In Canada we celebrated our Thanksgiving on October 14, which was also my eldest son Nick’s birthday, so it was a double celebration for our family at Thanksgiving. To the south of us our American neighbors will be celebrating their Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 28. For my friends and readers in countries with different cultures who may be reading this and have never heard of Thanksgiving, here is a short explanation. Thanksgiving is a special holiday celebrated in the USA (in November) and Canada (in October) for people to reflect, celebrate with family and friends and give thanks for all they are thankful for. Each year I give thanks for my wonderful supportive family, my large extended family and friends, for my good health and my being able to live in a beautiful peaceful country that I have chosen, Canada. I am forever thankful for the work I do and being able to pursue my passion in the holistic field where I continue to learn and grow. I am thankful also for all those whom I am privileged to work with, and I can go on and on with all that I am thankful for, however this is not about me.
Say the word Thanksgiving to a North American and it instantly conjures up visions of a meal served with the main dish being Turkey, and the foods that their family serves at Thanksgiving many passed down from generation to generation. Having immigrated to Canada from South America many, many moons ago I was happy to add this beautiful tradition to all the ones we already celebrate. It was not until years later when I started studying and working with Animal Totems and their wonderful, wise significance in our lives that I came to understand Turkey and its gifts to those who have Turkey as a Totem. Turkey as the main dish of choice for celebrations and holidays is also a gift.
As a Totem, Turkey embodies the spirit of generosity and unselfish giving. Anyone with a Turkey Totem has a generous heart. They will give you the shirt off their backs. My husband has Turkey as one of his Totems and I remembers years ago when he first discovered this he was a little hesitant to accept this wonderful totem into his life because of the negative connotation that surround the word “turkey”. Some individuals have been know to use the word as an insult to someone they don’t like or respect by calling them a turkey!
So let’s reverse the negativity surrounding Turkey by learning a little about Turkey. Turkey is a wise and generous totem according to many Native Peoples and below I will share an excerpt from the book Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson that paints a very different picture of Turkey.
“Turkey is actually thought to be the Give-Away Eagle or South Eagle of many Native Peoples. The philosophy of give-away was practice by many tribes. Simply stated, it is the deep and abiding recognition of the sacrifices of both self and others. People in modern day society should study the noble turkey who sacrifices itself so that we may live. In Turkey’s death we have our life. Honor Turkey”
“Spectators unfamiliar with the cultural phenomenon of the pot-latch or give-away ceremony are often mystified by it. A tribal member may gladly give away all he or she owns, and do without in order to help the People. In present-day urban life, we are taught to acquire and get ahead. The person with the most toys wins the game. In some cultures, no one can win the game unless the whole of the People’s needs are met. A person who claims more than his or her share is looked upon as selfish or crazy or both. The poor, the aged and the feeble have honor. The person who gives away the most and carries the burdens of the People is one of the most respected.” We can say that Turkey gave itself away so others may live!
If you have Turkey as a totem, know it is a great honor to carry this medicine, this wisdom, this gift of generosity with you on your earth walk. Your virtues are many. You aspire to help others who need help and you respect all life as sacred. The gifts that Turkey brings into your life are never insignificant. It might be spiritual, material or even intellectual. Congratulations! Honor this generous Totem and know that you have been specially chosen to do the work that Turkey has brought forth into your life
Here’s wishing my extended family, my friends and readers In the USA a very Happy Thanksgiving.