Europe

turtle-earthIn Europe, the ancient times because of the large number of turtle laid by her eggs was considered a symbol of fertility, because of “quiet restraint” – the personification of the moral love, because of longevity – a synonym relentless cheerfulness. In patristics is “living in the mud” animal was seen as a symbol, depending on the land, but St. Ambrose pointed out that from the shells of turtles can make a musical instrument with seven strings, the game which would have gladdened the heart. The protective function of tortoise shell in ancient times was used in magical rites (to protect against hail and witchcraft), and his eyes turtle in gold served as an amulet against the evil eye.
Turtle with a full blown sail on its back, was the emblem (impresa) Cosimo de ‘Medici (1389-1464). Accompanying motto was the phrase “Festina lente” [Lat. – “Hasten slowly”], which means, do not hurry, but be sure of what you are doing. In alchemy, the turtle symbolizes the matter at the beginning of the transformation process.