Vulture Work

Living inspired by Vulture is a strange thing; they are not your typical animal for this sort of thing. Goat, bear, wolf, snake, raven– I’ve seen people work with these spirits far more often.

One of the things I’ve learned very quickly about Vulture is that they are very defined by their relationship to their food, and so too I’ve found myself in a similar situation lately. Vultures are opportunistic eaters–scavengers–and since late last year I have been leaning that way too. Not freegan, per-se (though I would be dumpster diving for food much more often if most of them weren’t padlocked in my area), but almost a third of what I eat now comes to me for free through my work in a local branch of my city’s food bank.

It’s often “ugly” food; aesthetically unpleasant, on the verge of spoiling, or unsaleable for some other reason. It comes to us by the truck-load. We divvy it up, handling all sorts of gross bread and produce, bag it, and put it out in the “store” for the local poor, homeless, and otherwise food-insecure can eat a good meal at home. And as a volunteer, I can take stuff home, so I wind up eating whatever was left over from more affluent kitchens. The discarded corpses of their grocery store runs, you might say.

Moreover, I’m finding that meat is becoming a sacrament to me. Inching ever closer to veganism over the past year (hard cheese is really the only thing holding me back at the point, food-wise), I guess at some point I’ve decided that meat is off-limits re: food scavenging. Likely for reasons relating to the fact that I know I could never bring myself to kill an animal for food, and that I don’t know anyone else either who would or is in a position to do so. Or maybe that, being a human, scavenging meat is pretty a risky venture. My body is telling me that this is right for me, that I feel cleaner doing this, but my spirituality is playing catch-up as I figure out how this fits. It does, but I’m having a hard time putting it to words. I feel like, once I eliminate animal products from my diet almost entirely, I will be able to focus better on the gross, smelly Work that I’m supposed to be doing now. In the future, this will probably change, as I’d like to own a goat and chickens sometime down the road, but for now this is taking me down the right path.

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