The black tortoise is one of the “four guardians” in Feng Shui, ruling the northern sky in ancient Asian astrology. In most interpretations, the guardians were considered “gods” or “symbols” of gods because they ruled over the heavens (the sky). The black tortoise is closely associated with the water element and the winter season.
The symbolism of the Black Tortoise Feng Shui Guardian
The hard shell of a turtle protects this rather slow-moving creature. If danger is lurking, the turtle can simply retreat into the protection of its own shell. The turtle is also known for its slow and steady pace and this steadiness, in spite of its speed, is why it “wins the race.” It’s easy to see why the ancients who developed Feng Shui viewed the turtle as a symbol of protection, security, and stability.
The black tortoise is considered a Feng Shui cure for providing steady reliable energy in one’s life. It provides a grounding force to keep things on track, stable and advancing along. If placed correctly in a home or business, the black tortoise can also provide protection from intruders and negative influences. The black tortoise is also said to possess ancient wisdom derived from the Earth and this too can rub off on people in its presence.
The black tortoise serves as a symbol of longevity and prosperity. In some cases, it can even symbolize immortality. The early practitioners of Feng Shui often built turtle-shaped domes, complete with etchings like you would see on a tortoiseshell, above their gravesites. Archeologists have interpreted this to mean they were protecting those who had passed to the spiritual world, thereby giving them a form of immortality.
In Chinese mythology, the black tortoise is actually considered a union of two creatures, a tortoise and a snake (serpent). Together, they combine into a “black warrior” that is said to have created the earth or aided the God who did so. In some versions of the story, the tortoise and the snake were two generals of a God or an emperor who joined forces and became one cohesive unit. This is why you will sometimes see paintings and figurines of the black tortoise depicted with a snake wrapped around it.
Black Tortoise Placement in and Around the Home
The black tortoise is best positioned in the back of a home, opposite from the front or primary entrance. This corresponds to the north bagua area. The black tortoise provides protection to the inhabitants of the home and can help keep the family dynamics at more even kilter. It can also help the breadwinner(s) of the home keep a steady and growing income and help protect one’s career. If there are children in the home, the black turtle can give them the strength to deal with bullies and other obstacles that might interfere with their learning and personal enrichment.
It’s best to place the black tortoise near a water feature such as a tabletop water fountain or an aquarium. However, the black tortoise should never be placed in the kitchen or bathroom as this would be a sign of disrespect and may actually impair the energy of the black tortoise. If you have your bed located in a Feng Shui position, opposite to the entrance to your bedroom, placing a black tortoise at the head of your bed can help protect you during the night and protect you from nightmares and insomnia.
If you place a black tortoise in a Feng Shui garden, you will receive greater strength and spiritual guidance when you visit your garden. This is the perfect Feng Shui cure if you meditate in your garden or simply seek refuge there in the morning or after a long hard day. You’ll receive a stronger benefit from the black tortoise if you place it in or near a water feature in your garden, such as a small pond or an outdoor fountain since water enhances the good qi (chi) bestowed by a black tortoise. The wisdom the black tortoise provides can help you mentally problem solve as well.
Black Tortoise Placement in Work and Business
A black tortoise figurine is one of the most popular symbols in a Feng Shui office. To place it correctly, you’ll first want to make sure you place your desk on the wall opposite from the entrance to the office, with your desk chair facing the door. The black tortoise can then be placed behind the desk to help strengthen your work and keep a nice steady flow of clients and work projects coming your way. It’s best to not to place the black tortoise directly across from the door but rather slightly out of line. This will help keep the black tortoise’s positive energy in the room.
If a black tortoise figurine does not fit well with your office decor, you can always substitute a wall painting. The perfect choice would be a serene painting featuring a body of water, such as a lake, with a small black tortoise incorporated into the painting. The water and the tortoise together will provide more Feng Shui q’i (chi). Visitors to your office will not even realize this is a Feng Shui cure but it will be there protecting you always. The black turtle will always have your back!
Lo Shu Magic Squares on the Black Turtle
Sometimes, you’ll see an interesting pattern of dots on the back of a Feng Shui black turtle. These correspond with an ancient legend that goes back to the earliest practices of Feng Shui. Although there are variations on this story, most versions essentially go like this. An emperor was bathing in the Yellow River one day. After bathing, he decided to take a respite on the banks of the river. He then noticed a turtle with a curious pattern of dots on its shell crawl out of the river. What made this even more fascinating to the emperor was that the dots were arranged just like stars in a constellation he had been gazing at the night before. Since the sky was considered the heavens and the Gods gave the emperor guidance through the patterns and movements of celestial bodies in the night sky, the emperor took this as a divine symbol.
There were several groupings of dots arranged in a grid pattern. If you added up the dots of every row — horizontally, vertically, and diagonally — they always added up to the same total: 15. This “magic number” also happened to correspond to the number of days in each lunar cycle of what was then a twenty-four cycle lunar year. These “Lo Shu magic squares” became associated with the harmony, balance, and natural order of the entire universe! This was also the beginning of bagua maps or bagua charts, although they became much more complicated over the centuries. Originally, there were a total of nine squares with three rows and three columns and this is the most common depiction you will find on a Feng Shui black turtle.