Vulture Medicine – Celebrating the Dirty Work

    by Nandi Hetenyi

    On a dark moon day, I was walking along a trail and heard this giant swooshing sound, looked up and saw this huge, majestic bird fly up from the creek bed and into a tree about 30 feet away from me.

    A turkey vulture.

    Just sitting there in the tree, looking at me.

    It took my breath away. It felt important, but I’d always written off these birds in some way.

    Their medicine is potent for our times of deep change and potent invitations into the fullness of our own power embodying both the light and the dark in our ever expanding hearts.

    Turkey vultures literally digest death; they transform what has been left behind into food. Not only that, they are the only species who’s excrements are free of disease.

    They do not kill anything, rather they feed off of what has been left behind.

    They share. They live in community.

    They inform their band o’ friends of the feast and they gather.

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    If there is more than enough to go around, they invite in other bands of vultures, even inform condors and other birds that there is a feast available.

    There is no competition.

    Since they do not kill, they are gentle in their nature, more so than other species.

    They are not hunted so they also do not know fear, they are fearless creatures bridging heaven and earth without harming.

    They are a symbol of spiritual composting.

    Known as the golden purifiers, they are a symbol of purification, death and rebirth. Transforming what is considered worthy of being cast aside into nourishment. They contribute greatly to the maintenance of eco-systems.

    When they fly, they use very little of their own energy and soar for hours and hours, knowing how to harness the elements of the wind to travel far distances.

    They are not afraid of doing the dirty work.

    As eclipse season has passed, we must never think we are off the ride of evolving; dying and shedding skin, rebirthing ourselves newer and newer each day.

    This is actually the newness we crave, the newness of feeling the truth of who we are sparkle through our skin more and more each day. This is a time of great purification.

    Where are you afraid of doing dirty work in your life?

    In your heart?

    What aspects of yourself have you cast aside, deeming unworthy, that is actually the fuel that will bring brighter sparkle to your soul?

    What’s been punished and abused in your inner world, made wrong for being, that is ready to be loved, reclaimed and honored?

    What cycles need tending to in life?

    This is not about perfection, but remaining engaged in cycles we would rather drop.

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    Turkey vulture shows us the value of this kind of inner and outer work.

    It’s not surprising that these qualities are not valued in our society so why would we uphold this spirit animal as something to celebrate?

    Will you celebrate with me? This is a year of becoming. Let’s roll up our sleeves and not be afraid of the dirty work.

    There are energies waiting to hold us up as we soar.



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    About the Author:

    Dr. Nandi Hetenyi is a shamanic healer, grief midwife, writer, teacher and soul whisperer. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from CIIS in addition to spending over 15 years studying and practicing Buddhism, yoga, meditation, shamanic journey, ritual, energy healing and personal growth. She envisions a world where we feel comfortable in our own skins and are happy about being a human. You can follow Dr. Hetenyi on Instagram and find out more about her work on her website,


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