Many of us are already in holiday mode. Planning our holiday travel route, planning our holiday meals or checking ahead to see the Black Friday sales. I’m wondering what it means to eat turkey.
Yes, I know there’s the whole pilgrim mythos, but what do turkey’s really mean? As an omnivore I eat salmon for wisdom, beef for strength, pork for creativity and chicken when I need to feel unemcumbered and clarified. I rarely eat lamb but when I do it’s usually for celebration, however small and personal. Yet turkey is a huge part of this holiday and I don’t really know what it means. I make a big ritual every year with my family focused on eating this bird. I should make an attempt to discover what it means to eat turkey.
The only info I could find regarding the spiritual or magical aspects of turkey were on sights talking about animal totems. I don’t have an animal totem since that isn’t part of my practice, but I doubt I’d be terribly honored to know I have a turkey spirit. My first thoughts of turkey are the ones we eat: domestic turkeys. Having all the sense bred out of them, they are the dumbest creatures on earth. I have had homesteaders tell me the domestic turkey will drown in the rain from staring at the sky in confusion.
Yet this is a far cry from the wild turkey. Living in the mountains of north Georgia I am well-acquainted with the ancestor of the domesticated farm turkey. Wild turkeys are smart, beautiful, social, territorial, cunning, graceful fliers and take great pride in their odd looks. I find it fascinating that males often seek and court females in pairs, without the jealously and competitiveness that marks other animals mating rituals.They aren’t migratory birds but claim territory as their own, and defend it when necessary.
We view the turkey as an animal of sacrifice, simply because we ritually sacrifice it each year. It is an act of compassion for the president to pardon the turkey each year. Yet, it’s habits teach us that the turkey is an animal that extricates itself from dangerous situations quickly. It takes no chances nor exhibits foolish bravado. Yet when necessary, turkeys are fierce and courageous fighters.
Turkeys also have the ability to project their voices over long distances and to make a variety of noises besides the well-known gobble. It has various ways of communicating and making certain it is heard. That alone is a useful trait to learn.
Turkey meat is pretty healthy. It’s low in fat, high in protein and is a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. The feathers are beautiful and prized both for spiritual use and for fashion. So it’s a desirable bird. It’s also an abundant bird, making it’s habitat all over North America.
So yeah, there are magical and spiritual implications to eating turkey, and it’s worthwhile to remember that. Do you need to learn when to pick your battles? Do you need to learn to use your voice more effectively? Do you want to be more desirable in all ways? Maybe you should meditate on and, if you’re carnivorous, eat turkey.
Just remember, the turkey is a noble creature and deserves respect. So baste that bird! No one finds dry turkey very inspirational!