I’ll just start out with saying that never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would write a post about the meaning of the vulture totem. I honestly had not given much thought that there would even be a totem for what most would consider a disgusting bird. What I have discovered over the years of writing this blog is that my instincts often take me to places that I would have never considered on my own. Out of the blue an animal will keep coming to me and that is why today we are going to learn about the vulture totem meaning. Those buzzards (as some call them) have literally flown into my vision so many times that I finally got the message that I was to research and write about them. Sometimes my radar is slow but a persistent spirit will just keep coming to me until I finally get the message.
As I began to reflect about this bird and to study it, I realized that this is not the first time that he has come to me. A few years back, I was seeing them daily and even had a committee (group) of them in my backyard one day. Let me tell you that up close and personal these are big birds! I would see them in flight which is called a kettle of vultures and I would see them as a wake (group feeding). At the time, I thought they were interesting and wondered why they kept making themselves seen to me but I did not get the hint that the vulture spirit was there for a reason. Now, that I have taken notice, I know why they were with me before.
Those of you who follow this blog may remember that about this time last year I made a journey to a place that the Indians of my heritage considered a sacred place. It was there that my spiritual name of Two Feathers was revealed to me. My husband and I have just returned from a second visit to this special place. I wasn’t feeling that anything necessarily new would be revealed on this trip. I did expect to be energized by the stones but other than that I had no other expectations.
On that first visit I saw buzzards or vultures a lot, I mean seriously I saw them everywhere! I even laughed because one day there was a kettle of them circling over a cemetery. I understand why I was seeing them on that first trip now. I had gone through a bit of a purification and a new vision had been revealed to me. The vulture totem symbolizes both. It is about death and rebirth which is in a way what was going on with me on that first trip. I was letting some old stuff die away so that I could open up to a birthing of the new me.
Fast forward to the second visit which just occurred. You guessed it, those buzzards were with me again. I noticed them in flight a few times but it wasn’t until I was on top of what the locals call a hill (I would call it a small mountain!) that the proverbial light bulb turned on in my brain. I was standing in the sun and just letting myself absorb the energy and good spirits of the place. I said a little prayer of gratitude for being allowed to stand on that ground and then I noticed a large shadow sweep over me. I looked up and there was a kettle of about 7 (a sacred number) vultures circling over me. It just took my breath away! I wasn’t frightened but suddenly felt very peaceful, almost refreshed and I knew right then that there was meaning in me seeing these misunderstood birds.
There is a significance of me standing in the sun as I found out. Vultures do a ritual every morning that entails spreading their wings and standing in the sun. The scientific reason is to let the sun dry any dew off of their feathers and to kill any bacteria that might be on their heads from feeding the day before. Those of us who understand the spiritual acts of critters can see that it is most probably more than that with these birds. Vultures are a symbol of heaven and earth, spirit and matter, good and evil. This act of spreading their wings to the sun is a form of worship and connection, I believe.
I am going to have to go into much further detail of this totem at a latter posting because it is really fascinating and involves a lot of teachings. I’ll give the brief version for now. If vulture is working with you it is a time of purification, a time of death and rebirth and a time of new vision. Your sight becomes clear and your sense of smell will be heightened (something does not smell just right) and you might even experience some digestive changes. Basically, when the vulture comes as a totem it is a sign that a higher purpose is at work and any suffering that you might have been experiencing was temporary but necessary for this new birth to come to fruition. I promise I will continue with the study of this totem, soon!
Easter Sunday I was relaxing peacefully in an old wooden rocking chair. The Vulture appeared and stood perched atop our high pharaoh be pole. In other words do the totem pole. My girlfriends mother passed on recently. I phoned to comfort her. Earlier on Friday and Saturday am I was awaiting the arrival of our wild rabbit but it never came to our backyard. I was just thinking wouldn’t it be special if it showed up on Easter Sunday morning? Guess what there it was feeding on the grasses. I am not a vegetarian it is the circle of life. We had a fox kill a chicken in our yard. Our neighbours had chickens. I also saw a hawk Easter morning. My husband missed the hawk though. It was meant for my eyes only. I have been purchasing a lot of native clothes jewelry and art pictures. I am an artist myself and can appreciate all cultural of artwork. Watched the government channel about the mining conflict in Hudson Bay Area. The peat bogs and the carbon our ecosystem. Yikes! Once you build you can’t stop it. You can’t fix an ecosystem after you destroy it. Perhaps a small fraction for mining symbiotic relationship possibly could coexist. Tread on feather lite grounds though Mother Earth is more fragile than ever these days. Missiles in oceans are short dying tetronic plates in our oc an floors. War is damaging to all life forms. Peace Love and Empathy is the only words for you today. Thank you for the lovely blog and insight Lin
I’ve struggled with mental health issues and substance abuse for most of my life. I went to a medicine ceremony almost 5 years ago and I have been free from the chains of those addictions since. I still struggle with my mental health and trauma though. I have been getting prepared for another medicine ceremony and all these wonderful and positive signs have been flowing towards me. I knew I was almost ready (I have a cold so I have been giving my body time to heal from that first)…. anyway, yesterday hit me like a ton of bricks. A bunch of horrible things happened (one of them being the death of one of our baby rabbits). I felt defeated. I felt guilt. I felt the depression try to crush me again. I asked spirit to guide me in continuing my healing and I asked what are the lessons I’m supposed to learn from these things. As the sun was setting, sitting at the top of our huge poplar tree, was SEVEN vultures. They were stretching their wings, and they were backlit by the setting sun. It was a beautiful moment. I watched them fly around and land back in the tree and I felt comforted. Last night I started to get digestive issues. I asked myself, “what’s going on?!”. Today my stomach is still upset and I’m still feeling a little defeated, but I’m not giving up on my healing. Again, I asked spirit and ancestors why am I being tested, what is the lesson, what am I missing? Almost instantly the vultures popped into my head. I set off to Google where I found your beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing. I have not lost hope. I will forgive myself and others. I will be kind to myself. When it is time, I will ask the sacred medicine to help me let go of the things that do not serve me anymore. I type this with tears in my eyes. Sincerely, thank you for guiding me back to the path I was walking.
