The Meaning of the Tortoise in Feng Shui

feng shui turtle
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In feng shui practice, the tortoise is one of the four celestial animals, or guardians, that correspond to the four compass directions. The black tortoise represents North; the green dragon is the guardian of the East; the red phoenix, the guardian of the South; and the white tiger, the guardian of the West. These four animals are considered the guardians of good feng shui energy, and the roots of their symbolism and use go back deep into the beginnings of feng shui. Placed in the right position, the celestial animals are said to channel and enhance energy, while misplaced animals can hinder proper energy flow. 

There are several feng shui rules, or guidelines for placing a tortoise as a feng shui cure in your home, your garden, or your office. 

The Meaning and Use of the Feng Shui Tortoise

In ancient China, the tortoise was seen as a spiritual symbol of longevity, and in feng shui practice it has a variety of uses. How you use the symbol of the turtle or tortoise in feng shui will depend on your intention. There are four common uses for this symbol. 

The first feng shui use of the tortoise symbol is as a means of protection and as an energy-strengthening cure. For this purpose, the best feng shui placement of the tortoise is in the back of the house. In an office environment, you can place a small tortoise behind your back (provided it looks appropriate for your workspace). Outdoors, you can place a tortoise in the back of your garden.

The second use of the tortoise, particularly a black tortoise made from metal, is in the north Bagua area of your home. This use is based on the tortoise as a feng shui symbol of career energy enhancement. It is believed that this feng shui placement can help attract a smooth, grounding energy for your business projects and can lead to steady promotions through the course of your career.

The third feng shui use is to bring the grounding energy of the tortoise to any feng shui Bagua area of your home that needs more protection and stability. For example, if you have a stone tortoise positioned close to a west-facing front door, this brings the energy of grounding and protection to the main door. The stone material belongs to the earth feng shui element, which is nourishing for the metal element represented by this compass direction. If you choose this application of feng shui, be sure that the turtle is facing towards the main door.

The fourth application of the tortoise symbol is in a slightly more advanced feng shui use, in which the tortoise is placed facing the best direction for the inhabitants of the home. This is calculated by looking into one's Kua number, the birth feng shui element, as well as the current feng shui energies for the year. Used this way, the tortoise is thought to combat illness and promote health.  

Feng shui expert Lillian Too enumerates additional uses for the feng shui tortoise symbol: 

  • Positioning a tortoise close to an artificial waterfall or fish tank will magnify the power of the tortoise.
  • Placing the tortoise near the head of your bed will remove anxieties and can help with insomnia.  
  • It is considered bad feng shui to place a tortoise in the kitchen or bathroom. 
tortise feng shui
 Illustration: © The Spruce, 2018

Types of Feng Shui Turtles

When choosing a feng shui tortoise, you can select among different materials, different designs engraved on the back of the turtle, and different symbols and objects included with the turtle. For example, some tortoises figurines are depicted with feng shui coins to attract more money and to improve health and family life, etc. Then there is the dragon turtle feng shui cure—a mystical combination of the energies of the turtle with the energies of the dragon

Online retailers and shops specializing in feng shui products offer dozens of different tortoises in various colors and materials, each intended to enhance a certain feng shui goal. For example, you might choose a tortoise made from hematite for its symbolic value in combatting terminal illness, or one made from rose quartz for its legendary value at improving love relationships.

The tortoise is a celestial feng shui symbol that represents stability and protection against bad fortune. For feng shui practitioners, the tortoise offers many uses when chosen carefully, used correctly, and treated with respect.

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