4 Spiritual meaning of turkeys (2023)

Turkeys are perhaps best known as the centerpiece of a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. But these fancy birds have so much more to offer! Some people believe they can convey a spiritual message. So what could this be?

We want to find out! We will examine how turkeys have been used as symbols by different cultures over the centuries. And we've examined how you can tell if your own encounter with a turkey may have deeper meaning.

So read on if you're ready to learn more!

4 Spiritual meaning of turkeys (1)


  • the history of turkey
  • The importance of turkeys in ancient cultures
  • Turkey as a symbol
    • 1. Community
    • 2. Abundance
    • 3. Harmony with nature
    • 4. Fertility and femininity
  • Did your encounter with a turkey have a deeper meaning?
  • The turkey as a power animal
  • Seeing a turkey crossing your path means
  • See the meaning of a turkey feather
  • Understanding the Spiritual Meaning of Turkeys

the history of turkey

The modern turkey is largely a domesticated bird, although some subspecies also live in the wild.

It seems to have been domesticated in two different places at the same time.

One is the ancient Native Americans who lived in the American Southwest, in the region known as the Four Corners. The tribe is known as the Ancestral Puebloans, or sometimes by the Navajo name "Anasazi". The second instance of turkey domestication comes from the Aztecs of southern Mexico.

Over time, the turkey seems to have become an important bird in both cultures. But although today they are seen primarily as a source of food, their importance to ancient cultures was quite different.

The researchers studied turkey remains in Mesoamerica (the area spanning modern Costa Rica to central Mexico). They looked to the period from 300 B.C. up to 1500 AD

While there is some evidence of turkeys being eaten, surprisingly most birds seem to have met a different fate. They were buried alongside people in tombs or in temples.

Perhaps they were considered suitable companions for the afterlife. Or perhaps they were boiled and intended to provide a food source for the underworld. Whatever the explanation, they seem to have a special status.

This impression is confirmed when you see how turkeys are depicted in sculptures and paintings from this period. These usually featured turkeys as gods, and turkeys were also used to symbolize periods in the calendar.

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It seems that turkeys were the first animals to be domesticated in this part of South America, exceptdogs. But its value seems to have been mainly symbolic and ritual.

The importance of turkeys in ancient cultures

The turkey had a high status in different cultures.

The Aztec codex, an ancient document, featured the turkey alongside other important deities and ceremonies. And the Toltecs, who lived in central Mexico between the 10th and 12th centuries, called it the "jewel bird".

The turkey was also adored by the Mayans. One of the Mayan kings had a royal nickname that included "turkey". ANDthe birdsoften portrayed as gods.

The Mayans believed that the turkey had special powers and was a bird that needed to be handled with care. Their ownership was limited to the rich and powerful.

Turkeys are featured in some Mayan artworks that are sacrificed in New Year's ceremonies. It is believed that they were offerings to ensure that the coming year would be fruitful. And they may have been seen as messengers of the gods.

Turkey as a symbol

4 Spiritual meaning of turkeys (2)

Therefore, the turkey is a bird with a worthy history. But what does a turkey mean to us today?

The possible spiritual meanings of an encounter with a turkey are many. Let's examine some of the different interpretations that might be behind your own meeting.

1. Community

Some people believe that the turkey's modern associations with Thanksgiving and Christmas are more relevant to its modern symbolism.

That's not to say that every Thanksgiving meal has to include turkey. More and more people today are giving up meat altogether. Still, the turkey remains connected to the sense of community that is reflected in eating together.

So when you see a turkey, it can be a wake-up call to think about your place in a community. They aredo you drawto the help and support of those around you when you need it? And do you offer this help to others?

2. Abundance

A turkey is a big, fancy bird. And its association with Thanksgiving means it can also be a sign of abundance and blessings.

The appearance of a turkey can be a message to start thinking about the positive things in your life. No matter how difficult things might be, what could you be grateful for?

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Sometimes it can be surprising to remember just how much we have to be thankful for. The turkey is a reminder to find joy where we find it in life and to count our blessings.

