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Emma-Jayne Saanen

Myth: The Children of Vulture

‘Sacred Scavenger: Lammergeier’

In the early days, before physical forms became static, the People cast off their old forms in exchange for new ones far more often. Sometimes a physical form was abandoned because there were no more lessons to learn from it. Sometimes a physical form was left behind because it was too old and worn to keep up with the Person within. And sometimes a physical form was cast off to aid another, an exchange of energy through the gift of flesh.

It did not take long for the unwanted old physical forms to dominate the lands. There was nowhere for them to go. With them they brought disease and death, forced eviction of a Person from their form. The problem wrought by the old physical forms spiralled out of control.

Sky and Earth despaired. Their World was suffering. Unsure what to do, they called forth a council of the most powerful nature spirits.

At the council, it was agreed that while the old forms must go elsewhere, they too were as sacred as the People they once belonged to and must be treated with respect. But no solution could be found.

From her home high in the mountains, Mother Vulture watched all of the events unfold and knew what she had to do. In her nest, Mother Vulture laid a vast clutch of black eggs. From within were born the first scavengers, all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures – birds as mighty as her, flies as swift as her and micro-organisms as hidden as her. They all drew close to their Mother, and Vulture set them to their task.

“My Children! My beautiful and noble Children! Sky, Earth and Those Who Dwell Between need your aid. They grow weary of the stench of physical death. You will go out into the World and handle unwanted Bodies with love and compassion. You will not judge them. You will treat them all as equals. With your gift of life, you can renew these abandoned forms, you can transform them into the elements of new forms. Go out into the World and work your magic! Renew the remains! Make them live again!”

And out into the World Mother Vulture’s Children went. They consumed every last piece of the used and useless physical forms, transforming them into the raw elements needed to build newer, stronger forms. Sky and Earth were pleased with Mother Vulture’s gift to the World, and bestowed Vulture’s Children with the title Sacred Scavenger.

While Sky and Earth have never forgotten what Mother Vulture did for the World, over millennia Those Who Dwell Between did. They forgot what the World was like before Vulture’s Children came, sick and tainted, and turn their noses up in revulsion at the work of the Sacred Scavengers.

The Sacred Scavengers have never forgotten their role in the World, and without complaint they carry on renewing the remains and making them live again. As their suns souls reincarnated and dispersed throughout Creation, more People are being awoken to the role of Sacred Scavenger and are incorporating the gift of renewal into their lives.

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The original illustration for this myth is available to buy on Etsy.

Prints of the illustration are available on DeviantArt,

4 Comments

  1. That’s wonderful Emma. Thank you for sharing :)

  2. ‘Sacred Scavenger’ is a term a friend and I have been using for quite sometime now. We’re hoping to get something published on it eventually. Glad to see this get more coverage. And wow, as always, such beautiful artwork!

    • I knew I had heard the phrase somewhere before! It would be fantastic to get something published on the topic. I have a so-called friend who gives me grief about being drawn to work with animal remains, so having something I could point to would be useful.

      And thank you for the compliment on my art. :)

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