Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not just any old bird

I thought it was high time I cranked out another animal totem. This one, as well as being rather pertinent timing, was sitting on my desktop this morning when I got up to write another chapter that's been floating around in my head (hence all the pictures of Jazz recently, for I am up to the point when we saw her at the pet store, this time 5 years ago). I had it opened from a couple of days back when I was entering it in to the system - I have been recataloguing the manuals into a powerful database format, called Filemaker, for the people at Peace Space so that the information is more of a reference/look-up guide for them too.

I must admit, I've been finding it so handy to have on my own computer the ability to search with the touch of a few buttons, as there is just a wealth of information on so many things (I was up in the middle of the night a couple of weeks back searching the stones database for information on kidney/bladder troubles, for instance, when I was plagued by an infection that set in for about three weeks, to see if I could gain some understanding about why it had manifested in quite that way).

Anyway, to today's animal totem I wanted to share. Might make some of us think a little deeper about the gift from the actual bird on the table before us this festive/Thanksgiving season.


Turkeys originated in the Americas. They were domesticated by the Mayans and Aztecs before they were taken to Europe to be bred for the banquet table. Later they were returned to the North American content in the time of the Pilgrim Fathers who established the tradition of eating Turkey at Thanksgiving. In North American First Nation cultures, the Turkey is known as the “give-away eagle” or “earth eagle”. The philosophy of giving away is honoured by many tribes who traditionally give away what they own in order to help others. In doing so, they recognise the sacrifice made by themselves and others, for the Turkey gives up its life so that others can live. Traditionally, Turkey is the symbol of gifts and blessings for its flesh is used for food, its feathers become decoration and its bones are made into whistles. Hence it represents a connection with Mother Earth, the blessings She gives and the human ability to use these blessings to advantage. Today the Turkey is still used for Thanksgiving as well appearing on the centre of tables at Christian Christmastide, and its feathers are made into feather-dusters. Many saints and mystics practiced Turkey wisdom by responding unselfishly on behalf of the needs of others. Turkeys in their natural habitat live in open mixed woodlands and roost in the trees at night. Even though their habitats have at times been threatened, they have been able to adapt to new environments. They feed on berries, many kinds, nuts, acorns and insects. They move about in small groups of about 10-20, finding safety in numbers. This reflects a sense of sharing, as does the practice of Turkey hens who will often share their egg-laying nest with others. The Turkey displays many colours—green and copper tints to its feathers, red legs, red and blue on its head. Upon the male’s head is a red wattle which is mostly seen hanging limp on the forehead. This, in ancient traditions, is linked to higher/ inner vision (the “third eye”) and so connecting it to the feminine energies and Mother Earth.

When Turkey appears as your totem, it is time to look at the gifts you hold and the responsibility you have to honour and share these as blessings with others. True giving is sharing without expecting anything in return. Turkey reminds us that striving to gain everything to get ahead does not come from your true self. Your true self rests in the knowledge that what you do for others is – in turn – what you do for yourself. When Turkey comes into your life, it may be time to celebrate your true virtues* without fanfare. Honour the virtues
* you hold in your heart. Acknowledging your own need for self-encouragement will inspire you to help others in need. Be like Turkey and remain open to the world about you and the needs of those around you. This is not a time to be shut off and possessive of your time, space and possessions. It is time to share and take advantage of what you have been given to work with. Holding on to others or possessions for the sake of gratifying your life will only bring dissatisfaction and discouragement, but sharing your true heart’s desire will bring recognition of the gifts you hold. Place yourself in the centre of your own table and celebrate the gifts and virtues you have received and can share with others, for these are what Turkey wisdom gives freely. The gifts you bring into your life and the lives of others will be full of colour. When you share your gifts there is much to receive. Let Turkey take you on a meditation to ask the inner wisdom of your Higher Self what creative gift you have not yet realised.

* Virtues – Three Theological Virtues: Faith, Hope, Charity (Love)
Four Cardinal Virtues: Courage, Justice, Prudence, Temperance
Other personified Virtues: Patience, Gentleness, Humility, Obedience, Perseverance, Chastity, Peace/Harmony

Archived Posts


Related Posts with Thumbnails