It can also be an invitation to reflect on whether we are making the most of our gifts. Do we take the time to appreciate what we already have? And what do we need to do to ensure that we continue to enjoy these gifts?

3. Harmony with nature

Turkeys are also often interpreted as a message of the importance of living in harmony with the natural world. Seeing a turkey can be a sign that you are in touch with the people around you. Or it could be a warning to slow down and take notice of your surroundings.

A turkey is unusual as a bird as we usually see them on the ground. Wild turkeys can fly quickly over short distances. But domesticated birds often get too fat to take off.

Turkeys are often seen as a symbol of house arrest. In other words, they can reflect your self-awareness and understanding of your place in the world.

4. Fertility and femininity

The turkey is considered a connection to feminine energies. And along with its associations with abundance, it can also convey fertility-related messages.

Seeing a turkey can be a very positive sign if you want to start a family.

And it can also reflect love and support from those around you, especially from the women in your life. It could be a family member, for example a mother or a sister. Or it could be a friend, colleague, or teacher.

Did your encounter with a turkey have a deeper meaning?

As we've seen, turkeys are associated with a number of different spiritual meanings. But how do you know if your turkey sighting had a message attached to it?

Unfortunately, this is not a question with easy answers. In fact, you are the only person who can answer this!

That's because your personal reaction to the encounter is the best indicator of whether it contains a message. And it will also be the key to unlocking what this message is.

First, it's important to think about how the experience of seeing the turkey made you feel. Did you feel any kind of connection with the bird? Or maybe you felt an unexpected emotion? Did the encounter make you feel happy or full of energy? Or did you feel left and calm?

Many people who encounter what they believe to be a power animal report an immediate sense of resonance and relatedness. They can't put into words why they think the date is meaningful - they just know it is.

The circumstances of the encounter may also hold clues. If the turkey shows up somewhere you wouldn't expect it, that could mean it's more likely to matter.

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The same applies to meeting frequency. Some people think that once they see a turkey - then turkeys seem to be everywhere!

This doesn't necessarily mean you can see the birds up close. You might also find a picture in a magazine or see a turkey on TV. They might even be propped up against a pillow embroidered with a turkey!

These repeated sightings could be an indication that the turkey is carrying a message. And some people think they're implying that the turkey can be yoursanimal spirit.

But what does it mean?

The turkey as a power animal

4 Spiritual meaning of turkeys (3)

Having a specific creature as a spirit animal could indicate that you share traits with that animal. This sense of connection can help you gain insights into your spiritual self.

If you have a turkey as your soul animal, chances are you are confident and authoritative. You're the kind of person who makes an impression as soon as you walk into a room.

You also have a distinct voice and others tend to listen to what you have to say.

Your relationships with others are strengthened by your willingness to give of yourself. They are very welcoming to those in need and will do anything to help.

It also means you're ready to challenge when necessary - especially to protect those you believe are threatened.

And you always try to do the right thing, even when it's hard or scary. Your moral courage means that you overcome your fears to take whatever action you feel is necessary.

But there are also some less positive traits that can be associated with turkey.

When that bird is your soul animal, your willingness to speak your mind can turn into ostentation. And sometimes the awareness of your own strengths can lead you to arrogance or condescension.

You pursue your goals too directly. This ability to focus on what you want can be very effective. But sometimes it can also mean that you risk forgetting the impact it has on other people.

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We all have personal strengths and areas we need to focus on in our spiritual development. Those with a turkey spirit animal are no exception.

Seeing the bird can be a validation of your personal power. And it can also serve as a gentle reminder to remember others affected by your actions.

Seeing a turkey repeatedly can not only reflect your own qualities, but also signify that the bird is a spiritual guide. If so, you may find that he appears at times when you most need advice or support.

The turkey can convey messages that can help you see your situation from a new perspective. Or maybe it reminds you of your own inner resources. When you become aware of these strengths, you can draw on them to overcome whatever problem you are facing.

