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Ask Dr. Norman Brown Your Own Question

Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, PhD
Category: Dream Interpretation
Satisfied Customers: 1190
Experience:  40yrs interpreting dreams & connecting conscious & unconscious minds
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Last night I had a dream that a turtle was stuck in my vagina.

Customer Question

Last night I had a dream that a turtle was stuck in my vagina. It was sticking halfway out. I was very afraid to pull it out. When I worked up the nerve to do it, it seemed to be latched on to something inside of me. When I got it out. There was blood. I spoke of going to the hospital. Then I woke up. What does this dream mean?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dream Interpretation
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
The symbolism of turtles is related to the great goddess as a symbol of the ancient life-giving and protecting quality of women. When you write that "it was sticking halfway out" it seems like it was coming out of your vagina. But was it actually coming out? or going in? And was its head emerging from its shell too?
Your dramatic tug-of-war reads somewhat like a struggle to give birth, with your dream-ego manifesting a conscious will to release this ancient woman-spirit into the world and a more primitive force within yourself resisting.
Are you having any concerns about manifesting your sexuality, creativity or motherhood?
If the turtle was headed inward instead of outward, then the interpretation may need to go in a different direction also. But much depends on what is happening in your present life that has you in touch with a primal feminine aspect of yourself that is conflicted about emerging or going unconscius. Please write about what event(s) or concern(s) might have triggered this dream. We'll reach a better interpretation by working together to find how the dream is commenting on an important theme in your life.
You have chosen to bring about the turtle's emergence, and going to the hospital suggests seeking health-enhancement through putting your personality into a place whose main purpose is healing. In dreams such healing often means a concerted effort with skilled helpers over a short period of time to develop your mind, body and spirit in a wholistic way (such as psychotherapy, counseling, psychoanalysis and spiritual healing and guidance).
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It was not moving at all. It was just halfway out. The head and arms were out as well. I left it in for a while because I was afraid. I am on birth control and do not desire to have kids. My husband does want kids but we are about to go through a divorce due to his habitual lying & his adulterous ways and my low sex drive. I have been very down lately but sexually frustrated. Wanting sex Alot as I didn't before all if this drama. I am also bisexual and have been talking to a few women. I had sex a few hours before the dream. The big stress in my life right now is my husband's lying and adultery and divorce.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
Clearly the turtle DOES represent your own "great goddess" womanhood struggling to emerge--and perhaps needing to bite the little head off of the man who's sought to own your sexuality through marriage while slinging his own sex around outside. Thanks for your honesty about a big-transition situation in which new forces are struggling to come out in your being--hence your sudden blooming of sexual desire. Your unwillingness to have kids may well reflect your intuition that your husband is a bad man to have them with, and could also reflect a need to go through more maturation before taking on the lengthy (and irreversible) life-stage of motherhood. I have to go get meds for my wife & will write more later this evening.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK. Thanks. Ttyl
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
OK, before retiring for the night, I'll express some interpretations now. I don't just shoot from the hip and "trust my gut," but I don't just follow a formula either. I start with as much accurate detail, visuals, emotions, thoughts, expectations--all the ways our minds contribute to the fragmentary puzzlepiece whole that is recalled when we wake up and even gets further elaborated when we think about it. I compare that dream-reality with the dreamer's waking reality to find out where the differences are, and what the most surprising or shocking moments are, because that's where Some of the Newest News is to be discovered. For dreams don't just come to show us what we already know, but to show us things we don't know yet, and often to point towards new ways to move forward in our personal development from the current situation we're dreaming about.
So what are the most surprising moments? the image of the turtle stuck halfway out? Does the turtle seem ancient? or just a newbie? or an adolescent? Or perhaps about the same age as you are yourself (how old is that)? Does the turtle seem to be either male or female to you?
I wasn't kidding about when I wondered if the turtle could bite off your husband's (little) wayward head. It was actually my wife (also a Jungian interpreter of dreams) who thinks in pictures and said the turtle's head could look pretty phallic. And that would fit with your present need to muster up good strong masculine-like assertiveness (or aggression) in order to push your husband away and initiate divorce against him and against his wishes.
There's another theme running through your dream and a few things that you've said that suggests some direction for potential personality development, as indicated by the fadeout scene of your dream where there's blood and you "spoke about going to the hospital."
1. When a woman in a potentially mothering phase of life announces that she doesn't want children, I consider two possible meanings for that: A. She's NOT READY to be somebody else's mother, B.ecause she's not through being mothered herself. In fact, she may well have NOT had a good-enough mother, which she instinctively knows; and because the vast majority of youngish & even aging women (and men) don't become very conscious of the unconscious influences on their thinking, feeling & actions (because they haven't been involved in much psychotherapy and spiritual self-awareness discipline), she feels instinctively that she's going to be just like her own mother, and she'd be very embarrassed and guilty about treating her kid(s) the way she was treated herself.
