Over the last two years, I’ve become increasingly attuned to animal guides. I’ve started noting their presence in ways I hadn’t previously (aside from a certain type of big yellow butterfly that always calls to mind my grandmother). In January 2016, I got one of Jess Carlson’s Power Animal readings. While both of us initially thought, “Albatross? Really? Huh…” this bird’s ability to weather storms and power through long journeys with no clear destination, somehow ending up in exactly the right place, was a perfect energy for me that year.

I also had some messages from hawks and woodpeckers [insert bad pun here]. But by far, the animals that showed up for me most often and most visibly were turkeys.

Yup.

Turkeys. Definitely not your typical animal guides.

While my mom and I were driving along the back roads of Connecticut trying to find a metaphysical shop that seemed similar to my vision for Phoenix & Lotus, a flock of turkeys wandered into the street in front of her car. We stopped and watched as a dozen or so birds ambled across the way. When we finally got to the shop, the owner smiled and said it was a sign my venture would be successful.

I started running into a pair of turkeys that lived in the tech park where I worked. At first I didn’t think much of it, but then I started finding feathers. Large wing feathers, wee fluffy downy bits, iridescent medium-sized feathers, small striped feathers… all clearly from the turkeys. OK. Message received. The turkeys had gifts for me. When I did some research, I learned they represent community (not because of the whole Thanksgiving association, but because they’re communal animals). They represent harvest, abundance, and prosperity. They’re also a potent reminder to practice gratitude–want more of that abundance? Appreciate what you’ve got!

For me, the turkeys were also a sign that while I was going through a lot of upheaval and transition, I had a strong community to help me through. And that support went both ways… my colleagues and I held space for each other during varying degrees of professional woes, marital strife, family health crises and more.

The professional woes mounted and our office became increasingly toxic. Whenever I went for a walk outside to get away from the bad vibes, I’d look for the turkeys. Their creepy prehistoric heads and odd bobbing gait calmed me. Seeing them helped me put things in perspective.

Finally, I found another job and gave my notice. While I was working out my last two weeks, a coworker and I decided to try to raise morale with an impromptu snack time one Friday afternoon. As we gazed out the window, someone asked if anyone had seen the turkeys recently.

“They were relocated,” our facilities manager said.

“What?”

“Someone complained to the landlord, said they were a threat. Especially because they’re not afraid of people.”

I was sad for a minute, then realized I’m moving on to a new adventure and so are the turkeys. Maybe they’ve been reassigned to serve as guides for someone else who could use some hope. Wherever they are, I hope they bring good vibes. I’m look forward to finding a new guide for the next stage of my journey. But I’ll keep my appreciation for turkeys and hope they’ll revisit me from time to time.

How have your guides changed over time?