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A Spirit Message From Turkey

a wild turkey with red wattle
A young male wild turkey

This morning, not far into my drive to work, I spotted a wild turkey in the ditch just ahead. I slowed down, in case she decided to cross in front of me. As I reached her position she ran down the ditch and began to fly just a few feet from the ground, parallel to my car. She then crossed in front of me and continued to fly just ahead on the passenger’s side. A red tailed hawk joined, flying just above her. After just a few yards, the hawk changed path and veered off over the field to the north. As it did the turkey descended to a position directly in front of and about 20 yards ahead of my car,  still flying just a few feet off the ground. She flew this way for a while longer before turning suddenly to the South and disappearing into the woods. 


I believe that animals can be messengers but when you live in the country, wildlife sightings are common. I once asked a friend who does spirit animal readings how to know when an animal is a messenger and when it’s just local wildlife going about its business. She advised that, besides trusting your gut feelings, the best way to know is to ask yourself if the animal is behaving unusually or if it’s behavior and presence would be considered normal. For example, I see wild turkeys frequently. It is perfectly normal to see a flock in the ditch, in a field, or on the edge of the woods. I usually don’t think anything of it.


Today felt different. 


It’s been an unusual week, busier than usual with lots of shifts and last minute schedule changes. I also had an energy healing session with a wonderful healer yesterday that moved some energy and heightened my awareness and feeling of “connection”.


There were many things about this particular turkey sighting that were out of the ordinary and lead me to view her as a messenger:


  • My attention was immediately drawn to her. A brown colored bird standing in a deep ditch of dried grasses is well camouflaged, yet my eyes went right to her as soon as she was in my field of view. 

  • She was alone. Turkeys normally travel in flocks.

  • Wild turkeys can fly, sort of, but they typically travel by foot, flying only short distances. She flew further than I’ve ever seen a turkey fly, about a half mile.

  • Normal behavior would mean running or flying away from my vehicle. I was driving on a quiet country road - woods on one side and open fields on the other. She could have moved away from my  vehicle at any time.

  • The sudden appearance, and disappearance, of the hawk was definitely something I haven’t witnessed before. It didn’t interact with the turkey, just fly above it for a bit, then left. It was almost like the hawk swooped in to make sure I noticed the turkey, then left. 


Many cultures and traditions have beliefs about the spiritual meaning of turkeys. Because wild turkeys are native to the area, I lean towards the local indigenous beliefs. Normally I would look to my own heritage but my Viking ancestors probably didn’t learn about turkeys until they landed in North America. They aren’t part of our stories.


According to the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary the Ojibwe words for wild turkey are “gichi-bine”. In this tradition, the turkey reminds us to connect to nature and honor the land. Even more, it tells us that the land is our source of nourishment and abundance, and the foundation of our well-being. It can be a reminder to practice self-care and to nourish your body, mind, and spirit. 


Some sources say that in the springtime, as it is now, a single turkey might signify the beginning of a new journey of abundance. 



a path through the woods lined with tall trees and sunlight shining through



It’s taken me a few days to write and edit this piece. In that time I have had more unusual turkey encounters:


  • On my way home the same day, in a different part of my drive home, I spotted the largest male turkey I have ever seen standing alone in a field near the road.


  • This morning as I poured my second cup of coffee I looked out the kitchen window and watched a turkey walk right through the middle of my front yard. It’s not unusual for us to see turkeys on our property but we usually see them in the pastures or in the woods, occasionally in the back yard which adjoins the fields. It is very unusual for any of the local wildlife to come into the front yard.


  • Tonight I went out to do evening chores and heard the distinct “gobbling” call of a wild turkey coming from the woods. In ten years here, this is the first time I’ve heard a turkey call.


It is clear to me that there is a spirit message from turkey, reminding me of the healing power of nature and the need to pay attention to how I am nourishing my mind, body, and spirit. Maybe I’ll also discover that I’m at the beginning of a journey of abundance as well. How exciting!


Pay attention to your surroundings, especially the animals. They may have important messages to share with you!

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