Most of the posts on this website are a couple of years old. Today is 6 March 2021. My hope is that you are still “out there” Beverly.
Could you explain, spiritually, why the adult Turkey Vulture has a red, bald, head?
May the Spirit who moves all things, bless and sustain you. Thank you.
Aniin, I have found 3 vulture feathers just going about my way at 2 different times. The first was about 2 years ago when I was really upset with my significant other. It was right after my anger went away that I found it. (I didn’t see the bird but it was near a dead possum). The second 2 I found on a walk with my same significant other near our house. That time though there was a large committee of them near as the ditch near our house had the water drop significantly & there were lots of dead fish. They are 2 flight feathers and a small feather. Im just wondering what the significance is, if theyre my spirit animal or just a guide giving me a helpful todem. Any input would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
Aniin Rachel. I get the sense that at the times the feathers were found you were being guided by the Vulture Spirit to let go of something emotionally in order to allow for a new feeling to be born. As with me, Brother Vulture is not a permanent totem spirit but rather just flies into our space when we need to see him.
I remember always seeing vultures. Honoring them as a boy in California, black vultures, turkey vultures, California Condors. It was an amazing revelation recently at the Bull Shoals dam in northwest Arkansas. Being recently built the black vultures have set up camp at the dam in the last 10 years. They come back to breed there religiously now. They will not leave. I saw them there as the cars are attacked and pecked. I saw them fall upwards as the warm air gusts push them up over the dam like a half pipe. I saw them burst over like feathery orbs never affected by wind or rock. At home. I feel them call me to be like that.
I know this post is 4 years old, but it’s brand new to me. I’m on a completely new path in life and I’m letting go of so many old hurts in order to move on. While I have a connection with birds and have my own winged one as a spirit animal, I know birds are my family. However, lately I have been seeing vultures specifically every where I go. And not just one or two… it’s many which I’ve now learned is a kettle. When I look up and connect with them, I start to speak to them. They glide downwards on the thermals towards me and circle above me about 20 feet while I talk to them for about 60 seconds. It is absolutely beautiful and a complete calm comes over me. I always thank them for their service to the earth. I feel like they are my guardians. Finally after a few weeks of this I knew it was time to start researching why. I found your blog post and it makes so much sense to me.
Letting go and moving toward my soul purpose is my path now. Thank you so much for your research which has helped someone like me tremendously.
I have always loved vultures. Many decades ago, I taught my 1st grade & kindergarten students about how the vulture cares for the Earth. Even their parents began to respect these beautiful birds.
Beverly, Thanks for this information. I have a vulture as my life long totem. Everywhere I go, they are flying with me. The other day, one came out of nowhere and flew right in front of my car. He dove in so closely that I had to hit the brakes so that I wouldn’t hit him/her. It disappeared just as quickly as it appeared. Later that day, a hawk flew down in front of me, again while I was in the car, and followed me out of my housing development. Not sure what all of that meant, but I know there was a message because they definitely got my attention. Your article gave me some important insight. Thanks again for sharing this. I look forward to additional blogs on this wonderful bird!
Both times I was heading north and the two birds were flying from west to east. I was the only one in the car with 2 of my dogs in their kennels in the back. Not sure if this is vital information or not. It just came to me to include this with my original post.
