Turkey Symbolism: 6 Spiritual Meanings of Turkey (2023)

If you live in the western world, you are probably familiar with itwith turkeyas a staple for most American and some European holiday meals. The turkey has always been a symbol of celebration and has been domesticated for over 2,000 years.

The turkey belongs to the genus Meleagris, theoriginatesfrom an ancient Greek word meaning guinea fowl. There are two different types of turkeys native to North America; the wild turkey, found in central and eastern North America, and the ocellated turkey, with habitat in the forests of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

In addition to its festive importance, turkey has played an important role in the culture of many civilizations. In this article we will examine the stories and symbolic meanings of the turkey, as well as the symbolism of the turkey in some aspects of spirituality.

Read on to learn more about turkey symbolism!

Turkey Symbolism: 6 Spiritual Meanings of Turkey (1)

Symbolism of Turkey

Most likely, the name of the turkey came from a misunderstanding. When early European settlers discovered wild turkeys in North America, they misidentified them as guinea fowl. The guinea fowl was a widespread bird species that was introduced to Europe via Turkey.

Another theory is that the first turkeys to come to England did not come directly from America, but via Middle Eastern traders. These traders had domesticated themfrom themand mistakenly referred to it as the same guinea fowl. In the end, despite identifying the two different birds, the American turkey retained its name.

Turkeys in North America are an essential part of the Thanksgiving dinner. As such, most people associate turkey with love, family, and gratitude. Since turkeys also live in large flocks and help each other, they often act as a symbol of teamwork and cooperation.

Like most ground-feeding birds, male turkeys are larger and more colorful. They also have their signature broad fan tail, as well as the snood, which is a fleshy bump on the forehead. A longer snood gives the male turkey an advantage in mating.

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Male turkeys also fight a lot, both among themselves and with other species. They do this to assert dominance and create hierarchy in their group. If another animal, or even a human, enters their territory, they become very defensive and will attack anything, no matter the size. This marks them as symbols of protection, masculinity and strength.

Wild turkeys have been known to attack humans if they deem them submissive. Even domesticated turkeys have shown this behavior in residential areas. Certain states, such as Massachusetts, have issuedinstructionsKeep protecting yourself from wild turkeys.

Sometimes the term turkey is used as a swear word to indicate someone is a fool or a coward. This probably stems from the resemblance between a turkey anda chicken. However, this contradicts the nature of the turkey as a true defender of its territory and species.

In fact, it also contradicts the nature that the great Benjamin Franklin intended for the bird. Franklin was an avid advocate of turkey morals and courageous spirit. He even proposed to herone of his lettersto replace thembald eagleas a symbol of America.

According to Franklin, thebald eagleHe has low morale and often steals prey from other creatures when he is lazy and not hunting. Instead, the turkey travels many kilometers to find food.

His bravery is also unparalleled as he will take on anyone to defend his territory. Not to mention that the turkey is a native bird of America while there are several places where bald eagles live.

Turkey symbolism for Native Americans

Because turkeys are native North American birds, they have always been part of the culture of various Native American civilizations. Turkeys were one of the first animals to be domesticated by Native Americans, and domestication occurred in two distinct phases.

The first domestication was by an ancient Native American tribe called the Ancestral Puebloans, also known as the "Anasazi". This tribe used to live in the Southwest, near the place known as the Four Corners. The second domestication was in southern Mexico by the Aztecs.

The domestication offrom themit happened for various reasons. Although some people used turkeys as a food source, most held them in high regard and for ritual purposes. Several turkeys have been found buried alongside humans as the turkey was believed to be a great companion in the afterlife.

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In addition, there are several myths about how the turkey was responsible for the fertility of the earth. In one such myth, a turkey carried many seeds and vegetables.his feathersduring a great flood. Unable to swim properly due to the weight, she constantly craned her neck to stay afloat. This resulted in the long necks of today's turkeys.

Other Native American cultures treated the turkey as royalty or even as a god. The Mayans regarded the turkey as a symbol of fertility and often sacrificed a turkey each year. Still, they believed the bird to have mystical powers that only the wealthy could possess. One Mayan king even had a nickname that included the word "turkey."

The Aztecs believed that thefrom themhe was a god, they had a special name for him - Chalchiuhtotolin - and they worshiped him like all other deities. For the Hopi tribe, the turkey was a connection to nature. They often performed dances and rituals with costumes and feathers like turkeys.

