Vulture (New World)

Vulture (New World) – The Sky Sentinel

Turkey Vulture illustrated by Ravenari


Health and Ill-Health. The Harpy Manifest. The All-Seeing. Transcendent Love. Embracing Death. Decay. Wind-Rider. Soaring. Persistence. The Dark Goddess. Sun Worship. Purification. What You Do vs. How You Look. Energy Conservation.

General Description:

The vulture is a diurnal raptor that feeds primarily on carrion. There are seven species of new-world vultures, including the common turkey vulture and the two species of condor which are the largest flying birds. New-world vultures have pervious nostrils which you can see-through (they are not split down the middle) unlike old-world vultures.

They have necks and heads that are whole or partially naked, lack powerful grasping claws and have legs more specialised for walking than for killing. Their wings enable them to catch updrafts and float on thermals which they locate with ease, the size and shape of their wings restrict them from flying over the sea adeptly. On the whole, vultures do not kill their own prey. New-world vultures eat carrion, and occasionally decaying vegetable matter. Most of the noises they make usually come from hissing or air manipulation.

Brief mythological associations:

Vultures have many mythological associations across many cultures, from Greece to Egypt to West Africa to Arabia and elsewhere. They have been appropriated in worship of the following deities; Ares, Athene, Buto, Fene-Ma-So, Hathor, The Harpies, Isis, Juno, Mut, Nasr, Neith, Nekhebet, Osiris, Pallas and Saturn. In paganism they represent the Great Mother or the Dark Mother. In Egyptian times, the glyphs that represented the mother and grandmother were stylised images of the vulture.


The Vulture is a trove of lessons, all of which cannot possibly be listed here. Please remember that if this animal is contacting you, it will often be the best resource for teaching you what its lessons are. What I write is only intended to be a guide, it is not absolute, nor is it infallible.

– All new-world vultures have exceptional eyesight, and use this eyesight to spot their food, and to spot other vultures who have spotted food. In this sense they teach us to be all-seeing in our own lives. This all-seeing ability can with work, lead to prophecy as we use our ability to ‘see’ into different worlds to pull information from the past, present and future.

– Vulture comes into our lives to teach us the hard lessons of energy conservation. Are we expending too much of our own personal energy? Why aren’t we using the bounty of the earth, always given, to support ourselves? The vulture uses the wind and the sun to move through life, very rarely needing to use effort itself, and vulture teaches us that we have this ability to be supported by nature, and to master how we are mastered by energy.

– Vulture is the wind-rider comes into our lives to show us ways of negotiating problems that do not expend our personal energy and keeps us in peak condition. Vulture’s ability to manipulate the wind and sun energies to its own gain suggests that we ourselves should focus on the energies of wind and sun in our own lives.

– The vulture’s ability to locate death, nourish itself from death, and perpetuate whole life-cycles from death lets us understand the relevance of decay. The vulture teaches us to embrace and understand death, either our own, or the death of others.

– The vulture, due to its ugly appearance, bare head and dependence on decay is often likened to the mythological harpy. Indeed, it is the harpy made manifest. In this sense, the vulture also brings with the mythology of the harpy and its significance into our lives.

– Many people who encounter vulture energy are often having a tough time trying to distinguish the difference between health and ill-health, or trying to understand their own health. Vulture teaches us to see dis-ease as a path towards understanding and transcendent love, love of ourselves, of life, and of others. Vulture can also teach us that physical health does not equal spiritual growth.

– Vulture, with its connection to mother goddesses and its kinship ties with each other and its offspring, often represents transcendent love and love beyond the grave. Vulture can come into our lives to open ourselves up to this eternal well-spring of love and purity, vulture also comes into our lives to help us reach those who have passed on, or to help us reach those of the living – who we feel we can never talk to again because of a ‘dead’ relationship.

– Vulture’s connection to the Harpy, to death and decay, and to darker energies can imply a connection with the Dark Goddess. It suggests that it might be time to also look at Sun Goddesses who have dark aspects – like Sekhmet Het-hert.

If you have Vulture (New-World) as your Guide:

People with this animal as a guide will often manifest traits similar to the animal itself. I work on the philosophy that we only have one primary guide, and it teaches us lessons as well as representing the core aspects of our personality. Therefore –

– People with vulture guides and vulture medicine, who are also practical animists and psychopomps, are usually first on the scene with the Ravens, Eagle and Hawk people, shepherding lost souls home. The first shamans at the scene of the Asian tsunami (according to elders, and some other Indigenous peoples) were the vulture people, the raven people, the eagle people. These people live on the frontier of life and death, and are often very literally called to places where they can help shepherd the dead into new realms.

– People with vulture guides are often concerned with community and family health, and usually create communities of people around them, or maintain communities. They like to make sure that everyone is getting something out of a community, but vulture medicine also makes sure that they don’t ‘spread themselves too thin.’

There will be many other ways your guide manifests, and you will recognise them with awareness and communion.

As shadow guide/guide:

The shadow guide is the animal we often fear irrationally, that teaches us things about ourselves that are profound and difficult to confront. Often the traits we fear most within the shadow guide, are the traits that we dislike in ourselves. We must scrutinise why this is, and learn how to work with them.

– We might have an unhealthy fear of death and decay. Sometimes people revile vultures because of the ‘dirty’ lifestyle they lead, eating death and excreting it. Like the hyena, vultures smell terrible and constantly remind us that one day we will die.

– As a shadow guide vultures can teach us to take control of our lives and to stop giving up. Often our fear of them can come from an unwillingness to take control of our lives and choose a healthy direction for our life-paths to go.

Contacting Vulture (New-World):

Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you.

Vulture is like most animals, contacted through visualisation, drumming or gesture – some postures such as spreading ones arms out to the sun in the morning will encourage vulture energy. Vulture – depending on your region – will also come and visit you and turning within mentally during these sightings can allow you to contact Vulture energy.

Vulture is a fairly ‘accessible’ energy, which means that they often appear when we turn within to contact them. They can also be easy to understand as the energy itself seems to enjoy being shared with others to better increase community, understanding, nourishment and health. Vulture should always be offered something in return for its learnings.