Hand-carved from a deep-red clay-colored piece of pipestone (as known as catlinite), this delightful turtle fetish was designed by Zuni artist Jesus Espino, who lives in western New Mexico. Eight traditional sun ray images have been carved into the shell of the turtle, and at the center where the rays meet, a small circle of turquoise has been inlaid into the pipestone. Turquoise has also been used for the eyes of the turtle. This fetish is in wonderful vintage condition and comes with a black storage pouch. Also note that the artisan has carved his name into the bottom of the fetish.
This little turtle, one of the oldest Native American representations of Earth Mother, can guide the student of spiritual pursuits in two ways: first, through the totem teacher it represents (Turtle), and second, through the healing vibrations of the gemstone from which the image has been carved (Pipestone).
Some of the spiritual lessons that Turtle teaches are:
- Reliance on oneself.
- Patience, steadiness, endurance and longevity.
- Balance and harmony in different environments.
- Preservation of oneself, family and community.
- Generational and/or organizational memory.
- Potency of elderhood.
Our tribal elders remind us that, in the creation stories of many First Nations peoples, Grandmother Turtle offered her body during the Great Flood so that a new land could be formed. That land is Turtle Island, which reaches from what is now Canada down to the tip of Mexico. This totem figure carved by Jesus Espino honors the spirit of the turtle, our Grandmother.
As for Pipestone, some of its spiritual, healing properties include:
- Ability to harmonize body with spirit.
- Use of prayer and ritual to ground oneself in everyday life.
- Remembrance and honoring of ancestors.
- Connectedness to the great Circle of Life.
- Recognition of the lessons learned in one’s life and becoming wise from those teachings.
When meditating with this potent totem carving, the challenge, of course, is to blend the universal teachings of the Turtle with the healing energies of the Pipestone. We recommend exploring the vibrations of this fetish while meditating near water, a shoreline, or a cave where the energies of Earth Mother offer tranquility and deep insight.
This turtle so exquisitely carved by Jesus Espino would make an ideal gift for a loved one in need of its teachings and healing properties, for someone who has created a prayer wheel in her/his special meditation space or room, or for a collector of stones or tribal artifacts.