care for. We don't come and trash your home now do we? No, of course not, because we are mere tortoise, not specifically turtles. Please get that right when communicating with and about us. We are slow and steady, gentle creatures. We watch the world go by. I am young, but old at heart.
What do you wish humans could know about you/your species?
We are wise and ancient beings. We take great care tending the earth and digging our burrows. We watch humanity walk by with speed and pace but without a second thought or a true intention. Some of whom have a ghostly look in their eyes as though they aren't in true existence. We see all things, big and small, walk by us and know the true value of a good meal. We might be slow creatures, but the pace is just right for us and a good example for you to take part in.
How has the world changed since you have been here?
It has changed dramatically for us as a species... the soils are rockier and lacking nutrients, which in turn delays the recovery response for our chain of food when we devour it. The digging is much harder for our burrows, at least in my specific area. The lushness of the natural environment has dried up considerably, but we weather that just fine. Truly, the biggest change our species has seen is the environment shift and dangerous separation. Many of us slow moving creatures cannot fathom the fast paced environment which inhibits our movements and at times kills us strikingly. We will bear the storm, I have faith in humanity and my species. We haven't made it this long without grace and tact now have we?
Do you sing or hear music?
I am not a musical creature. I am a creature of habit and might be considered bland at times! The music I hear comes from the earth herself. Mother Gaia sings a glorious song for those who know how to listen. I hear sweet, sweet lullabies before my deepest slumbers. The music is out there for all who dare to listen to it, but, as for me, I am no song writer or singer.
Have you ever re-incarnated?
I have lived many lives on this earth and others. This is my more recent life, obviously, as I am still incarnated. I have lived as beautiful, colorful birds and wonderful water beings, each having their own unique chemistry and virtue. Each was much more fast paced.
Do you like moving slowly?
I see a theme arising. Fast paced versus slow... Why yes, I find it quite pleasant to move as a tortoise moves. I've been fast paced before, which has much value, tempo and speed but I needed a lesson in stability. I incarnated on this planet specifically to feel the physicality of a hard shelled body and to learn patience by moving slow. It's been troublesome at first but I've grown to love the slower motions my body requires. It makes me realie that it's not a race (no pun intended) and that many things are missed when we move too quickly.
How do you stay grounded amidst all the change you have seen?
Oh, that's easy. I cuddle and snuggle up in my cave/burrow. I am literally surrounded by mother Gaia's dirt and debris. There's nothing more grounding than fully immersing yourself underground.
Do you have a favorite decade, year, or century where all felt abundant, diverse, and present?
Oh, now that's a good inquiry...
I am always in the present as that is how we were meant to be. it's all a matter of perspective. I see things from my point of view, and you, yours. For me, specifically, ten years have passed by with great change and the abundance driven away with uncertainty, but time will tell. Again, I'd like to remind you, I am an old aged being, but young at heart still, so I have little to no real time perspective as a tortoise. Others in my clan may be more useful answering that. I can only reflect on the time I've had here, in tortoise form.
What other species of animal are you best friends with, if any, and why?
I have many good friends of many different varieties, shapes and sizes. I do not choose preferences of one over the other because they are all valuable to me in some sort of nature. I do have a good stone friend however that I am keen on. He lives in my burrow and has a good sense of humor. He is also slow in nature *chuckling more*.
I do enjoy the lizard folk and have one that shares my burrow, but it's more of a mutual agreement of kinship and reciprocity.
Characteristics and Energetic Medicine From Gopher Tortoise
Be slow and steady. It's never a race. Enjoy the simple pleasures and the sun on your face. Always have a home to burrow into to feel safe and cool. Take only what one needs, have friends nearby but have your own sacred space.
Tortoise play a major role in your life, showing you leadership, stability, grounding and being solid in nature. We have much to teach you through the mirroring effect and much to share with you through the medicinal ways of the tortoise energy in general. We are stabilizing beings, grounded to a fault and can demonstrate many things if one only chooses to listen and see. You surround yourself with the balancing energies you need to survive. Grounding, strength through an outer shell, but with a soft interior and wise contemplations as to when to make a next aggressive move or to protect oneself from harm. The tortoise, or shelled creature is a strengthening animal to lead you through life and help you stabilize, always.
Fun Gopher Tortoise Facts
Gopher tortoise burrow and excavate long tunnels.
One burrow in Florida was recorded at 65 feet long and 26 feet deep.
Their burrows are used by other species in the ecosystem, making them a keystone species. More than 350 different species of mammals, reptiles, insects, amphibians and birds have been documented using a gopher tortoise burrow.
They can live as long as 60 years or more and
it takes them over 16 years to mature and reproduce.
Their populations are declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation from development. Because of this, they are now listed as federally threatened in Florida which represents the largest portion of their habitat.