Vulture Spiritual Meaning & Symbolism: The Complete Guide

Vultures are iconic animals that have captivated our interest for many years. But despite this, they’re often misunderstood!

Let’s take a look at the spiritual meaning and symbolism associated with vultures, and what it really means when you see them.

Vulture Symbolism & Spiritual Meaning

Most people associate vultures with death. As scavengers, they show up wherever there’s corpses — if you see vultures flying overhead, there’s an almost certain chance that there’s a dead critter right below them.

But are they actually a bad omen? What do they truly symbolize?

While people can be intimidated by their behavior and appearance, vultures hold incredible spiritual meanings due to their importance to nature. They’re transformative creatures that help to recycle nutrients from beings who’ve passed on and return their energy into the world. They’re also quite beautiful, with their glossy plumage and unique, featherless heads.

If you’re creeped out by seeing vultures, don’t be. Let’s take a look at some of the positive spiritual meanings associated with these birds.

1. Insight & Perception

Vultures are known for their “circling” behavior. They soar far overhead, wheeling in slow circles to get a better view of the ground below. This lets them spot potential food and water sources and keeps them safe from predators. When one vulture descends on some carrion, other vultures can spot this and come from miles around.

This high soaring literally gives them a “bird’s eye view” of everything that they need to know about. For this reason, the spiritual meaning of vultures is associated with perception. You have to be really perceptive to notice a camouflaged predator or a potential meal from that high up!

Vultures are also very insightful. Animals like this have to be able to spot potential danger quickly and respond in a way that doesn’t put them at greater risk. Their eyesight is very well-developed, and they know how to rely on their intuition to tell them when something is wrong.

Flying vultures circling overhead

When you see a vulture, consider this — how are you cultivating greater perception and insight in your own life? Are there any situations that you’ve willfully blinded yourself to? What dangers or potential opportunities might you be ignoring?

2. Resourcefulness

Vultures are pretty much the epitome of resourcefulness. They take death and turn it into life. They’re transformative creatures that survive by cleaning up the environment in ways most other animals can’t.

Seeing a vulture can be encouragement to improve your ability to be resourceful. You might have untapped resources in your life that you could use right now, you just need a little imagination. Take stock of what’s available to you and see what you can repurpose in an innovative way.

3. Rebirth

Vultures are like nature’s morticians. They tend the dead, allowing the bodies of other creatures to go back to nature to be reused. This is how they survive.

The symbolism of vultures is tied to rebirth because this process isn’t possible without some kind of death, even if it’s just in a metaphorical sense. By consuming the dead, vultures help the cycle of life, death, and rebirth keep turning. No one is forgotten or neglected, every creature is accepted and allowed to return in a different form.

If you’re going through a hard time right now, seeing a vulture can be a positive omen of change. You may have to allow your old habits and patterns to die before you can be reborn stronger than before.

It’s never too late — you can always reinvent and renew yourself however you want.

4. Protection

Vultures are very social animals. They’re also not quite as powerful or aggressive as other large birds that commonly consume live prey. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for some species of vulture to be unable to fly away from predators after a heavy meal!

All of this means that they need to look out for each other. They need to warn and protect each other to keep everyone safe. Seeing a vulture can mean you’re benefiting from spiritual protection. Think of it like having an animal buddy willing to soar high and keep an eye out for you.

Vultures also consume corpses, which are generally not regarded favorably. They take this negativity into themselves and turn it into life energy. In this respect, you can even view them as protectors against negative energy.

5. Patience

Vultures are patient animals. They’re not predators — at most, some species may pick off a very young and sick animal now and then. They need to scavenge for their food, and that often means soaring high and keeping careful watch until a meal appears. Sometimes, they might have to soar for hours at a time to watch and wait for a sick or injured animal to pass away.

If vultures appear to you, consider the spiritual meaning of patience. But don’t confuse this with being passive! You need to wait, but do so with your eyes open. Don’t let impatience push you to make any hasty decisions.

6. Community

As mentioned above, vultures are very social. They look out for each other, lead each other to food, and share what they find. They have a careful hierarchy based on each individual’s size and strength.

The spiritual meaning of seeing a vulture can be a reminder that you’re part of a larger community. Everyone has their place, and the ability to contribute our unique gifts is what helps make things better and easier for everyone. Have you been engaged with your local community lately?

If you’ve been feeling lonely, then vultures might symbolize the need for you to find a community. Look to their virtues of patience and insight to discover new opportunities to connect with other people.

7. Opportunism

Vultures can circle for hours on end in search of a meal. When they find one, they can’t really waste time. Wait too long, and other, larger carnivores may show up to steal it. Without a way to defend themselves against large mammals, vultures need to strike while the iron’s hot.

This can be an important lesson about seizing opportunities. Sometimes, it can be very tempting to sit back, look for positive omens, and wait for good things to happen. But fortune favors the brave, and you can’t always wait for life to bring you what you want.

Seeing a vulture may be a reminder that you have more opportunities around you than you realize. It’s time to look at your life with new eyes. If you’re feeling intimidated about taking a chance and trying something new, this is your sign to let those feelings go and act.

8. Death

Vultures are, of course, also symbols of death. This can be a scary omen, especially if you or someone you know has been sick or injured.

It’s important to remember that this doesn’t always mean a literal death. Consider the Death card in tarot. While it’s often portrayed as a literal omen of doom in books and movies, this isn’t true in reality. Death isn’t about destruction, it’s about change.

