Give-Away Medicine | Free Spirit Volume 2011 Issue 6

In this season of bounty and Thanksgiving (& stuffing ourselves beyond capacity!) let us awaken our Western minds to the generous sacrifice of Turkey and its sacred ‘Give-Away Medicine.’

No matter what our heritage, our ancient ancestors understood how essential animals were to their survival. Medicine People (shamans, healers) in every culture saw beyond the food, clothing, shelter, and brute strength these animals provided― they honored their „Original Medicine,‟ the unique spark of Divine Wisdom & Purpose each being carries within their spirit… whether they have two legs or four, no legs at all, roots, fins, or wings.

“Don’t be such a turkey!” shows how far we’ve moved away from such respectful awareness. In modern times, calling someone a “turkey” is an insult. But to Native Americans, Turkey carries one of the most powerful and benevolent medicines of all.

“Turkey is actually thought to be the Give-Away Eagle or South Eagle of many native peoples. The philosophy of giveaway was practiced 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, who have many times more than they need, 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 potlatch 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.

Turkey was the medicine of many saints & mystics. Celebrate if you have Turkey medicine. Your virtues are many. You have transcended self. You act and react on the behalf of others. You aspire to help those who need help. This is not out of some sense of self-righteous ‘moralism’ or religious guilt. Help and sustenance is given by Turkey out of the realization that all life is sacred. It is knowing that the Great Spirit resides within all ‘people’ (of every form).

It is an acknowledgement that what you do for others you do for yourself. Turkey medicine rests in true ego, in enlightenment. Doing unto others and feeding the people is the message of all true spiritual systems.”