Wild Turkey – Worthy adversary
Note: The qualities represented here specifically address the wild turkey, and not the domesticated turkey. I feel that domesticated turkey would warrant a different file altogether.
Cunning and agility, fierceness and courage, being able to project your voice and your truths, tenacity, gratitude, renewable resources and cultivating a spirit of growth, living in accordance with the spirits of the land, a worthy adversary, being desirable to others, using energy in small bursts effectively.
The wild turkey is among the most widely distributed game bird in North America, and has the distinction of being the heaviest galliforme (weighing up to 11kg). They have been introduced to Germany and New Zealand. The prefer conifer and hardwood forests, with openings for breeding season, such as seasonal marshes. They are large, ground-dwelling birds with a distinct fan-shaped tail, and leg spurs that can grow up to three centimeters. They are non-migratory, diurnal birds that have keen eyesight and hearing, a wary disposition and a distinctively cunning nature, as well as a fast run and flight (they can fly around 80kmh).
They are polygynous, and males attract mates by calling (making a characteristic gobbling noise which can be heard over a kilometer away) and strutting, with tail fanned out and wings lowered. Wild turkeys engage in egg dumping, which is the act of laying their eggs in other turkey or grouse nests. Hatchlings are precocial. Wild turkeys are social, and will occasionally maintain territories against other turkeys. They are omnivorous (although 80% of their diet is made up of grasses) and predated upon by many other animals; the primary predator being the human. The wild turkey is not legally protected in North America.
Lessons and Challenges:
Wild turkey teaches us about the need to cultivate skills of cunning and agility. It is important to know how to read your environment and react in a way that preserves your way of life; this involves noticing that a certain situation has the potential to get dangerous for you, and knowing how to extricate yourself from it safely – and unnoticed where possible. Wild turkey is excellent at teaching people how to avoid arguments and unnecessary confrontation, through using skills of observation, cunning and agility.
Wild turkey teaches us the value of fierceness and courage as a personality trait. Courage is about feeling frightened of something, or fearful, and still doing everything in your power to protect yourself and move through that fearful stimulus. Fierceness allows us to actively confront the things that challenge us, in the same way that a male wild turkey will actively confront other males during breeding season.
The wild turkey has a distinctive gobbling call that can be heard across great distances; this call advertises the presence of the turkey, for purposes of mating or challenge. Wild turkey teaches you how to project your voice and your truths. It is important to know when to say your message, truths or opinion; and how to say it clearly and loudly enough that other people take notice. Wild turkey can help you to learn appropriate timing for sharing your voice with others.
The tenacity of the wild turkey has allowed it to adapt and populate many areas, and despite regular hunting, thrive in large numbers. There is an innate strength and tenacity associated with wild turkey guide that can be learnt from.
A person who hunts a wild turkey generally has an immense respect for an animal that is a challenging quarry. It is not possible to hunt the wild turkey without at least having some base understanding of its behaviour and the land in which it lives. Wild turkey teaches us how to live in accordance with the spirits of the land. To understand the seasons, ecosystems and cycles around us; both in order to nourish ourselves, and in order to nourish those creatures, beings, and spirits in the land that surround us.
The wild turkey is a worthy adversary, challenging even experienced, seasoned hunters; remaining elusive to those who walk the land for peaceable reasons. The presence of wild turkey can suggest worthy adversaries in your own life. Are there people who – by their very presence – challenge you to grow, learn and expand the way you think and look at the world? Has someone come into your life who you only see in context of how uncomfortable they make you? Have you considered viewing them instead as being a worthy challenger to your own long-held views? Even wild turkey as a guide animal and/or guide can be extremely challenging, and reminds us not to stay stagnating in views that do not lead to growth.
Turkey meat is considered healthy and nourishing. Their decorative feathers are used for quills, showroom costumes, general costumery and adornment. Wild turkey is considered a worthwhile hunting quarry and is desired for its skill and the pride accomplished in successfully hunting one. Wild turkey represents being desirable for others. Either in terms of the nourishment you can give to others, or in terms of attractiveness and allure. You not only have a lot of bounty and nourishment to offer others, you may be in the presence of a great deal of bounty and nourishment for yourself. Remember to notice and honour it.
While domestic turkey generally has more to do with (I feel) the many messages and intricacies related to the concept of gratitude (and the festival of Thanksgiving); wild turkey also has many lessons to teach regarding gratitude. It is important to be grateful for the things in your life that nourish you, and gratitude and humility can be very grounding traits if you call upon them on a regular basis. Wild turkey teaches you to be grateful for what is already around you; instead of encouraging you to constantly seek new forms of nourishment. Remember to give away or share the things that nourish you from time to time, so that you may more freely receive when bounty is offered to you.
Wild turkey teaches us how to use energy in small bursts, very effectively. The wild turkey is capable of high flight and running speeds, but only in short amounts. So the wild turkey must have an excellent sense of timing, and a great sense of its own energy stores. Having both of these, it is able to out-fly and out-run many predators. Wild turkey teaches you how to use your own energy stores as effectively as possible, and how to preserve your energy when necessary. It is important to not waste your energy on something unnecessary, and leave yourself drained at crucial times in your life.
The Shadow Aspects:
If you dislike, hate or fear wild turkey, you may find that you have an inability or refusal to see anything that challenges you in a positive light. You may find the emotions you feel when you are challenged overwhelming, and choose to attack or dismiss anyone who presents a different opinion of your own. You may also find it difficult to change your mind, or adapt to new situations; even when you recognise a need to. Wild turkey challenges you to adapt and change.
Those who dislike, fear or hate wild turkey may find that they are very out of touch with the natural cycles and ecosystems around them; or even actively disrespect those cycles. Wild turkey challenges us not to underestimate the nature around us, what it is capable of, and how much we actually rely and depend upon it to live and survive.
Wild turkey as a shadow guide can caution against excessive greed and over-consumption; or using up the bounty of nature and people around you without ever giving anything back (including just a simple ‘thank you’).
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. In places where the wild turkey lives, you may find that the wild turkey seeks you out through a chance encounter. Wild turkeys are more than capable of disappearing from view, so sighting one (especially more than once) can represent the relevance of wild turkey’s lessons in your life.
For those who aren’t able to walk the land where wild turkey resides, wild turkey can be reached in visualisation and journeying. Wild turkey can be an elusive guide to find if it hasn’t reached out to you first (and even if it has!), but communion with wild turkey at any level can be very rewarding. Wild turkey can be challenging to work with, but always brings the abundance of its wisdom and knowledge with it. Wild turkey can be a very practical guide, teaching you how to bring more gratitude and energy-conservation into your everyday practices.