Turkey Symbolism: 6 Spiritual Meanings of Turkey (2)

Turkeys in dreams

Turkeys are also common in dreams and can have different meanings. One of the most popular is that of abundance. If there is a turkey in your dreams, it may indicate upcoming growth. If you are a farmer, expect good harvests that will help you financially. If you have a business, it will soon start to thrive.

If you work in an office and you see a dream with a flying airplanefrom them, could indicate that you have an opportunity to rise in rank. Work hard, try to stand out, and you might get the promotion you've been wanting for so long.

In general, if your dream involves a caged turkey, it is a bad sign. It indicates that you are trying to break a bad habit or solve one of your problems and someone is holding you back. Investigate all the people around you to see who is robbing you of your freedom.

If you see a single turkey or a flock of birds talking and making a lot of noise, it usually indicates that you need to talk to someone. If you've been holding back a conversation about an important topic with a friend or colleague, now is the time.

A dead turkey in your dreams means your pride and self-esteem are hurt. If it's you who kills the turkey, it means you're the one destroying your trust. You keep missing opportunities because you think you're not good enough. It's time to stop this and believe in yourself more!

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To see how to feed a turkey or eat onefrom themit is usually a sign of imminent prosperity. Your business will start to prosper or you will get a raise working for someone else. Cooking a turkey means you'll soon be throwing a big dinner party for friends or family that you haven't seen in a while.

Turkey tattoo symbolism

Tattoo symbolism can vary significantly from person to person. Some general symbolic meanings of afrom themTattoo include generosity, wealth and self-confidence. Turkeys are so confident that they will fight anyone to assert their dominance. A turkey tattoo could also serve as a reminder of the holiday season.

Turkey spirit animal

The turkey spirit animal can have many symbolic meanings for you. When it appears in front of you, look around you and you will see that you are filled with an abundance of physical and mental resources. Try to use them to improve yourself. But don't forget to grow and care for them so they don't run out.

He alsofrom themThe spirit animal may be trying to tell you that someone close to you needs help. First and foremost, turkeys are team players and are always available to their peers. However, sometimes people are too proud to ask for help. So offer them a helping hand and they will happily appreciate it. This includes your colleagues and the community.

Another interpretation of the turkey spirit animal is that of assertiveness and self-confidence. If you associate yourself with the spirit of turkey, you are most likely an authoritative person with a distinctive voice. On the other hand, the turkey spirit animal might try to pressure you to assert your dominance and believe in yourself more.

The turkey also has a deep connection to Mother Earth. When the turkey spirit animal appears before you, you may need to question your attachment to harmony and nature.

Turkey Symbolism: 6 Spiritual Meanings of Turkey (3)

Turkey Totem Animal

A person with the turkey totem animal is often grounded and strongly connected to their home and family. Finally, the turkey is a social animal that lives in large families and is also strongly attached to North America.

People with the turkey totem are born adventurers. The turkey sometimes travels many hours into the unknown to find food. Like the traveling turkey, you always walk your path, trusting that there is an ultimate goal for you.

(Video) Turkey Spirit Animal. | Meaning of Spirit Animal Symbols.

Another characteristic of people with the turkey totem is their honor and work ethic. They don't mind working long hours if it means they can achieve success and offer that wealth to their friends and family. They love to share all their prey and make everyone happy, which in turn makes them happy.

However, you should be careful and avoid people who want to take advantage of your kindness and generosity. Many malicious people will mistake you for a fool and try to use your generosity for their own gain. You must be able to distinguish these toxic people and eliminate them from your life.

Finally, don't forget to take care of yourself. Sometimes constant giving to others means forgetting about your physical or mental health. When you are struggling, tap into your deep connections to nature. Go for a walk in the park to relieve stress and clear your mind. This way you can give much more energy to others.

Turkey spirit animal

Since the turkey is a symbol of abundance and prosperity, thefrom themThe power animal can increase your happiness. However, do not abuse this. Instead, give back to those close to you to maintain the balance that the turkey spirit animal needs. Also, try to be humble and don't let arrogance rule you.

When your territory or loved ones are under attack and you feel weak or frightened, call upon the turkey spirit animal to help protect them. Turkeys are such fierce protectors that they will not hesitate to attack anyone even when victory is not guaranteed. Their natural instinct to protect their own kind fuels this bold behavior.

You may also have noticed that turkeys sometimes wander aimlessly and seem to panic when threatened. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. They just try to confuse their opponents by looking stupid and scared.