Seeing a turkey crossing your path means

The spiritual message behind your turkey encounter can be affected by where it happened.

If you've actually found the turkey, it could be a sign that the message is particularly important. The turkey appeared somewhere impossible to miss. It's the equivalent of the universe writing you a message in capital letters and red pen!

Some people also believe that the appearance of the turkey on the way forward has temporal significance.

If the turkey was right in front of you, the message could relate to hours or days to come. But if it were further away, its meaning could refer to events farther in the future.

This can be helpful if you have trouble understanding a message's relevance to your current situation. It may not be clear for a while.

See the meaning of a turkey feather

We have already talked about how you can see a turkey in a photograph or on TV, and not in the flesh. But your date could also be simply seeing a turkey feather.

In this case, the range of meaning is the same as seeing the turkey itself, but here the message is a little more subtle. Think of it as a gentle warning or reminder rather than an urgent call to action.

Take time to ponder the meaning and you'll find insights to guide you along the way.

Understanding the Spiritual Meaning of Turkeys

We hope you enjoyed learning about the various spiritual meanings of turkeys. This distinctive bird can convey messages of abundance, fertility, feminine energy, community and harmony with nature.

Thinking about your own experiences and feelings will help you find the right interpretation. We hope you gain new insights as you unravel the meaning of the turkey.

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Good luck with the next steps on your spiritual journey.

Don't forget to tag us

4 Spiritual meaning of turkeys (4)


What do turkeys mean spiritually? ›

Turkeys are generally seen as good omens, representing abundance, fertility, and nourishment. They can also indicate a time of new beginnings or opportunities. If you have the turkey as your spirit animal, you can consider yourself lucky.

What is the symbolic animal of turkey? ›

The official national animal of Turkey is the Gray Wolf. Its scientific name is Canis lupus. Grey wolves fit the Turks very well.

What does a turkey symbolize in Native American? ›

The Akimel O'odham (Pima) people consider the turkey a rain spirit, and have folk beliefs about turkeys being able to predict the weather. Turkeys are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures.

What is the meaning of turkey bird? ›

turkey noun (BIRD)

B1 [ C ] a large bird grown for its meat on farms: a wild turkey.

What god is associated with turkeys? ›

In Aztec mythology, Chalchiuhtotolin (/tʃɑːltʃuːtoʊtoʊlin/; Nahuatl for "Jade Turkey") was a god of disease and plague. Chalchihuihtotolin, the Jewelled Fowl, Tezcatlipoca's nahual.

What is special about turkeys? ›

Turkeys are intelligent and sensitive animals that are highly social. They create lasting social bonds with each other and are very affectionate; rather similar to dogs. Turkeys have the ability to learn the precise details of an area over 1,000 acres in size.

What is the spiritual meaning of turkey feather? ›

A turkey is a symbol of the wildness of the Earth, the earth is a wilderness that man can never control. A feather from a turkey symbolizes abundance, pride and fertility.

What was turkey called in biblical times? ›

It's true that the New Testament in the Bible began with Christ and his apostles on the day of Pentecost A.D. 33 and the Bible was in Greek.

Are turkeys sacred? ›

Still, the turkey never lost its spiritual significance in Puebloan societies, scholars note. To this day, the bird carries symbolic value among tribes linked to those early Native Americans, and turkey feathers remain important in many ritual practices.

What does turkey mean in Cherokee? ›

Deer and turkey were the favorite game animals of the Cherokees. They knew the turkey as “gvna” (or sometimes “duleji”), which means “kernels” — a reference to the bird's red throat appendage that has a kernel-like texture.

Why were turkeys Worshipped like gods? ›

Mayans Worshiping Turkeys

To the Mayans, turkeys were seen as exceptionally powerful, with the ability to work their charms at night and in dreams. The birds were indicative of great personal power and wealth, and were often owned to show societal prominence.

What does it mean when you see a lone turkey? ›

Your lone turkey could be one of those guys. The bachelor toms will eventually be welcomed back by the females and their broods, once the mating season is over. It might also be a younger turkey that has become separated from its flock and is calling out to its mother and friends.

