Vulture Meaning and Symbolism
Aug 10
What is the meaning of the Vulture totem

Vulture Meaning and Symbolism

Overview of the Vulture Spirit Animal


Vulture symbolism is recognized around the world as an omen of death and decay.  However, there is so much more to the vulture as a spirit animal than its association with death.  In fact, in many cultural and spiritual applications the vulture is a symbol of renewal, cleansing and life.  As a spirit animal, it is important for us to set aside the sinister or unfavorable images we have of the vulture.  Instead, we must embrace it as an honorable and worthy spirit animal that deserves respect. It helps to understand that the common myth, that vultures can sense when a creature is dying, is actually untrue. Opportunistic predators, they rely on their keen sense of smell and sight to find carrion. Because they clean up waste and decay, they are a vital part of the ecosystem.  And they help prevent the spread of disease. When vulture symbolism appears in your life it’s important that you take intentional steps to connect with it. Because it is such a rare spirit animal, it’s presence in your life is not a mistake or chance.

Vulture Totem

Embrace Your Spirit Animal


Encounters with the Vulture

What is the meaning of vulture symbolism? Find out what symbol the vulture spirit animal is trying to teach you, and gain some insight into your life.

Are you holding on to an old way of thinking?

Vulture symbolism will appear in your life to indicate that something in your life has died. Whether it’s an old way of thinking, an identifier, a dream or goal, it’s time to let it go.  Soon it’s death will begin to cause decay or rot in your life if you don’t remove it from your life. Spend intentional time in meditation to pinpoint the thing that has died so you can properly remove it.

Do your relationships need to be evaluated?

Another reason why the vulture totem will appear to you will be in regards to your relationships. This is often an area of life that can cause death and decay for you and your spiritual self. If you are in strained or challenging relationships it might be time for you to move on! Trust in your totem to guide you and help you sort through your relationships to detect which ones are beginning to decay.

Have you become curious or seen signs of mystic arts in your life?

Magic and energy is all around us and takes on many different forms. When the vulture appears in your life it’s meaning can be that you are either going to learn to recognize the mystic energy in your life. Or that you are already intune to it. During this time it is important for you to be open to the world around you!

Are you weighed down by the past, including experiences and perceptions?

There will be times in your life when things that once served you are no longer necessary. When that happens the vulture totem will appear to you to guide you in letting them go. This is also true for failures and negative experiences that are holding you back from your future.  Allow the vulture totem to guide you and help you in your journey of releasing these things from your life.

Vulture Symbolism: The Vulture Spirit

Could the Vulture be my spirit animal? What are the traits of the totem? This might be your spirit animal if you are:


In the wild vultures can be seen soaring at great heights. Using air currents to effortlessly glide through the air they have an advantage. One of their greatest senses is their sense of sight. So, even though they can be hard to see from the ground, a vulture high in the sky can see clearly for great distances. Vulture spirit animal people are known for being visionaries. They can see things that others miss and have no problem embracing an idea or goal even when it seems far away.


It’s no secret that vultures are highly intelligent birds. In fact, they are often referred to as being resourceful! One way they exhibit this behavior is when it comes to their meals. Vultures can consume bones and have highly evolved stomachs that make digesting bone fragments common place. Now, if a bone is too big to be eaten a vulture will often carry it high into the sky only to drop it. This results in the bone breaking into smaller, edible pieces. People with vulture symbolism in their life are known for their resourcefulness. When they are faced with a problem they are able to work out a solution in no time!

Define the Vulture Spirit Animal
What is the meaning of vulture symbolism?


When you observe the vulture in the wild it’s easy to see why many people describe them as regal. The way that they interact with their world suggests they are aware of their status. As a vulture totem person you will find that you naturally have a regal attitude. You are secure about yourself because you know your place in the world and the important roles you play. Even if others don’t see it you don’t need their affirmation.

What are the Traits of the Vulture Totem?

Lessons from the Vulture Spirit Animal

Vultures are:

  • Mysterious
  • Regal
  • Complex
  • Focused
Learn the Meaning of the Vulture Spirit Animal

The Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture has been recorded as one of the highest flying birds in the world.  It was recorded to be flying at 37,000 feet! When vulture symbolism appears in your life it typically comes with this lesson. You need to find perspective in your life. Give yourself the time and space to soar high above everything else that surrounds you and threatens to hold you down. As you gain space and height you will be able to see things clearer and gain a better understanding to events in your life. When the vulture symbol appears in your life evaluate your perspective and be open to the messages your spirit animal brings.

Another lesson we learn from the vulture totem is making the best out of something that is discarded by others. For example, think of the vultures consumption of carrion. When other predators abandon a kill or eat their fill they will often leave the remaining bits to rot. Animals that eat rotting flesh can become sick, diseased or even die. Now, a vulture is able to come along and consume rotting or rancid carrion without ill effects. Likewise, as a vulture totem person you are able to take situations and experiences and use them for your benefit. By taking in this experiences and making the best out of them. You can grow stronger despite adverse situations and have the ability to turn around bad experiences for good.