So, did you have a GOOD ENOUGH mother? Would you be proud of yourself if you did most or all of the same things with and to your children as your mother did to you?
It's not a crime or a shame for a woman in her twenties or even thirties to put off having children because she doesn't feel right about it. It's a sign that she might either be more suited temperamentally and inspirationally to be fulfilled as a creator of scientific, artistic, educational, business or cultural benefits for her society, so that Those are her "offspring," as they are for men. Or that she needs to seek the inner understanding of what her mother's (and sometimes also father's) influence has done for (and against) her, through self-knowledge, the original imperative from Socrates (via Plato) "know thyself" and thus to work on improving her own personality for improving her influence on those she works with and/or those she gives birth to and raises. It's unfortunate that self-development has gone so much out of fashion since the 1970s.
But your riff about "going to the hospital" suggests that you know, unconsciously at least, that a spiritual hospital phase in your own growth would be a good path to take AFTER YOU'VE SINGLEHANDEDLY GIVEN BIRTH TO YOUR OWN PRIMAL WOMANHOOD AS THE TURTLE.
And there's one more indication that working psychospiritually on wyour own inner relation to mother may be the right path for you to take for your HEART (and soul) at this time: You're aware of bisexual feelings and are talking to a few women that arouse them. The great tradition of Vedantic Psychology (ancient India) says that passionate love arises on the frontiers of those parts of our personality where we are most ready/in-need to grow--that is IN YOUR RELATION TO WOMEN. Though I can't know, but only guess about your own emergent love with other women, I would guess that ONE benefit that you may be uncon-sciously seeking to gain through emotional intimacy with another woman (whether it's also sexual or not) is to add to the (perhaps all-too-limited) dimensions of what you have experienced of womanhood up to now, perhaps even to do some healing of your (perhaps) inadequate relationship of your own mother.
Since your sexual relationship with your present man is associated with pain, conflict and betrayal, sexual relationships with women may be particularly appealing. But the more long-lasting benefit that may be coming on that path might be to find Love with a warmth and meaningfulness that you've never had a chance to feel with your own family. But IF that Love is actually a vital piece of the puzzle for your developing a whole-expanding personality, then a more direct path--or an inner/spiritual guidance as complement to other woman-loving relations-- might be to carry on extensive psychotherapy over a couple of years with a skillful and loving woman who you could trust with your soul.
That's about it for tonight. Except for one more question: Was there a brother or sister in your family who your mother seemed to value more than she valued you?
I hope this isn't too much for you to chew through in one sitting. And I expect to be wrong at least some of the time. And many youngish people don't even realize that their mother was not a good-enough one, because their family was not allowed to realize that they weren't getting what they needed from their mom. [Fr'instance, in my family nobody was allowed to realize that our mother was Depressed by her ongoing servitude to our father; she was "always tired," "very good to us boys," "had a weak heart," and "we mustn't hurt her."]
Please correct any of my mistaken ideas about your life in relation to your dream. For I have nothing to prove by being right about most things; I just hope I'm wrong in ways close enough to what you realize because of my inaccuracies that you can tell me what comes into your mind and thus get us by successive approximation into some new understandings of the relational structure of your personality ahd how to move it forward--because this is the ultimate goal of most dreams.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
PS There is yet another possible angle on the turtle stuck in your vagina: The turtle is an animal symbol of the Introvert who always peeks out from inside of her shell before sticking her head out to talk to anyone else, and then when something scary or difficult happens, she pops her head back inside to wait a while until the coast is clear again. This might be a rough description of the way you have been with your sexuality up to now, but you're now determined (your conscious ego is determined) to come on out into the world and not hide out anymore. But that is a new birth (the blood) that will make you very vulnerable: What if you could NEVER pull your naked head back inside of your thick safe shell in the future? You'd need some hospital-help to build up your strength to cope with that much continued vulnerability.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I feel as if I had the best and strongest mom ever. I would be honored to be half the mom and woman she is. I never felt like she favored any one of us over the other but my brother seemed to think she favored me as a result of all the trouble he was always in.The turtle seemed to be a regular adult turtle. Possibly male. I don't want more kids because I'm in the army and it is hard enough trying to be active in my one child's life and I don't want to have any more kids with him because i feel as if things won't change and I don't want to have more kids with a man I will have to divorce. I don't want to have kids with anyone else either because I don't want to be forced to deal with anyone for the rest of my life in case I have to let them go.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the update. I'm glad to know that I was wrong about my guess that your relationship with mom was lacking in important ways. In face-2-face dream interpretation it's much easier to guess wrong and then be corrected than online--because the client is likely to think the interpreter is supposed to always know best. And this is not true. Interpretation is a matter of successive approximations until it fits for the dreamer.
