Lo, A Turkey Cometh!

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!

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • http://aediculaantinoi.wordpress.com/ P. Suf. Viri. Lup.

    And remember: Benjamin Franklin (if I recall correctly) was the one to suggest back in the late eighteenth century that the turkey be the national bird of the United States. So, in a way, it’s sort of the “shadow totem” of the entire country! ;)

    Given that’s the case, though, I think the fact that the farm-bred domestic turkey, with all of its excesses of commercialism and the pervasive American convenience-oriented lifestyle also has an interesting way of working its way into general American life on Thanksgiving: on a day devoted more to gluttony than actual “giving of thanks” (which is, incidentally, what the Greek root of “eucharist” means), people eating such turkeys and overindulging generally end up having that overload of tryptophan that leads to tiredness, sluggishness, and sloth…yet further reasons to be apathetic and even ignorant about life in general, amongst other things, alas.

    I can’t say Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays…

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  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

    Sufenas, the only reason I like Thanksgiving is it’s the only time my family gathers other than Christmas. I hate Christmas, the whole Christmas season! Now please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason. It could be that my shoes are too tight. Or perhaps that my head isn’t screwed on quite right. Oh but I think the likeliest reason of all could be that my patience is two sizes too small. Whatever the reason, my patience or shoes I spend Christmas Eve hating the Whos….

    Thank goodness for Yule! Such a different vibe!

  • Kerry W.

    I love Thanksgiving for being about celebration rather than about the exchange of gifts and all the weirdness that can entail — and also because it is an American holiday, and so feels more inclusive than the increasingly divisive Christmas.

    But who knows? I’m planning to attend my first Yule celebrations this year. Maybe that will become my favorite.

  • http://aediculaantinoi.wordpress.com/ P. Suf. Viri. Lup.

    Star–if you are to be the Grinch that steals this next Christmas, I’ll happily allow you to tie antlers to my head so I can be your helpful hound pulling the sleigh with all of the toys! My distaste for that holiday only grows…on the other hand, my joy over Yule, and Saturnalia, and the feast of Antinous Epiphanes, and Solstice, only grows with each year. Much better holidays, characterized by their very good sense of taste and tastefulness without excessiveness! ;)

  • http://profiles.google.com/privateharun harun ergun

    I spent a wonderful 2 days tour in Gallipoli Troy by TTG Travel. Everything was well organized. It was really worth the visit since we visited almost all historical places. Turkey Travel Group is really professional http://www.toursingallipoli.com my Turkey trip was great. I love Turkey – especially Istanbul and Troy – It is a wonderful place with wonderful people. I had a great stay in Istanbul and Gallipoli. I was given a nice room by the hotel and people were very polite at the front desk and they were smiling all the time so i felt fine.

  • http://profiles.google.com/privateharun harun ergun

    I spent a wonderful 2 days tour in Gallipoli Troy by TTG Travel. Everything was well organized. It was really worth the visit since we visited almost all historical places. Turkey Travel Group is really professional http://www.toursingallipoli.com my Turkey trip was great. I love Turkey – especially Istanbul and Troy – It is a wonderful place with wonderful people. I had a great stay in Istanbul and Gallipoli. I was given a nice room by the hotel and people were very polite at the front desk and they were smiling all the time so i felt fine.


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