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And so I asked her, “Grandmother, you taught us that Turtle carries the calendar on the back of its shell. You said that every Turtle shell displays the 13 Moons and 28 days that make up a year. But I have examined the backs of dozens and dozens of different types of Turtle shells and something is missing. I do see that the 13 moons are represented by the 13 central scutes, but never have I found a Turtle with outer scutes numbering more than 24, plus the cervical scute. Is the story about the Turtle carrying the calendar just a myth?”

She looked at me thoughtfully for a few long moments, a smile lingering in the corner of her mouth and that ever-present twinkle in her eye. Then she tilted her head ever-so-slightly, in that way she always does when I ask a question that she thinks I’m already supposed to know the answer to.

“You are a woman my dear. Look inside. You already know this."

And it suddenly washed over me. A woman’s cycle is typically 28 days, but four of those days are the days she is on her Moon time. A woman’s Moontime is a considered a sacred time of great power as it relates to her power to give life. It is a time of reflection, release, and renewal. Traditionally, many communities had a Moon tent or hut where the women would gather during their Moontime while her regular chores are tended by other members of the family.

A women’s Moontime is sacred, like a traditional Pipe, or a Sweatlodge when it is covered. They are indeed part of the Great Mystery, and are not meant to be on grand display, photographed, or made a spectacle of in any way other than for teaching purposes.

“Turtle,” she said, “is the most ancient Teacher on Mother Earth. She has so much more to share to those who learn to see and hear with their hearts, and not just their eyes and ears.”

Teachings from Grandmother Turtle Moon
~ By Karen Bisson