What The Turkey Symbolizes: Spiritual Meaning, In Dreams & More

For a long time, the turkey has been associated with the American holiday of Thanksgiving, when millions of Americans enjoy a turkey dinner as part of the festivities.  But what is the spiritual meaning of a turkey?

The Spiritual Meaning of a turkey is to prosper, be grateful for what you have, be generous and share with others, and be protective of the bond shared with family and friends.  It boasts a bit of vanity, has self-esteem, and endures to survive in an ever-changing world.

The turkey is often seen as a mean-looking bird, with its long red fleshy snood that grows from the forehead over its bill!  Is this what a turkey symbolizes, or does it have a more gentle side to it?  To find out more about the turkey’s symbolic meaning, read on!

The Symbolism And Meaning Of A Turkey

The symbolic meaning of a turkey is:

  • Prosperity
  • Gratitude
  • Family and Friendship
  • Generosity
  • Protection
  • Endurance
  • Vanity and high self-esteem

Prosperity and gratitude stem from the festival of Thanksgiving when people are grateful for the bounty of the harvest and the sharing of this prosperity with loved ones.  Gratitude means being content with what you have to find true happiness. 

The bond of togetherness with family and friends is very much a part of the turkey’s stance as they come together as a flock to roost in the evenings. Being generous and sharing what you have with others is a way of ensuring that by giving, new prosperity will come to you.  Remember that resources are not endless, and we need to honor and nurture the abundant supplies.

The protective symbolism is true of the fan-tailed male turkey that protects the flock from predators and is also associated with the father figure and masculinity.  Another symbolic meaning of the turkey is endurance.  The turkey cannot fly long distances, so it endures walking many hours searching for food.  Endurance is what we need to survive in our cut-throat world!

Vanity and self-adulation are two dominant traits of the male turkey who likes to show off with its magnificent plumage.  This symbol comes with a warning that these traits might help us get what we want for the moment, but all will be in vain as whatever we have achieved will not stand the test of time.

The Turkey As A Spirit Animal

If you believe in your capabilities, don’t seek assurance from others, have no self-doubt and confidence, have a good work ethic, and are an extrovert and a “people person,” your spirit animal is the turkey! 

The people guided by the spirit of the turkey have huge hearts, are always ready to help others without expecting in return, and work hard to provide for their families.  Turkey people are admired and respected within their communities.

The turkey guided people know the importance of sharing with others and that it brings happiness, but they are often taken for granted and end up broken-hearted.  Mending their heart takes time, but they are survivors and, like the turkey, will endure and overcome the setbacks that life throws at them.

Although being confident is a good trait, turkey people need to be careful of being over-confident.  Should this line be crossed, it is often difficult to find the balance again, so tread carefully in this area of your character trait. 

Sometimes, the spirited turkey people are dominant, headstrong, and stubborn and find it difficult to hand over control to others.  The trait is true of turkeys who regularly bicker for dominance within the flock.

The Turkey As A Totem Animal

People who have the turkey as their totem animal are deeply connected to the land and their home.  Working hard to take care of their families, they are very attentive to nurturing their young, often in the form of ‘tough love.’ 

Although their home is most important, the turkey trait of being restless when cooped up is also a part of their character, and they are prone to having wanderlust for traveling.

Another admirable characteristic is honesty, which is the daily motto of the people who have the turkey as their animal totem.

The Turkey And Mythology

There are many ancient myths and stories about turkeys in history books worldwide.  Here are a few of these myths:

The Turkey In Maya Culture

Dating as far back as 300BC, the turkey was coveted and viewed as a vessel of the gods in Maya religion and culture.  The Maya believed that the turkey was gifted with exceptional powers and images and god-like imagery of turkeys were used in religious sacrificial rituals. 

Beautiful birds were imported as pets as wild turkeys were not fit to be used as sacrifices or tamed as pets.

The Turkey In Native American Culture

These are a few of the myths and stories that are part of the Native American culture:

  • They believed that before the Great Flood, turkeys could talk as humans do.  When the flood happened, turkeys helped the people escape from the water to higher ground.  The turkeys carried seed under their wings, but this weighed them down, and they had to stretch their necks to keep their heads above water. 

When they finally reached safety, the turkeys opened their bills to speak to the people, but the people could only hear a gobbling noise.  With the straining of their necks, they damaged their vocal cords, and since that day, the gobbling noise became their permanent voice.

  • Another myth is that the turkey gets burnt when it consumes hot embers, mistaking it for a firefly.  The burn causes the turkey’s head and neck to turn red.
  • In Hopi culture, Koyona Kachina is the turkey spirit of nature, and the Hopi honor the sprit with dances, and they dress in elaborate costumes adorned with beautiful turkey feathers.

The Meaning of A Turkey In Dreams

To dream of a turkey has many different meanings, and below are a few interpretations:

  • Flying turkeys – dreaming of a flying turkey means you will have a sudden rise in status due to a project or job that went well.  Enjoy the praise while it lasts!
  • A sick or dead turkey – this means there will be an attack on your pride, and you will be openly criticized.  You will not be able to do anything about it, but it will pass.  Let it go!
  • Feeding a turkey – this dream is a good omen as success in your business or work will bring prosperity and joy to your family life.
  • A female turkey – this dream means overwhelming masculine energy is overshadowing you, and you need to take your stand!
  • A single turkey – the solitary turkey in your dream means you are feeling isolated and alone and not quite sure where you fit in the lives of your friends and family.  You need to examine your part in the relationship.  Are you always there for them when they need you?  It’s in the giving that will secure your position in the fold.

What The Turkey Teaches Us

The turkey teaches us to be grateful for what we have and always share our bounty with others.  When we give gifts of ourselves, we will receive the same grace when needed.  You need to be proud of who you are and not be afraid of showcasing your strengths and showing your attributes to the world.  Stand up for yourself to reach your goals and create the life of your dreams.

Turkeys also teach us to effectively use our energies to focus on what’s essential in our lives and not worldly things that will not bring lasting happiness.


The turkey is symbol of prosperity and abundance, and it teaches us to be thankful for what we have and be grateful enough to share our harvest with others.  Enduring changes and having a solid and honest work ethic to provide for our loved ones is one of the turkey’s symbolic traits.

Nurturing and protecting the relationships of family and friends is essential in living a good life. Believing in ourselves and standing up for our beliefs, together with the focus on what’s important to us, will have a good and lasting effect on our future hopes and dreams.

Other Popular Spirit Animals

See if you relate to any of these popular spirit animals.