When you're struggling to understand who you are and keep running aimlessly, the turkey spirit animal could help you discover your true self. It can help you discover your best qualities and talents and use them to your advantage. This way you will be more useful to your family or community.


If you've ever thought that turkey is just a Thanksgiving meal, maybe it's time to reconsider. Turkey has been around for centuries and has played an important role in the cultural development of civilizations.

Additionally, your unique traits such as courage and a tendency to help and protect others are traits we should all learn and improve on. So the next time you see a turkey, instead of imagining it on your plate with some gravy, think of the symbolic meaning of that bird!

(Video) Turkey Spirit Animal

Turkey Symbolism: 6 Spiritual Meanings of Turkey (4)


What do turkeys represent spiritually? ›

The turkey is a symbol of strength, courage, and abundance. Turkeys also symbolize gratitude, Thanksgiving, and history. The turkey is an ancient bird and has been an essential part of human culture for centuries. The turkey is also a symbol of new beginnings and good luck.

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 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 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 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 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 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.

What are turkeys known for? ›

These are just some food that Turkey is famous for.
  • Turkish Delight (Lokum) Turkish Delight is a type of confectionery that is popular in many countries, with its origins in Turkey. ...
  • Baklava. ...
  • Turkish coffee. ...
  • Turkish Tea. ...
  • Iskender Kebab. ...
  • Kofta. ...
  • Simit (Turkish Bagel) ...
  • Turkish Baths (Hammam)

What did Native Americans think about turkeys? ›

"Turkeys were rather revered animals" among people who lived in the Four Corners region of the U.S. Southwest about 700 to 2000 years ago, says archaeologist William Lipe of Washington State University, Pullman (WSU).

What is the name of turkey in the Bible? ›

A circular letter sent by consul Lucius recorded in 1 Maccabees 15:16-24, mentions numerous communities in Asla Minör ( How Turkey is mentioned in the Bible) with Jewish people.

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 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.

What are the 6 types of turkey? ›

The six types of wild turkeys are: Eastern wild turkey, Osceola wild turkey, Gould's wild turkey, Merriam's wild turkey, Rio Grande wild turkey, and the Ocellated wild turkey. All turkeys have a varied diet and seek out land that is a mixture of forest and open grassland.

What are 6 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 personality of a turkey? ›

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.

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.

Why were turkeys worshipped as gods? ›

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.”

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 is the meaning of wild turkey? ›

any wild form of the North American domesticated turkey.

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 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.

What does turkey mean in Choctaw? ›

The Choctaw word for turkey is Fvckit.

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 did the Aztecs call turkeys? ›

The Nahuatl (Aztec) word for turkey is huehxolotl.

What is unique about turkey? ›

Historians believe that many agricultural systems originated in Turkey. Due to its fruitful soil, favourable climate and plentiful rainfall, in terms of food production, Turkey is one of the few self-sufficient countries in the world.

What does turkey vision look like? ›

X-Ray Vision

In addition to their incredible visual acuity, turkeys have a field of view of 270 degrees. This is impressive on its own, but when you consider how a turkey strategically bobs its head and rotates its neck, it's almost constantly taking in what's going on a full 360 degrees around it.

What is a turkey in Navajo culture? ›

Turkeys are called "Tązhii" in the Navajo language. Many traditional Navajo ceremonial stories involve the Tązhii, and turkey feathers are used in some ceremonies. Turkeys are also credited with bringing seeds into the current World for the Navajo People to have an abundance of melons, squash, corn and beans.

What did indigenous Americans call turkey? ›

Another theory is that a Native American word for the bird is firkee, which early settlers heard as “turkey.” How that one got started is anyone's guess.

Why is turkey called turkey? ›

Etymology. The English name of Turkey (from Medieval Latin Turchia/Turquia) means "land of the Turks". Middle English usage of Turkye is attested to in an early work by Chaucer called The Book of the Duchess (c. 1368).

Is Turkey the Holy land? ›

Thoughts of faith-based travel often evoke images of Jerusalem or Buddhist temples, but for practitioners of the world's major monotheistic religions, Turkey—often dubbed as “the other Holy Land”—provides a unique opportunity to experience some of the lesser-known sites of importance for these faiths.

What's the Hebrew word for Turkey? ›

In Hebrew, a turkey is referred to as “tarnegol hodu,” which literally translates to “rooster of India.” Hebrew is not the only language to attribute the Thanksgiving icon's origins to the subcontinent; Russian, Polish, Yiddish, and Turkish – ironic because the British derived the bird's English name from this nation – ...

