From where I sit working at my desk I have a great view of the Los Padres National Forest and the many animal spirits inhabiting the area, including many birds. In particular I have been watching many very large (8-10 foot wingspan) birds circling about looking for food opportunities, and have realized they are California Condors, a type of vulture. California Condors became extinct in the wild in the 1980’s, but have since been reintroduced to the wild, so it is especially great to see so many flying about. Recently one perched on a large rock in the fruit orchard adjacent to where I live, as if giving a nod to write about him.
Condors and vultures are not hunters; with their great vision and keen sense of smell they scavenge, sometimes waiting hours or days, for carrion for their food. This makes them opportunistic, patient, and resourceful. Because they finish off dead animals cleaning the bones, condors and vultures symbolize the process of death and rebirth. In some cultures, such as in Tibetan Buddhism, vultures play an important role in sky burials, where they help the deceased body to return to Mother Nature to be renewed into the cycle of life.
Vultures have also been used in prophecy among Shamans, and they were also sacred to the ancient Greek god Apollo, whose temple at Delphi housed the great Oracle.
California Condors are very long-lived birds, up to 60 years! They nurture their young for a few months and are very protective of them as well.
The California Condor and Vulture Symbolize:
- Death, Rebirth, & Renewal
- Cleanising & Purification
- Keen Vision, Perceptions, Insights, & Prophesy
- Connection, Guidance, & Protection of Mother Nature/Mother Goddess
- Patience & Resourcefulness