I didn't know you were already a mom by the guy who's cheating on you. If he's in the army too, it would make sense. Now I'm wondering if the adult turtle's maleness could symbolize how your unconscious mind (which knows more of ancient symbol-wisdom than your consciousness) makes meaningful description of what it's like for you to be STUCK with a "regular adult male turtle" who WON'T LET GO OF YOUR VAGINA.
Here's a related story from last night at the YMCA: I actually was treated to a fairly long discourse by a 69 year old Asian-American woman (I had seen but never spoken to before) who said her husband was a retired army Captain--He never exercised anymore since retirement, but he still always acted like he was the Captain over Her. SHE REALLY WANTED TO UNLOAD HER FEELINGS to do that with a virtual stranger in the YMCA workout machine room. For I triggered her response by telling her about a 90+ year old couple I met briefly at an accordion concert 15 years ago, and said I asked them what their "secret" was for lasting so long together (72 years). He responded: "Every ship can have only one captain; and you're looking at her." I added that most men get more warm and nurturing in late life, while women get stronger. But she passionately insisted that her husband had NOT become less dominant at all.
When you write "Possibly male" I assume that something in your unconscious mind suggests that he's NOT a symbol of female sexuality at all, even though my best (700+ page) Jungian symbol book suggests that as a very possible meaning. This is a great case for showing that YOUR INDIVIDUAL response about the turtle is more important than ANY GENERIC SYMBOL READING.
Symbols are an ancient language of humans, of complex image/feeling/actions that make sense out of more than one aspect of our life at once: The central symbols in many dreams HAVE 2 or more OPPOSITE MEANINGS: Here both "half-emerging, half-born sexuality" and "Dominant Would-be Owner of your Womb." For now the turtle's being "latched on inside" makes sense NOT just as your "low sex drive" (reluctance well founded intuitively in your reaction to his lying infidelities) but also as your husband's probable resistance against you divorcing him (perhaps because of the slight embarrassment and possible financial consequences for his position and military career). SO HE'S the ADULT TURTLE that you have to yank out of your vagina--to free up your own sexuality. Therefore you may benefit a lot from loving sexual connections with women NOT because you need a loving (as well as strongest) mom, but to help your (psychological) vagina heal from the bloody struggle to get rid of him.
PS The strength of your new sex drive may also be a reaction to wash away the great unconscious ANXIETY you could easily have about casting out the man who has until now been your main protection against the scary unknown world of single motherhood in its flood of NEW BLOOD and joy from within your OWN body--now to be owned by OWNLY YOU!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I believed and still do believe that my low sex drive came from losing my virginity to an older couple when I was raped at age 12
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
At first, for sure. But do you think your husband's cheating & lying came about more because you wouldn't give him enough of the sex he wanted, or more because he saw chances to have his cake at home and eat it at other other women's lodgings too? You didn't mention if your husband is in the military or not, or if he's noticeably older than you, which I didn't ask, but did imagine.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think both not much sex and wanting to do his own thing. He's ex navy and 8 years older than me.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
Is there anything else you want to talk about? I have suggested that the "hospital" part of your dream is a message from Higher Power that it would help you a lot if you get counseling with a skilled professional who is capable of showing care for you, to make the best use of your "new birth" that will come about thru getting rid of the old male turtle hanging onto your vagina. A female V.A. or army counselor might be good, but I don't know if the govt will give you enough sessions frequently enough (like every 2 weeks for 6months at least). It's really important to have trust and confidence in your therapist, because there's NO DOUBT that getting a divorce is a great opportunity to give birth to new dimensions of yourself, and an experience you will be thankful for for the rest of your life IF you are able to make an ongoing connection with someone who's willing and able to be the loving mentor you deserve. Though many therapists are not well enough trained (meaning "psychodynamic"--including competent dream interpretation and understanding of unconscious & childhood influences, as well as emotion-cententered (but not just "cognitive-behavioral" that's aimed at quickfix that's all insurance companies & govt want to pay for)). I'm advising you to Interview the Counselor First--even though your chances of getting someone skilled at dream interpretation are very low (less than 10%).
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The same night I had a dream that I was fighting 3 sisters I went to high school with. I never had any problems with them before but I think I've dreamed of fighting them before. I was kind of scared that I was gonna lose the fight but I fought anyway. We didn't fight in the dream before I woke up but I know it was about to happen. Also 2 days later, I had another sexual dream. But I can't seem to remember the exact details of it... just that it wasn't good. I just remember having sex with a man and it was painful.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
My computer is under siege, and I need to go get it B6 & 12 for my daughter's neuropathy. I'll be back later.

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