by Soul Places | Diane Ludeking
It’s International Vulture Awareness Day (September 1, 2012)! Up until a few months ago, I never gave Vulture much thought, although I see them more since moving to NE Iowa ten months ago. The bluffs offer protection, plenty of food and community for them.
What changed my mind was an intense encounter with Vulture a few months ago.
I had wandered through the woods in search of a spring and stream, but instead entered the lair of about eight vultures who quickly took flight only twenty feet above me. I heard them first. The sound of a few small breaking twigs met my ears as their wings brushed through the heavily wooded area they called home base. I froze. My eyes went instinctually from the task of picking a way through the dense forest floor to the trees above and before me.
And then I felt the air around me pulse as their wings displaced it with the effort of flight. Vulture’s magnificent presence reached me in waves. I felt a vibration run through me, raising hairs on my arms and lowering my temperature as my blood fell to my feet. A chill went through me. I opened my mouth, but my exclamation was silent.
Once I no longer heard them and was no longer frozen by the grips of their trance, I continued forward. I found the stream bed, bone dry in this summer’s drought. I walked over the chalky white stones in my barefoot shoes, imagining cold spring water rushing about my ankles. Dark brown feathers were scattered haphazardly about, covered in scat. That is when I noticed the white stones had been baptized by Vulture. I paused just then to take in the magnitude of life here.
Their dark feathers every few feet also accentuated the fragile grey bones strewn about. I felt like a trespasser.
Sacred things happened here, past and present. I bowed to the unknown and then lifted my eyes to take in the shear rock cliff to my right, hidden behind ancient trees. A large opening in the cliff drew me in. I heard a faint drip from within and below the back wall of the cave. The drips spaced too far apart were the only evidence of a struggling spring.
I left that place reluctantly.
When I got home, I reached for Animal Speak by Ted Andrews to read about the vulture. Vulture is more brilliant that I ever imagined. I recommend the book if you don’t have it as what I’m about to share about Vulture is what resonated with me. Vulture may speak differently to you, but this is what I found most profound (paraphrasing):
- Vulture can soar for hours in the thermals, assisting those with this totem to work with energy and auras. It demonstrates how to use little to no energy while soaring.
- Vulture has one of the most important ecological roles because it consumes dead carcasses and “recycles” potential disease into one of the most potent anti-bacterial solutions in nature – its excrement! It reminds me of purification and renewal.
- It’s circling patterns in the sky remind me of patterns in my life and in the earth’s life. It reminds me to be effortless in exploring my own patterns and allow nature to do the same.
- Vulture is often misunderstood. It reminds me to remain true to myself and my gifts. I am more important than I know. I have impact just as I am.
I wish I had the book with me to share more, but alas, the intrigued seeker will find. Please share your thoughts in the comments – I yearn for your words.
Go forth and resonate with Vulture in your own way today and everyday.