Is the turkey considered a sacrificial bird? ›

"For the Maya, turkeys were quintessential animals for feasting and for sacrificial offerings,” writes University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee art historian Andrea Stone.

What does the colors of turkey mean? ›

According to legend, the two colors (red and white) are from the blood spilled by soldiers as the country was battling to establish itself during the independence war. They were fighting against colonial powers like England, France, Russia, and Greece. The war took the lives of over 40,000 Turkish soldiers.

Is a turkey a smart bird? ›

They are incredibly curious and inquisitive animals who enjoy exploring. Turkeys are highly intelligent animals who, just like the dogs and cats in our homes, are playful individuals with unique personalities. Turkeys form strong social bonds and show affection towards one another.

Are turkeys a good omen? ›

Dreaming of Turkeys is an omen of growth and abundance. Use your gains wisely. A Turkey looking away from you in the dream may mean that you are not thinking clearly and acting imprudently. A Turkey walking in your dream and taking a sudden turn means that change is coming.

Are turkeys in the Bible? ›

HELLER: No. Turkey was not covered in the Bible.

Who is the goddess of turkey? ›

Ak Ana, is the primordial creator-goddess of Turkic people. She is also known as the goddess of the water.

What are 3 attributes of a turkey? ›

Turkeys are dark overall with a bronze-green iridescence to most of their plumage. Their wings are dark, boldly barred with white. Their rump and tail feathers are broadly tipped with rusty or white. The bare skin of the head and neck varies from red to blue to gray.

What are 4 facts about turkeys? ›

10 Interesting Facts About Turkeys
  • Only male turkeys gobble. ...
  • Wild turkeys can fly. ...
  • Wild turkeys sleep in trees. ...
  • They can change colors. ...
  • Their poop determines if they're male or female. ...
  • Benjamin Franklin preferred the turkey to the bald eagle. ...
  • Turkeys can see better than humans. ...
  • Presidential pardons for turkeys started in 1989.
Mar 24, 2022

What is the spiritual meaning of a turkey vulture? ›

Vultures teach us the value of patience. In their world, there is no need to rush their choice. Remember, Vulture does not kill. It simply collects what is already dead, and death is inevitable. From their lofty perspective, the Turkey Vulture, in particular, depends on their sense of smell.

What is the feather on the front of a turkey? ›

Beard. Hanging down anywhere from an inch to more than 10 inches from a tom's chest, the beard is actually a modified feather, even though it appears to be part of the turkey's skin. The beard is coarse like a horse tail and grows three to five inches a year.

What is a group of turkey? ›

A group of wild turkeys, like the ones we have here in RMNP, is called a flock. A group of domesticated turkeys is called a rafter or a gang.

What was Turkey before it was Turkey? ›

Turkey was founded as its own country in 1923 after the Turkish War of Independence, but before that, it was part of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire ruled in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and southeastern Europe, and Turkey was right in the middle of it all.

Where is the Garden of Eden located? ›

The location of Eden is described in the Book of Genesis as the source of four tributaries. Various suggestions have been made for its location: at the head of the Persian Gulf, in southern Mesopotamia (now Iraq) where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers run into the sea; and in Armenia.

What is the old name for Turkey? ›

Land areas occupied by present-day Turks were known by various names over the centuries, including Asia Minor, Anatolia and eastern Thrace. But Turkey formally became the Republic of Türkiye (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti) after independence in 1923, following the abolition of the Ottoman sultanate.

What are some beliefs in turkey? ›

  • Turkey is a secular country with a majority Muslim population. ...
  • The Turkish Constitution officially recognises Sunni Islam, Christianity (some Catholic and Orthodox sects) and Judaism. ...
  • Turkey has a strong secular tradition that arose after the caliphate was abolished.

