Gifts: Patience. Resourcefulness. Renewal. Easy gliding, lift without being weighted down. Cleaning up the mess.
Challenges: Feeling unworthy. Ungrounded. Shadow side of waiting to swoop in for the kill. Over-reliance of benefitting from other people’s efforts.
Vulture is a fascinating animal that has been mistakenly considered a harbinger of death. Vulture does not bring death. Vulture takes from death and cleans up from death. The message for you is not to fear death, mess, obstacles, sticky situations, but to grow stronger from them. Physical vultures are scavengers, not predators. They seek out death in the sense that they seek out carcasses, nourishment.
This gift of learning from death might be taken for optimism. But Vulture is not a “look on the bright side” kind of archetype. Vulture is more pragmatic than that. As such, we are not suggesting that you look for the silver lining or hold onto some other hollow platitude when dealing with death or darkness. Looking for the silver lining is quite different; it’s avoiding the mess to find the “good stuff.” Don’t deprive yourself by trying to avoid death, dirt, or messiness. Hop into it. Feed off of it to nourish your soul. It doesn’t have to taste good. You need to feel the dirtiness and the revulsion. To really learn and grow, you’ll need to really be in it.
Call in Vulture to help you be fully there and to clean it up. Vulture isn’t playing around in the mess; Vulture is processing it as it goes. Feeding off of the mess isn’t creating more mess; it’s disposing of the mess.
This process of feeding off of death leads to renewal and the endless cycle of life. When you are knee-deep in death/mess/despair, remember that there is renewal awaiting you. That’s not a bright side. That’s just part of the cycle.
Another, more “pleasant,” gift from Vulture is the conservation of energy. Vulture teaches you how to glide through life without being weighted down. Physical vultures flap their wings only briefly to get up in the air. They use the thermals to stay aloft. They are then able to glide effortlessly without flapping again for up to 30 minutes or more. Borrow this gift from Vulture when you need to conserve energy and glide through a sticky situation.
A challenge working with Vulture is feeling truly worthy. Since Vulture tends to get what’s leftover after others have eaten first, it’s easy to fall into the fear of being worthless. You may feel as if you don’t deserve the “good stuff.” You may sacrifice your own needs and desires, even when it’s not necessary or requested of you. You may be so used to “everyone else comes first” that you wouldn’t even dream of going first. In the wild, vultures swoop in immediately after a kill. If they can scare off the lions, hyenas, or cheetah, they will—so that they can get the good stuff by going first. Remember that the next time you think Vulture is telling you to sacrifice your desires or to go last.