What does the vulture spirit mean? Cleansing energy and a connection to mysticism.

Strengths & Weaknesses of the Vulture

Learn about Vulture Symbolism



One of the greatest strengths of vulture symbolism is that they are invaluable to their environment. In the wild, vultures take care to clean up carcasses or carrion. If left alone the carcass would rot and will spread disease and pests like mites, flies and worms. Because of this the vulture plays an important role in its environment. Likewise, vulture totem people will usually play important roles in their social circles. Whether others realize it or not, their impact on their community is essential to the health and wellbeing of all.


Research has found that some species of vulture can see as far as 6 miles or 10 kilometers into the distance! Their vision can be described as binocular, giving them the ability to pinpoint objects miles away. This gives them an incredible advantage because they are able to scan far and wide for a potential meal. As well as see threats at a distance and recognize companions. As a vulture spirit animal person, you will find that your long distance vision is a strength. When connected with your spirit animal you will be able to see “the big picture”. This will help you in making decisions and finding direction for your life.

Cleansing Energy

Vultures have highly acidic stomachs which give them the ability to consume rotten matter, bones and other things that would make most animals sick. Because of this, vulture meaning is known for having powerful cleansing energy. As a vulture totem person you will be able to take things like bad experiences or negative energy. And through your cleansing energy be able to turn it into something that makes you stronger.


Many species of vulture can be recognized by their bald head and bare necks. While this leads to their intimidating appearance it actually serves a useful function. As they clean up carrion their bare head and neck make it difficult if not impossible for pests and bacteria to cling onto the birds. This helps keep them healthy and unaffected by things that would otherwise make animals sick. As a vulture totem person you have the proper equipment to succeed in your life. While you might not look like everyone else you have what it takes to achieve your dreams and overcome impossible odds.



It’s no secret that vultures have an intimidating presence. From their majestic stature, their sharp eyes and their bare head and neck. As vulture spirit animal people it can be easy for you to fall into a similar category. Being intimidating isn’t always a bad thing. However, if you don’t take action to counter this you can become plain unapproachable. This will ward off people who would be a benefit to you. From friends, loved ones and even in the workplace you could miss out on positive opportunities because you seem unapproachable.


Because of their influence on their environment, the heights they can fly and their nearly all seeing vision. Vultures are used to a high level of power over their surroundings and those within it. As a vulture totem person you will find that you a drawn to positions of power and that having power suits you. However, be careful! It can be easy for your heart to be overcome by the thrill of exercising your power which will only separate you from your good path in the world.


Vultures are not known for being cute or cuddly looking creatures. Because of this there typically is a level of bias or prejudice against them. This can also be true for vulture totem people. It’s not uncommon for them to not care too much about their outward appearance but instead focus on their internal self. While this is a worthy perspective we live in a world that too quickly judges books by their covers. Your appearance might cause you a disadvantage so take care to know when it is appropriate to treat yourself and put a little more effort into how you present yourself.

What is the vulture meaning?
What is the meaning of the vulture totem?

The Vulture in Dreams: What it Means

Vulture symbolism appears in our dreams as an advocate for reducing the waste in our lives. Especially if the vulture is surrounding by food, trash or other forms of clutter and waste.  If you have been unaware of the waste you are producing physically and the impact it has on the environment. Look for simple ways you can reduce your waste with reusable bags, reusable containers, recycle and other ways to slowly become zero waste. Another thing you may want to research and consider is becoming vegetarian or even vegan.

Another reason that vulture symbolism will appear in your dreams is to offer you guidance. Whether you need cleansing in your life or vision into the future or distance. The vulture has appeared to you to protect you and help you reach new heights.

Vulture meaning is a sign of cleansing energy and renewal. It’s important to consider this when interpreting dreams.
animal symbolism in dreams

Cultural and Spiritual Symbolism of the Vulture

animal meaning in your life

In Mayan culture, the vulture is considered a royal bird.  And is praised for its cleansing nature.

Ancient Egyptians believed that Vulture symbolism acted as protection for the pharaoh.

African and Asian cultures associate the vulture with spiritual and material wealth. Along as a sign of fertility

Historical Facts

Of the 23 species of vultures in the world 16 of them are classified as endangered. Learn more about these precious birds and why they should be protected and cared about by the public!

Animal Quotes

We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.
Barbara Ward
Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

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About The Author

We love you! The Totem Team is dedicated to expanding knowledge of, and connection to, the natural and spiritual world of animals. Whether you call it an animal spirit, totem, or guide, we aim to be THE definitive resource online for all animal dreams, meanings, and symbolism. Thank you for being a part of our wonderful community and sharing in our work!

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