The Realm of The Animal And Plant People (continued)
“Jicotea” (hee-coh-tay-ah), the land tortoise carries the secret of the Sacred Calendar on its back. The pattern of scales on this common reptile establishes the combination of numbers that define the lunar calendric cycle. The circle of scales that surrounds the edges of its round shell add up to 28, the sacred number of days that comprise the lunar cycle (28 days from full moon to full moon).
Surrounded by this circle of small scales is a geometric pattern of thirteen larger scales in the center of the shell. This pattern describes the 13 perfect “moons” in the lunar year of the Dreamspell calendar
The turtle is also a symbol of the ancestral “turtle-woman” who featured so prominently in the ancient Taino legend of Creation. Turtle-woman sprang full-grown from the hump on the back of Demiban (Diminan) Caracaracol. He was one of the four quadruplet brothers born of Ata Bey’s earthly manifestation, Itaba Cahubaba. Demiban Caracaracol and his brothers eventually assumed the identities of the spirits of the four directions. As such these four youths set up house with the sacred Turtle-woman who had sprang from Demiban’s back. Each of the four brothers contributed his unique gift from his respective direction to the genetic make-up of the children of the Turtle-woman. These perfectly balanced children became the ancestors of the Tainos.
Along with its marine cousin “Karey”(giant sea turtle), the land tortoise belongs to the family of holy beings that represent another aspect of the presence of the Earth Mother among us. This whole family of living beings represents the power of the shaman to shield and protect the people from the negative energies of malevolent spirits. Furthermore. The sturdy back of this creature is interpreted in some traditions to be the support for our whole homeland of the American continent. That is why we call our homeland “Turtle Island”.
“Chipoho”, the green tree lizard along with “coqui” the tree frog is the harbinger of the gentle rain-showers of Summer that bring fertility and abundance.