The image of sea turtles has always been in the imaginations of people of various cultures along history. As a matter of fact this animal symbolises many different concepts and has been cherished for centuries.

MEDASSET 25th Anniversary sea turtle (1988-2013)

Designed by Michael Clements


On occasion of MEDASSET’s 25th Anniversary, Michael Clements especially designed “Lily’s Turtle”.  Forming the turtle are various symbolic elements associated with the figure of the turtle, mythology and MEDASSET’s mission.



Parts B, C and F are representing the various beliefs that associate the myth of Creation with the turtle. Many cultures indeed imagined that the turtle created the universe from its parts. The turtle is also a symbol of connection between Heaven and Earth because it nests on land but lives under water.

More precisely its shell is representative of the Heavens and its body of the Earth.

Native Americans used the shell of these reptiles as a calendar. In fact most turtle shells are divided into Thirteen sections which are associated with the thirteen phases of the moon in a year.


E:  The main body of the turtle’s shell is shaped into Poseidon’s Trident. The Greek god of the sea indeed used his Trident to create water and, as a consequence, life. The three parts of the Tridents are also shaped to represent “the Asclepius Wand,” or “Asclepius’ Rod,” which is an ancient Greek symbol associated with astrology and with healing the sick through medicine. Purification and healing rituals would take place during the night time, therefore Asclepius’ Rod also symbolises the turtle’s movements through the night. As an emblem of care and protection the Rod also represents MEDASSET’s conservation efforts to save the species.


A: This tribal hook represents the threats to which sea turtles are exposed to as a result of human activities.  Among others: injuries caused by fishing activities, garbage and pollution.


B: The ancient Greek symbol for Earth. “Sphaira”, a sphere in fact represented “Gaia”, the earth mother.

C:  The ancient Greek symbol for the Moon, associated with the Greek goddes of the Moon, Selene.

These two elements represent the transitive nature of sea turtles, between earth and sea, day and night.

D:  Three sea shore lilies (Pancratium maritimum) carried on the turtle’s shell are in thanks, praise and honor of Lily Venizelos, whose endless work and commitment to MEDASSET and the protection of sea turtles should never be forgotten.

F: The ancient Greek symbol for the Sun, where the dot in the centre represented the earth and the circle the journey of the sun.