Wednesday, November 24, 2010


While in the beginning stage of formulating what would become a letter for the November issue of The Voice, a good friend suggested writing about turkey medicine. That’s not what the letter ended up being about, but after digging into it, I found the subject really fascinating, so thought I’d share it with you now, in time (just barely) for Thanksgiving ~~

(Most of this was lifted from Jaime Sams work and other websites about Wild Turkey Medicine)

KEY WORDS – cunning and agility, fierceness and courage, being able to project your voice and your truths, tenacity, gratitude, renewable resources and cultivating a spirit of growth, living in accordance with the spirits of the land, a worthy adversary, being desirable to others, effective use of energy.

LESSONS – The tenacity of the wild turkey has allowed it to adapt and populate many areas, and despite regular hunting, thrive in large numbers. There is an innate strength and tenacity associated with wild turkey totem that can be learnt from.

A person who hunts wild turkey generally has an immense respect for this challenging quarry. It is not possible to hunt wild turkey without at least having some understanding of its behavior and the land in which it lives. Wild turkey teaches us how to live in accordance with the spirits of the land. To understand the seasons, ecosystems and cycles around us, both in order to nourish ourselves, and nourish those creatures, beings, and spirits in the landscapte (whatever it might be) around us.

The wild turkey is a worthy adversary, challenging even seasoned hunters. The presence of wild turkey can suggest worthy adversaries in your own life. Are there people who - by their very presence - challenge you to grow, learn and expand the way you think and look at the world? Has someone come into your life who you only see in context of how uncomfortable they make you? Have you considered viewing them instead as being a worthy challenger to your own long-held views? Even wild turkey as a totem animal and/or guide can be extremely challenging, and reminds us not to stay stagnating in views that do not lead to growth.

Wild turkey teaches gratefulness for what is already around you; instead of encouraging you to constantly seek new forms of nourishment. Remember to give away or share the things that nourish you from time to time, so that you may more freely receive when bounty is offered to you.

Wild turkeys make effective us of small bursts of energy. It’s capable of high flight and running speeds, but only in short amounts, which requires an excellent sense of energy stores and great timing. Having both of these, wild turkey is able to out-fly and outrun many predators, a teaching in how to use your energy as effectively as possible, preserving energy when necessary so as not to leave yourself drained at crucial times in your life.

Wild turkey challenges us not to underestimate the nature around us, what it is capable of, and how much we actually rely and depend upon it to live and survive. Wild turkey as a shadow totem can caution against excessive greed and over-consumption; or using up the bounty of nature and people around you without ever giving anything back.

Like all animal helpers, wild turkey appears only when appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit or share messages with you. In nature wild turkey may seek you out through a chance encounter. Since wild turkeys are more than capable of disappearing from view, sighting one can represent the relevance of their lessons in your life. If you’re not able to walk the land where wild turkey resides, it can be reached in visualization and journeying. Wild turkey can be an elusive totem to find if it hasn’t reached out to you first, but communion with wild turkey at any level can be very rewarding.

Wild turkey teaches us about the need to cultivate skills of cunning and agility. It is important to know how to read your environment and how to avoid arguments and unnecessary confrontation, through using skills of observation, cunning and agility.

Wild turkey teaches us the value of fierceness and courage as a personality trait. Courage is about feeling frightened of something, or fearful, and still doing everything in your power to protect yourself and move through that fearful stimulus. Fierceness allows us to actively confront the things that challenge us, in the same way that a male wild turkey will actively confront other males during breeding season.

The wild turkey has a distinctive gobbling that can be heard across great distances. This quality can teach us how to project our voice and our truths. It is important to know when to say your message, truths or opinion; and how to say it clearly and loudly enough that other people take notice. Wild turkey can help you to learn appropriate timing for sharing your voice with others.

Turkey is the symbol of the Mother Earth and her abundant harvest. All of Earth’s blessings and the ability to use them to their greatest advantage are part of turkey’s teachings. The Turkey is also a symbol of sacrifice. In Turkey’s death, we have our life. This reminds us to act and react on behalf of others. Act not out of some sense of self-righteousness or religious guilt, but out of the realization that all life is sacred.

When the turkey visits us, it’s a sign that we must be mindful of the blessings bestowed upon us each day. Further, it is a message to express our strength and brilliance – it’s time to show our own plumage and reveal true selves. Wild turkey can be challenging to work with, but always brings the abundance of its wisdom and knowledge with it.

HISTORY and CHARACTERISTICS - Turkeys have been a symbol of thanksgiving and abundance long before the Pilgrim’s "first meal" in 1621 with the Northern Native Americans. First Peoples view the turkey as both a symbol of abundance and fertility. Indeed, the turkey was the guest of honor (sacrificial, that is) in various fertility and gratitude ceremonies. The Creek tribes still practice the turkey dance during their annual fire festivals. The feathers of turkeys are also used in ritual. Aztecs, Mayans and Toltecs viewed the turkey as a "jeweled bird" and also referred to it as the "Great Xolotl" Male turkeys were honored for its beauty and essence of cocky pride. Turkeys are at their peak of power in the autumn months. As fall season animals, turkeys are symbolic of harvest, new beginnings, cycles and preparation.

The Turkey is linked to the third eye, the seat of feminine energies within, and the center for higher vision. Turkey is also the symbol of Mother Earth and her abundant harvest.

Wild turkey is telling you that you have much to be thankful for, even if you can’t see it at the moment. Life is a wonderful gift and the world is full of abundance. And not only do we receive, we can also give back. What are you giving back? How are you helping replenish what has been given to you? Turkey is asking you to be aware of the needs of others. Generosity sent out will be generosity returned. Genuine gratitude and giving open the door for good to enter.

All of Earth’s blessings and the ability to use them to their greatest advantage are part of Turkey’s teachings. ~~ Enjoy ~~ And a beautiful Thanksgiving from all of us at Astara

Posted by Pam Rau at 10:06 AM