Spirit Animal: #TankaTuesday

Colleen at Wordcraft poetry suggested writing a syllabic poem about our spirit animal. She provided a quiz to find our spirit animal. I took the quiz and discovered that at this moment mine is the turtle. The website, spiritanimal.info, says that “The turtle totem symbolizes our peaceful walk on this earth. It represents the path we take as we embark on our journey through life. Β In contrast to emotional or spiritual development occurring in bursts, the way of the turtle anchors our personal unfolding in a slow, more grounded series of steps and longer cycles of transformation. The turtle is associated with our physical and embodied evolution on the earthly plane. Call this spirit animal for help to be more grounded. You can also get help slowing down and pacing yourself, so you can take your next step with more confidence.” While I doubt my spirit animal is always a turtle it does fit right now. I’ve had this torn meniscus and other issues since January, and I am trying to resolve myself to stop fighting it and just proceed in the right direction, working hard at physical therapy, icing, and REST. Yes, this past week it was so bad that I actually rested, and wow, that actually helps . . . a lot. I had a good physical therapy appointment today. Fingers crossed. Moving at my turtle’s pace, in the right direction.

For this poem, I wrote a tanaga, which is a form from the Philippines. This is aΒ 7-7-7-7 Syllabic verse, with an AABB or AAAA rhyme scheme.


Accepting the Turtle as My Guide

For this part of my journey

I learn to walk with this knee.

A turtle guide teaches me

to keep on without hurry.


Another thing that I like about a turtle is that while they are slow and seem clumsy on earth, they are quite graceful and fast in the water. With my Sun in Cancer, I was born under a water sign. And grew up in and around the lakes of Michigan.

When I was a little girl, I had a beautiful painted turtle as a pet. The turtle’s shell was at least 4″ long. I must have been about five. I took him or her outside to play a few times. She would fall into the window well and need help out. I recall my father helping me release her to live free, but I don’t remember the details. Today it is illegal to release a captive turtle into the wild. But I do remember that I felt wonderful letting that turtle go have her own wild life.

Then when I was in 4th grade, I was given two tiny turtles to live in an aquarium. I don’t remember what happened to those turtles, but I did used to love to feel their scratchy claws scrabbling at my palms when I held them. Looking back, I wonder if the idea of releasing the big turtle was sympathy for it because of it’s size or if I was too young to take proper care of it.

green and black turtle in close up shot
Photo by Andrew Patrick on Pexels.com


Filed under #amwriting, #poetrycommunity, #TankaTuesday, #writingcommunity, Cats and Other Animals, Poetry, Writing, Writing prompt

56 responses to “Spirit Animal: #TankaTuesday

  1. That’s very interesting that you had a few turtles when you were a child and it turns out to be your spirit animal. Wishing you a smooth recovery and just the right amount of time to heal. πŸ’—

    • Thank you, Lori. I ought to have a cat spirit animal because I have five cats haha!

      • Haha. You must follow Kate at her Views and Mews blog. Those kitties are probably good company while you heal. Right now I’m into dogs and thought I’d be a wolf or something. I took the animal spirit test after reading your post. Umm, I hesitate to tell you. Mine ->🐍 😝

        • That’s interesting. I saw somebody else got a snake, too. Creepy!!! I am spending a lot of time babysitting my granddog, so I am into dogs, too ;). I have definitely followed Coffee Kat Kate for a long time!

  2. Lovely scratchy memory

  3. I love this. I live by the ocean and recently joined the Turtle Preservation Society, we’ve saved a leather back and her nest recently.

  4. Great poem fellow turtle 😊

  5. That does sound like a perfect totem to accompany your journey with the knee!

  6. Fascinating spirit animal post. I took the quiz just out of curiosity. Apparently I’m a deer. I hope your healing continues!

  7. Interesting that your turtle guide is there to help you rest … which you absolutely need to do. And, yes, apparently you are resting, but (like me), it seems things must get pretty bad before you do so πŸ˜‰ Love your poem.

  8. Thanks for sharing lovely memories Luanne. Wishing you good health and quick healing of your knee. I took the quiz twice and each time chose a different element. The result would be different with the element choice.

    • I wondered about that with the element. I did water, but air was a close second for me because of the whole idea of flying. But I am more comfortable in the water. Thank you, Balroop!

  9. Wow! You have a real affinity for turtles, Luanne. What great childhood stories to go with your poem. 🐒

  10. You have such a store of memories, and many which give you strength and warmth. You’ve turned this event into a meaningful poem. Hope your knee is better soon. I have started taking one daily table of Magnesium with Turmeric, and the pain in my achy-knees from meniscus, torn cartilage and baker’s cysts is reduced. All part of the ageing process on the march to arthritis, apparently.

    I, too, couldn’t resist the quiz. Not sure if my answers were accurate, or what I wanted them to be, but, hey! I got the owl. I’ll go with that, even though there is a negative side as well.

    • I do have a lot of memories, and many of them are very pleasant. I feel like the keeper of the memories for my family!
      Ooh, I wish I could take magnesium, but it gives me a tummy ache. However, I bought some magnesium flakes and am going to try to as a soak for my legs. This arthritis business is just ridiculous, by the way. My husband’s is really bad.
      Now owls are known to be very wise, like of like a seer, I think!

      • Before the tablet, I was using a cream from the company below. It didn’t do much for me, but I gave some to my sister and now she is using it all the time. Plus she recommended to her boss and he loves it too! I don’t think they ship to USA, but you can ask, or perhaps find something similar near to you. https://mg12cellrestore.com.au/

  11. Amy

    I am glad you are taking a more positive approach to the knee issue, and I hope the PT helps.

    I think it’s now illegal to sell those little turtles as pets. We had some when I was a kid. They were cute!

  12. Roberta Eaton Cheadle

    Hi Luanne, a turtle is a lovely spirit animal. I am a butterfly. I enjoyed your poem and it’s unique form.

    • Thank you, Robbie. I think so too (about the turtle being a lovely spirit animal). The turtle is guiding me! Butterflies are, of course, lovely, too!

  13. What a perfect spirit animal for you during this time in your life, Luanne! I hope you heal quickly. It seems you’ve always had a connection to turtles. I loved your poem.

    Yvette M Calleiro πŸ™‚

  14. Love your poem! I like turtles as well…they are wonderful creatures. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories!!!

  15. D.L. Finn, Author

    I love their strenght in water. Great poem πŸ™‚

  16. Wonderful. And a turtle– yay. Love what you say. We accept. That is right. Wonderful.

  17. Luanne I like the guiding aspect of the turtle that we slow down when we need to and the turtle showed up just at the right time to advise you with your injury. Very nice memories about the turtles from your childhood. On my bike rides I’m always heartened to see them along the way, most times resting on logs in the water.

    • Oh, you are so blessed to see turtles in the wild where you live! We have DesertTortoises, but they are generally way out in the desert and huge. Thank you!

  18. A turtle is a fine spirit animal. Graceful swimmers, turtles have long lives to fashion thousands of poems in their heads.

  19. An interesting spirit animal – I like the way the poem shows your reluctant acceptance of that need to rest!

  20. Wonderful poem. I love turtles.

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