Its a very trying time for me at the moment; going through more ultrasounds & mammograms…I am not so afraid of “you have so&so….here are your options” type outcome(s) or even a worse case scenereo-I have(am) lived a full life, have great kids who are at adult age now, & been married almost 28 yrs (I am in my mid 40’s) so I don’t feel ‘cheated’ if I don’t end up seeing my older (hopefully) wiser yrs…but my mind buzzes with thoughts anyway. I have enjoyed seeing many a dove, hummingbirds, bumblebees & dragonflies lately(like within arms reach in our humble backyard in a suburban neighborhood, houses side by side by side)..& have enjoyed the sunrises & sunsets..without stepping foot in a car to see it all! But- vultures, are suddenly always flying over when I am outside, or circle above me & slowly fly off. At first it seemed to me like ‘doom’ or be prepared for massive health stuff-but I realize just like the bumble bee seems like the impossible is ‘possible’ – how it can fly though it doesn’t seem like it could-vulture also (it dawned on me) may mean a death of sorts-but perhaps not physical-more death of old issues…vultures are like ants to me sort of; ants help clean up dead critters(as maggots do too), & we need all our creatures of nature to help keep life moving forward & flourishing. I am happy to have found your site/blog : ) Namaste~
I would love your insight. I have felt that the black culture is my totem for some time now. Over a year ago a large group were roosting in the frozen trees in my backyard. Maybe 15-20. I was compelled to walk amongst them in my trees. They were quietly contemplating me as I was awestruck by their majestic largeness yet they were a community. One was uncomfortable with me out there. Kept flapping it’s wings but all the rest were quiet. I had the impression it was a juvenile. It marked the onset of a healing journey for me. I would always see them when I was most ill and it would remind me to be patient. They are the death eaters thereby bringing health. I have finally gotten my health into an almost steady state of remission. I will still occasionally see ‘my vultures’ and I always feel fondly and quite honestly love for them because they helped me through my trial. In a spiritual and physical sense. Last night I dreamt of death, not mine, a stranger bring shot. It was a badge wearing guy with bad intent. He pulled his gun first and another acquaintance shot him before he could shoot any of us. Today as I was driving to my chiro aptmnt I saw a juvenile black vulture land in the street for carrion. It started to fly away just as a work truck was coming up on it. It was struck. I was devastated. I was not in a position of where I could stop…but I saw it fluttering in the median with an obvious broken wing. I tried calling several different organizations to get help for it and all refused. I even called the non-emergency police who transferred me to 911. Non-emergency police said they would likely send a policeman to shoot it. After my appointment I drove by – and it was in the lane closest to the median…expired. The vulture was bleeding from the mouth with its head tucked and wings folded. I drove by again a little later and it was gone. It was all very upsetting for me. I have prayed for it and over this. I was just wondering if you have any insight? I feel like it was some kind of message. But mostly I just feel sad. If the driver had slowed down…anyway. Thanks for reading.
My soul feels so sad that you witnessed the painful injury and death of the young vulture. I know how devastated I would feel to see it. Bless your heart!
I’m struck that you had the dream of death and then the young vulture died before you. It is not an omen of bad things but instead a sign of a strong rebirth that is coming. Let go of the sadness of the passing of the vulture and rejoice that something very good is coming. A healing, most probably of a spiritual nature, is working its way into your soul.
Thank you so much for your response. It brought me peace. I also love this post-your message about vultures. I felt a kinship when I read it. Thank you!!!
Thank you for the information you provided. Very useful! I have been seeing them on a regular basis. I know they have a strong message for me but it’s not clear yet. I feel like they are following me everywhere but today some reason they were more obvious than ever. A few of them were standing in front of my window. I didn’t get positive feelings or emotions when they were starring at me. I was wondering if you could help me to understand these birds.
Love & Light
Aaniin! Well, there can’t be a more obvious example of a spirit animal trying to get your attention! Standing in front of your window certainly means Brother Vulture has come to help you with a message. You are in a purification phase at the moment, that is why Vulture has come. You will be letting something old die away. It can be and usually is an emotional type of scar that you are going to just let go of. Sometimes it is as simple as a long time ago someone hurt your feelings and you have carried that hurt with you for a long time, suddenly you decide it really isn’t important and you refuse to feel the hurt anymore. Could be a resentment, a habit, any manner of things that are hurting your soul. Feel free to let it go because that causes a healing and allows for a rebirth or restoring of your soul to a better and healthier state. That is the basic message from this misunderstood bird, a purification process is occurring within you. Your not feeling positive when the birds were looking at you is normal…our human nature is to resist change. Your soul was feeling uncomfortable about allowing the new to enter even though it knows that it will be better, the journey might be slightly uncomfortable or painful. Your soul will catch up to the idea before your outer thoughts do. We sometimes hang on to our painful experiences in life for far too long and they almost seem like an old friend. This “friend” has been holding you back so kick it out of your thoughts and move forward. After all, not all of our friends are good for us.
I saw two committees yesterday and it really left me wondering about what it meant. Your article really struck me as I am definitely in a period of rebirth. Thank you for sharing this!!!
How interesting. I always see aniimals and different birds when I am in a crises. There has been a large buzzard in front of my window and fling close to my window. I live on a river. We have just had a death yesterday in the family. So…… This is a sign of what?
First of all, I’m sorry for your loss. I would read that last paragraph of this post again, your answer is most likely there.
So you have your Vultures Bev, and I have my Red Kites – seems to me that the messages we are both getting right now are pushing us on a similar path towards a different journey to the one we have been travelling these past few years 🙂
Kind of amazing that our two birds have flown in to give us both messages that are so similar. There is no doubt (and there was for a while) that my journey is veering off to a new direction, as is yours. Vulture just made it clear for me to go in the new direction with confidence instead of standing there scratching my head and wondering which way to go forward.