Before I go on, let me add a little disclaimer. First, every time you see a wild animal it is not necessarily a sign. It’s when the animal seems to be doing something unusual. This vulture was close to me. My dog was dancing around my feet barking, and the bird kept looking at me as I grabbed my old-style camcorder and got the footage. I really need to get that off VHS and digitized so I can share it. It’s amazing. I’d seen lots of these birds over the years. Taken lots of pictures. This time just felt different.
Also, it’s important when you observe the animal to take note of the context, what else has been going on. A bunch of unusual sightings one after another should be interpreted together, the way you would read a row of cards in a tarot spread, each card influencing the interpretation of the one that came before and the one that comes after.
Okay, moving on. In the past week, I’ve been having a series of interesting and unusual animal encounters. First, I’ve been encountering snakes, everywhere. Then we had a newborn fawn wander into the front lawn, only feet from the house, and snuggle down for an afternoon nap. He walked within arm’s length of Dozer (our 203 pound mastiff) who was napping nearby and didn’t even notice. The fawn spent hours there, and we left it alone, and in the morning he was gone. His mother had come to fetch him during the night, as we had expected she would. Now I see a lot of deer, big and small, and newly born, all the time here. But not four feet from the front porch.
The next day, I started having vulture encounters. First, I was driving along singing a song I hadn’t heard in years, John Denver’s I AM THE EAGLE. Let me take a brief pause here to show you the song on Youtube. (That’s not John Denver you see lip synching, but I LOVE what he did with this video. View it in full screen. This is a powerful bit of magic, this song, all by itself.)
I had no idea why, but the song popped into my head and I was singing my brains out as I drove to my daughter Jena’s house. I turned a corner and there were five vultures (you always see them in odd numbers, almost never even) circling close and low. Not so unusual, but since I love the birds and they were WAY closer than I often see them, I pulled over and got out to observe for a few minutes. BTW, one Native American name for the Turkey Vulture was “Brown Eagle.” They are raptors, just as are Eagles and Hawks.
Later that day, on the way home, when I turned onto my road, a huge Vulture swept out in front of my car, and I had to hit the brakes to avoid hitting it. It swooped from right to left across the hood, looped back, again, and then it was gone.
Later that night, on another trip, heading out to pick up a pizza, it happened again. This time the vulture swooped from straight above, arrowing down and swooping up again, right in front of my windshield, again making me hit the brakes and gasp. “Okay, okay, you have my attention!”
The next morning, on our dog walk, I found a fully intact snake skin on the ground right in front of me. I nearly stepped on it.
Lance also found a redwinged blackbird feather that day, and gave it to me, but I’m kind of setting that aside, since I didn’t find it myself. However, it did come to me, so maybe it bears consideration as well.
Taking all the signs together, the vultures are guardians of the gates between this world and the next. They represent death and rebirth, but many other things as well, including transformation, shedding the perceived limitations of being physical and doing what used to seem impossible. Soaring (they go for hours on thermals without flapping a wing) without effort. And transmuting negatives into positives, purifying.
Given the snakes and the snake skin, so highly symbolic of transformation, rebirth, recreating oneself, (and many other things, but these are the main ones that jive with vulture’s symbolism) I can see that this is about a new phase in my life, a drastic change, a remake, a new cycle. Taking the fawn into account assures me that it’s not a death, but a birth, a beginning. Fawns represent youth, spring, new starts, freshness, innocence and a call to adventure.
Even the blackbird feather fits, with its ties to the creative forces of nature.
Vultures represent the number 3 and 3 month cycles. (It’s three months almost precisely to the day until the first book of my new series, THE PORTAL, releases. Coincidence? Nah!) Blackbird and Vulture are both linked to Binah, the 3rd sphere on the Qabala or Tree of Life. Another 3. Binah is the realm of dark goddesses of death and rebirth. I saw 7 vultures altogether. The 7th sphere on the Tree of Life is the realm of the muses, of creativity, and goddesses of love and romance.
So I’m thinking this almost has to have something to do with the witch series about to release, and my creativity as a whole. I can hardly wait to see what.
My go-to book for animal symbolism is Animal Speak by Ted Andrews. I refer to this volume almost every day.