It has always bothered me that these magnificent birds are called Turkey Vultures or Buzzards. It seemed a vulgar name for such a majestic being, but maybe only because I didn’t understand the beauty of vulture medicine.

I was thinking about how excited I get when I see an eagle, an owl or a hawk because they are more rare to see, but I also always gasp in reverence when I see a Turkey Vulture. They have a presence that arrests me and they are very abundant in the area where I live. I see them all the time and their beauty is never lost on me.

Today I wondered if they had another name in a different culture or language that I could use instead of Turkey Vulture. Here’s what I found out about vulture medicine.

The Cherokee call them Peace Eagles because Turkey Vulture kills nothing. Their latin name Catharsis Aura means Golden Purifier.

The job that vulture performs is a sacred service for all animal life forms. The toxins, pathogens and diseases that are possible as animals decompose and rot is substantial. The vulture was designed to clean this up and accomplishes it’s task with honor.

The vulture does what needs to be done. It cleans up, protects and is connected to the water as its guardian. To some vulture is ugly, but it rides the wind defying gravity with beauty and grace. Barley flapping a wing. Vulture teaches us that nasty jobs of great service are rewarded with great gifts.

The vulture is often looked down upon, but the vulture, in fact, looks down on you. The vulture sees all and knows what is done to the earth.

The vulture mates for life and lives in community with a communal roost at night. A system of roosts helps to ensure that the land is purified systematically. The roost is usually on a ridge that overlooks water and is normally in a spot that receives the last sun of the day, as well the first at sunrise. Each morning, the vulture clan turns to face the sun. Warming their feathers together before heading to work.

Eye contact with a vulture is easy. Just look at them and they see you.

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