For this reason, vultures can actually be a welcome omen of death. Consider this the other half of rebirth. Buzzards may not be warning you of a literal death, but a major change in your circumstances or self. It’s up to you if you wish to embrace this transformative energy or try to fight against it.

What Does It Mean When You Keep Seeing Vultures?

If you see one vulture, there might be a spiritual meaning behind it. If you see two, that might not change your perception too much — after all, vultures are pretty social animals.

But what if you keep seeing vultures over and over?

If you don’t live in an area where vultures regularly appear in the wild, you may see them in art, movies, or other media. You might even hear them mentioned in songs or stories. If these birds keep appearing to you, regardless of the method, it may be a message from the universe.

In some cases, deities associated with certain animals will send these animals as their messengers. Repeatedly seeing or hearing about vultures can be a call from one of these gods or goddesses. For example, the Egyptian deity Nekhbet was connected to vultures and portrayed as a vulture-headed woman. Another Egyptian deity, Mut, had vultures as a sacred animal.

Seeing vultures over and over can also indicate that they’re bringing a message that the universe really needs you to hear. Whatever message they carry is very important for you right now, so don’t ignore them.

Vultures As A Spirit Animal

Vultures are associated with cleansing, purification, balance, and harmony. They can appear as a spirit guide when you’re experiencing hardship. They lend you their strength to help you endure difficult times and emerge lighter.

They also help you learn to release what no longer serves you. When a buzzard is weighed down by a heavy meal to escape a predator, it will regurgitate so it can get away. They also don’t have any feathers on their heads, so they stay clean while eating. Vultures embody the power to let things go when they’re just weighing you down.

The spirit of the vulture can also appear to you when your life is about to change. Their energy can help you know how to be patient, when to seize opportunities, and how to sharpen your insight. As soaring birds, they also remind you to look at your situation from a different perspective.

People with a vulture as their spirit animal may be very ambitious, since these are opportunistic birds!

What Does It Mean When A Vulture Crosses Your Path?

When a vulture crosses your path in the physical world, you need to pay attention to the context. The number of vultures, as well as their behavior, can give you more insight into the spiritual meaning and what they’re trying to tell you.

For example, seeing one vulture perched on a roof is considered an omen of death. Someone in that house may be injured or ill. But seeing multiple vultures on your house is a sign that you’ll be receiving numerous opportunities soon.

Buzzards circling overhead is a warning of danger. The darker their feathers, the more serious the warning.

The Meaning Of A Flock Of Vultures

Seeing or dreaming about a flock of vultures can have one of several different spiritual meanings.

In general, depending on the context in which you see them, it emphasizes the message that they’re bringing you. If one vulture represents an opportunity, then ten represents many more. If one says you need to be patient, then five says you need to be that much more patient.

Seeing a flock of vultures in a dream can also be an omen of financial windfall. Someone close to you may inherit a large sum of money. It’s also possible that you’ll provide financial help to someone.

If a flock of vultures land near your home, an enemy may be heading in your direction. If they land on your home, they may signify an abundance of positive opportunities.

Are Vultures A Bad Omen?

Unless you’re hopelessly lost in the deep desert, seeing vultures isn’t always a bad omen. Many cultures around the world associate them with death and disease, but that’s only because they arrive to help things up.

The spiritual meaning and symbolism of a vulture is often positive or encouraging, reminding us to be patient, seize the opportunities presented to us, and take care of our communities. They inspire us to become more insightful and broaden our perspectives.

When they do arrive in a negative context, they come to warn us. Vultures aren’t scary or evil, they consume discarded things and negative energy and transmute them into life.

Vulture Symbolism In Different Cultures

Historically, vultures are considered to be symbols of death in one form or another. But whether this is a good or bad thing varies from culture to culture.

For example, they are sacred animals in Tibet because they clean up corpses and don’t feed on living things. People in Tibet even have a festival for these birds and associate them with the concept of reincarnation. To ancient Celtic peoples, vultures represented psychopomps who brought the spirits of the dead to the underworld.

To the people indigenous to North America, on the other hand, vultures were considered deceitful and aggressive. There, these birds were connected to death, disease, and misfortune.

The Spiritual Meaning Of A Black Vulture

Vultures come in colors ranging from nearly white to deepest black. In general, black vultures are warnings about bad luck or accidents.

However, it’s different if you see a black vulture in your dreams. In that context, these birds are considered a sign that you need to listen to your intuition. Tough times may be on the way, but your gut feelings will help you through it.

Biblical Meaning Of Seeing A Vulture

Since the Bible has been translated over and over so many times, it can sometimes be hard to tell what specific animals it references. That aside, it’s generally agreed that when it mentions large scavenging birds, it was probably talking about vultures or buzzards.

With this in mind, the Bible portrays them in a negative light. Vultures represent an unclean spirit and were associated with Babylon. Babylon was a wicked, rebellious city that was plagued with demons.

Vultures are also depicted consuming the bodies of fallen people. In this sense, they represent the final Day of Judgment and the death that’s said to be the fate of those who reject the Bible’s teachings.             

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, the spiritual meaning of seeing a vulture is often more positive than it is negative! These animals play a crucial role, and they’re often used to deliver us powerful messages.

If you’ve recently seen vultures and are having some trouble understanding what it means for you, send over a message. We love helping our reader interpret these signs so they can move forward in life with confidence.

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