Painted Turtle by Gretchen Del Rio c 2010, rights reserved
Painted Turtle by Gretchen Del Rio c 2010, all rights reserved

we live on Turtle Island and turtle is my totem ~
she speaks in the easy way only turtle can,
as one who is at home in herself, at home between
her plastron and carapace, wisdom in her measured
gait, her introversion a model for freedom, for cutting
the nets spun of wars and deceptions . . .

she is the everyday re-enchantment of my solitary
cosmos, my solidarity with life, i read her pastoral
letters in green on green, the sweet grasses and seas,
she speaks of connectedness, the basic constituents
of enigma, wizardry; and in the insanity of the times,
how best to journey and retrieve this world’s soul . . .
she is the unrushed cure for nature-deficit,
that consuming affliction, the spawn of culture’s
back-lighted screens and advertising of every bilk

turtle healing is simple peace and master lessons in
self-containment, she draws me into my meditations
and back along the first path of Maka Ina, the forgotten
primal path of earth ways and feminine energies and
the rhythms of grandmother moon whirling me heavenward.

– Jamie Dedes

  • Turtle ~ totem or power animal representing earth in Native American tradition
  • Turtle Island ~ in Iroquois tradition, when the earth was covered over with water, sundry animals attempted  to create land by swimming to the bottom of the ocean and hauling up dirt. Muskrat succeeded. He placed the dirt on the back of  Turtle, which grew into the landmass known today as North America. 
  • Maka Ina ~ Lakota (Sioux) ~ “maka” is earth and “ina” is mother, so Mother Earth. Earth teachings were/are considered a path to wholeness (heaven).

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved,
Illustration courtesy of Gretchen Del Rio, all rights reserved

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