Vulture has a lot of personal meaning for me. In a way, it is my phoenix.
In native myth, it was turkey vulture who saved the earth from being destroyed by the sun, burning all of the glorious plumage from it’s head in the process. This ties vulture to being a solar animal, and the fact that it uses thermals (air heated by the sun) to lift itself only strengthens this tie for me.
The sun dies and is reborn every day. Every year is marked by the waxing and waning of it’s light; every winter carries with it the promise of spring. It itself is a powerful symbol for death and rebirth.
Vulture is not a pretty creature; it’s feathers are dark and drab. But if you look on the undersides of it’s wings, you will find a beautiful silver lining shining brightly in the light. Everything, no matter how gloomy, has a bright side.
And of course, vulture is mostly known for it’s role as a carrion eater, helping to clean up disease and recycle nutrients into the environment; ensuring continued life for other things. Turkey vulture’s latin name even means “golden purifier.”
For every ending, there is a new beginning. This is what vulture has taught me.