Turtle (tortoise)

The tortoise represents the whole universe, it is the carrier of the world. It is a female and a male symbol at the same time.

In one of the pictures of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili a woman holds in her hands a tortoise and a pair of wings. This hermetic symbolism compares and opposes chthonic and ouranian features. The wings could represent Mercury and the tortoise could be the matter from which he produced his zither. This transformation from the tortoise to the zither resumes all the Art of Alchemy. It is the primal matter of the Work as well as Saturn or lead. It represents the beginning of the spiritualisation of the matter and the wings represent the finalisation of the Work. Continue reading Turtle (tortoise)

Gods and animals

Greek    – Roman –     Sphere –     Animal

Zeus –  Jupiter – Sky and Thunder –  Eagle

Hera –  Juno – Marriage and Family – Peacock, Crown, Cuckoo, Lion, Cow

Poseidon – Neptune – Seas, Earthquakes, Horses – Horse, Bull, Dolphin

Dionysus – Bacchus – Wine, Celebrations, Ecstasy – Tiger, Panther, Leopard, Dolphin, Goat

Apollo – Phoebus – Light, Knowledge, Music, Poetry, Prophecy, Archery –  Raven, Dolphin, Wolf, Swan, Mouse

Artemis – Diana – Hunt, Virginity, Childbirth, Archery, All animals – Deer, Hound, She-bear, Snake

Hermes – Mercury – Messenger of gods, Commerce, Thieves – Caduceus (with two snakes), Stork, Tortoise

Athena – Minerva – Virgin,  Wisdom, Handicrafts, Defense, Strategic warfare – Owl

Ares – Mars – War, Violence, Bloodshed –  Boar, Serpent, Dog, Vulture

Aphrodite – Venus – Love, Beauty, Desire – Dove, Bird, Bee, Swan

Hephaestus – Vulcan – Blacksmith, Craftsman, Fire, Forge – Donkey

Demeter – Ceres –  Fertility, Agriculture, Nature, Seasons – Pig



The symbolism of lizard could be related to the snake. Different nations possess these expressions: lazy as lizard or lazy as grass-snake.  Snake is an eternal rival of man, but lizard, in contrary, is seen as a friendly animal. In Egypt the image of lizard signified benevolence and kindness.

In the Bible the lizard is called a tiny creature but very wise. His long immobility enjoying the sun is the symbol of contemplative ecstasy.