As thanksgiving approaches it seems that turkeys are making a larger appearance than normal in my neighborhood. I like to think it's to help us all be a little more mindful of the sacrifice of their cousins as we prepare to celebrate friends and family. With that in mind, what does Turkey symbolize for you?
A couple of years ago I ran across a Turkey legend, most likely Navajo in origin, about how Turkey helped save everyone from a flood and also rescued all the seeds that the survivors would need in the new world, but at great personal loss. Mostly the story makes me sad, and not always for reasons I can express. Turkey seems to have an overarching theme of self sacrifice across cultures. In this particular story Turkey gives so much of themself in the face of great adversity and the judgement of others and perseveres despite the lack of help, knowing they were bringing something good into the world for others. Turkey is a reminder to communicate your needs and motivations when asking for help. To give help without judgement or expectation. And to give gratitude to those who give of themselves to better the world. TURKEY SAVES THE WORLD "Once upon a time Turkeys could talk just like humans. When a great flood that threatened to destroy the earth came, all the four legged and two legged peoples ran to the highest ground. Each tried to carry something the world would need when the flood subsided. Turkey helped everyone get on their way to safety and was the very last creature to flee. Nobody saw that Turkey also stashed hundreds of vegetable and flower seeds and pods within its feathers – wisely knowing all vegetation would need to be replanted so the world could eat. But carrying so many seeds had weighed Turkey down and it couldn’t run fast. The waters caught up to it and Turkey began to drown. Turkey screamed for help. The people who saw Turkey thought it wasn’t carrying anything. They yelled at the bird that it only cared about saving itself and was so selfish it deserved to die. Turkey kept on swimming as hard and fast as it could, craning its neck farther and farther to stay above the water. Finally, exhausted and covered with mud and debris Turkey made it to the top. The people surrounded Turkey still accusing it of only being out for number one instead of pitching in as the rest of them had. With what little energy it still had Turkey stumbled to a standing position and shook its feathers. The vegetable and flower seeds and pods cascaded from under Turkey’s feathers. When the people saw how wrong they had been about Turkey, the heroic bird had almost died trying to save the world’s food supply, they begged for forgiveness. When Turkey tried to answer a strange sound came from its throat. That’s when everyone noticed how long Turkey’s neck had become. Turkey had to stretch its neck so far to keep from drowning it ripped its vocal cords. That’s why Turkeys today have such long, skinny necks and speak by gobbling." ~From: Turkey Symbolism by Bernadette King~