Turtle Totem

This is a special poem by Sylla’s brother, D, to whom she was very close. He introduced her to many things in his life, including her favorite essential oil, Patchouli.

Turtle Totem

February 1, 2001

I am a warrior of the Turtle Clan. It is not a path I choose, but one that was given to me. I am honored to hold the Spirit of the Turtle.

As a totem, the turtle is not glamorous. He does not soar like the eagle. He does not pose majestically like the stag- silhouetted on the ridge tops. He does not see far like the hawk. He does not honor his brothers like the wolf, devouring them when it is time for them to be reborn.

He has no fangs, no claws, and no strength to bind. No wings to soar. No song to sing (except to those who have heart to listen).

What the turtle has is heart. When the spear pierces the stag…his heart stops. When the eagle falls from the sky…his heart stops. When the wolf starves because he can no longer hunt his heart stops. But when the turtle dies…his heart continues to beat long after it is taken from his body.

There is a reason for this.

The turtle crawls next to the earth, and is often overlooked. When he is seen he is often disregarded. But by being close to the earth, the turtle sees what the eagle on high cannot. The turtle feels what the stag in his majestic role cannot. He hears the silent song of prey as the wolf devours them.
The turtle knows your secret pain, your secret grief, your silent dreams. He is the keeper of silent sorrows, of un-voiced dreams, of treasures lost, and you un-expressed love.

The turtle’s shell protects these thoughts. When threatened, he retreats inside a fortress stronger than life itself. A turtle will die in flames inside his shell rather than expose the secrets he carries…your secrets.

And the reason his heart beats even as it is torn from his body is so that he can sing your song to his brothers. The secrets he holds are never lost, but passed to on to his brothers. The hidden pain and hidden joys of thousands of years are passed on. The joys and dreams of a million souls are in his song. And they are not lost by his death, but passed to a new generation to be cherished and sung.

By my blood …which is also the blood of my brothers, I make this place sacred to all who enter here. My brothers and I will hold your secret thoughts… dreams, grief, joys, desires.

We will perish in the flames rather than reveal the secret songs of your heart. And, when we do die, our hearts will continue to beat after death, until our brothers know your song and die themselves without revealing it to the world.

By our blood We make this so.

By My blood I make this so.

D. Baucom

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