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Steven Farmer, author, healer and shamanic practitioner notes that animal spirits guide us by appearing repeatedly in the physical world in a short period of time or by showing up in an unusual way. Finding a crowd of vultures may not seem unusual in Florida but since I just landed from a lifetime in New York where the only vultures I knew of were on Wall Street, it sure felt that way to me.

While my niece and I were on our way to the beach we couldn’t help but notice a huge crowd of large, black birds up ahead. Being from Florida, my niece knew right away that something was dead up there. Both compelled and revolted I drove out of our way to find myself in the midst of black vultures. Thirty to forty of them.

We stayed in the car but still were able to get very close. Nothing seemed to intimidate them yet they were not menacing at all. A few seemed to be pulling apart what might have been the remains of  an armadillo. It was certainly not enough for the whole crowd yet those not involved with the slim pickings seemed unperturbed.

Most of my aversion to vultures comes from my own distorted perceptions. Vultures do get a bad rap. Probably because they eat things that are dead and decaying. Enough to turn anyone’s stomach. And to call someone a vulture implies that one is just waiting for someone to fail so they can swoop in for the kill. Not the most enlightened human behaviour.

Since this encounter with vultures seemed unusual to me I decided to probe a bit deeper. Maybe there was something to learn from these enigmatic creatures?

One thing I discovered is vultures are masters of their own energy. The greatest energy expenditure for most animals is spent on food. Tracking, hunting, killing. Vultures on the other hand feed off of what has already been killed conserving much energy in the process while providing extreme janitorial services to our ecosystem.

From the same family as the majestic condor, the indigenous counterpart to Eagle, the large wing span of vultures allows them to glide on air currents, harnessing the energy of Earth for effortless flight.

Vultures live and work together, both in cooperation and friendliness which seems to explain why there was no threatening behavior among such a large group with such little food.

I have much to learn from animals I am unaccustomed to encountering. Animals that conserve their energy. Animals that offer themselves in service in ways others find revolting. Animals that are often underappreciated. Animals that live in cooperation and friendliness. Animals that know their own worth, unaffected by others who know so little. Animals able to digest what is rotten and decayed. Yes I have much to learn here in the tropics.

This may be way more information than you care to know about vultures. Maybe you notice your own aversion to vultures just by reading this article. Or maybe there is another animal that holds a message for you.

Receive a free Animal Spirit message from Steve Farmer’s Oracle deck here.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit
www.karenchrappa.com 

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