In honor of my cousin who happens to be spending the night here today we will look at one of his favorite things. Today we are going to look at turtles and their close cousins the tortoise.

These creatures are usually a symbol of tranquility and steadfastness. They are a common part of creation stories. In these stories they usually carry the world on their backs or support the heavens. In Mohawk traditions the shaking and trembling of the earth is from the turtle stretching underneath the great weight that she carries.

In China the Black Tortoise is the ruler of the north. It is a symbol of endurance, strength, and longevity. Because of their long lifespans they were often used as symbols during funerals.

In Japan the equivalent to the black tortoise is known as minogame. It is a symbol of longevity and felicity. The tortoise is also an attribute of the deity of seafarers, Kompira. It is a common part of Japanese wedding ceremonies. There is also a well known pattern that is based on the pattern of their shells.