Is Turkey the Garden of Eden? ›

Nicknamed the “Garden of Eden” by locals, the green valley is located in one of the most arid regions of Turkey. It attracts tourists from all over the world with its wildlife and natural beauty. Nicknamed the “Garden of Eden” by locals, the green valley is located in one of the most arid regions of Turkey.

What does the beard on a turkey mean? ›

Like the fleshy head appendages, turkey beards are believed to be an aesthetic feature intended to attract mates; beards become more erect when a tom is aroused. The longer the beard, the older the turkey – they can eventually grow to about 12 inches in length.

What does a turkey cutting mean? ›

Cutting is a sign that turkeys are excited, not alarmed. Cutting has several uses in hunting. If a gobbler is henned up, and one of the hens is cutting, you can cutt back in an attempt to bring her to you. You will want to mimic her calls, while cutting off her vocalizations and being a bit more excited.

Why do turkeys follow you? ›

Turkeys are social animals and will become very attached to their people! We have an ongoing joke that our turkey is a better dog than the dog is! She will faithfully follow us around anywhere we go! She loves to be pet and will even sit down on our feet to try to get attention!

What does red symbolize in turkey? ›

Red is a powerful color for Turks since it is the color of the Turkish flag, and hence red is a symbol of Turkish nationalism. Red also symbolizes virginity. Traditionally, women wear a red belt known as the chastity belt on their wedding day.

What is turkey favorite color? ›

The reasons that the white is the most preferred color among the Turkish clubs are that Turkish people have special liking to it and white has cultural implications coming from history. Turkish people regard white as the symbol of cleanness, purity, holiness and experience ( Ögel, 1991).

What does a Purple turkey mean? ›

Found this on meatsafety.org. Raw turkey skin color is off white to cream-colored. The color under the skin can range from a pink to lavender blue depending on the amount of fat just under the skin; this is normal.

What is a 6 legged turkey? ›

A dissection of a six-legged turkey shows that two legs are attached by bones and skin. The four other legs are fastened with - gasp! - 3-inch wood skewers. The smoked turkey is more of an artistic overstatement than an abomination of nature.

What are the 5 types of turkeys? ›

The North American Wild Turkey has five subspecies: the Rio Grande, the Merriam's, the Osceola, the Eastern, and the Gould's.

What is another name for turkey? ›

Turkey changes its official name to Türkiye The Turkish government is asking that the country be called by its Turkish name, a change which the United Nations has now adopted.

Can turkeys see you? ›

Turkeys have incredible vision and are able to detect motion many, many yards away. Supposedly, they are even able to see up to 3 times greater than 20/20, though I can't confirm this, I have never given a turkey an eye exam. In addition to their excellent visual acuity, turkeys also have awesome peripheral vision.

Do turkeys get attached to humans? ›

Turkeys Have Unique Personalities

Turkeys form strong bonds with their flockmates and even with humans and other animals.

Are turkeys loyal? ›

They have wonderful personalities

Turkeys are gentle and incredibly loyal, which can make processing them an emotional task.

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.

Are birds spiritual messengers? ›

Birds soar as spiritual messengers between the Earth and the sky. Revered and reflected by Native American cultures on both petroglyphs and modern ceramics, they flutter across objects both functional and decorative.

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 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 bird is a visitor from heaven? ›

Based on old folklore, you have a visitor from heaven when you see a cardinal bird in your yard. Cardinal birds are a symbolic bird as it symbolizes positivity amidst the troubles we experienced in our life.

What bird symbolizes a passed loved one? ›

A cardinal is a representative of a loved one who has passed. When you see one, it means they are visiting you. They usually show up when you most need them or miss them. They also make an appearance during times of celebration as well as despair to let you know they will always be with you.

What bird is a messenger from heaven? ›


Symbolic signs appear in many forms, but the red cardinal has long been embraced as the most notable spiritual messenger who has been sent by our loved ones in Heaven to watch over us. To this day, red cardinals are one of the most common spiritual signs that people receive from Heaven.

What are two facts about turkeys? ›

TURKEY FACT #1: Enough with gobble, gobble. Turkeys also cluck and purr. TURKEY FACT #2: Turkey droppings tell a bird's sex and age. Male droppings are j-shaped; female droppings are spiral-shaped.

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 represents protection? ›

Native North Americans recognized the woodpecker's home-making traits and thus associated the bird with protection.


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