What are the native words for turkey? ›

A review of languages of eastern tribes reveals lots of words for turkey, but no firkee: Powhatan (Virginia) — monanow; Delaware — tshikenum; Algonkian (Long Island) — nahiam; Narragansett (southern New England) — nahenan; Natick and Wampanoag (Massachusetts) — neyhom; Abnaki (Maine) — nahame; Iroquois (upper New York) ...

What is the spirit animal of the Cherokee? ›

The Red-tailed Hawk is said to be a protector spirit of the Cherokees and is therefore considered sacred. Tail feathers were and are used ceremonially.

What does turkey mean in Choctaw? ›

The Choctaw word for turkey is Fvckit.

What did the Mayans use turkeys for? ›

“The Maya used turkeys for food, offered them as ritual sacrifices and feathers were an important part of Maya costumes,” Thornton said. “Their bones also could have provided a raw material for crafting, so they could have made personal ornaments like bone beads.”

Why are turkeys associated with Thanksgiving? ›

Hale and her colleagues leaned on 1621 lore for historical justification. Like many of her contemporaries, she assumed the Pilgrims ate turkey at their first feast because of the abundance of edible wild turkeys in New England.

How did Mayans worship turkeys? ›

The power of the turkey was also expressed in religious rituals. Maya art portrays turkeys with slit throats being used in New Year rites. Bird sacrifices, anthropologists hypothesize, were meant to set the stage for a fertile new year, and turkeys were seen as stand-ins and messengers of the gods.

What does it mean when turkeys walk in a circle? ›

The circular nature of their march is just a result of their instinct to stay within the safety of their flock. In other words, what looks like extremely ominous behavior to human eyes is actually just a bunch of birds who can't decide how scared they should be of roadkill.

Do turkeys imprint on people? ›

Imprinting for wild birds is crucial to their immediate and long-term survival. For example, precocial baby birds (such as ducks, geese, and turkeys) begin the process of imprinting shortly after hatching so that they follow the appropriate adult, providing them with safety.

Will a turkey come back if he sees you? ›

The gobbler wanted to be where you were when you spooked him. So, after he thinks you're gone, and he hears a hen softly calling, there's a very good chance he may come back in that direction. Remember — the gobbler has a limited number of days to breed.

Is the turkey a sacred bird? ›

Still, the turkey never lost its spiritual significance in Puebloan societies, scholars note. To this day, the bird carries symbolic value among tribes linked to those early Native Americans, and turkey feathers remain important in many ritual practices.

What do birds symbolize spiritually? ›

In general, birds have been believed to be symbols of transcendence (particularly for those passing between this world and the next), freedom from material constraints (such as when flying), and even death.

What does a turkey feather mean spiritually? ›

A turkey is a symbol of the wildness of the Earth, the earth is a wilderness that man can never control. A feather from a turkey symbolizes abundance, pride and fertility.

Why were turkeys Worshipped? ›

How the venerated turkeys looked was important to the Maya, Emery says, since the birds represented “elite power, important long-distance trade connections, and the ability of the ruler to provide an important sacrificial victim or colorful feather cape, essentially on demand, [with] no need for hunting.”

What bird represents new beginnings? ›

The Stork symbolises rebirth or new life. It is thought to represent new physical or spiritual beginnings. They are linked to hearth, home and protection. The Stork is sacred to the ancient Greek goddess Hera.

What bird is the symbol of healing? ›

The legend of the caladrius, a bird with prognostic and healing powers, first appeared in early Indian writings as the haridruva - a yellow bird that cured jaundice. In classical Greek mythology it was a nondescript bird but in the medieval bestiaries it became pure white.

What is the spiritual meaning of brush turkey? ›

Brush Turkey asks you to examine your attitudes, and what pushes your buttons, from another point of view. Don't take things personally, could be another message. The challenge is to find the good in any perceived negative situation.

What is the meaning of wild turkey? ›

any wild form of the North American domesticated turkey.

What does it mean to see turkey in the dream? ›

A dream about a turkey represents a profitable venture and business. This dream symbolizes financial prosperity that will come as a reward for your work. The turkey in dreams also tells you that you also have to be careful to face the trials that come.


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