So if you have been vibing with me for a while, you know that I hate Squirrels. I actually don't “hate” Squirrels, per se (since they are God's creatures), but I despise their actions in that they eat up all the vegetables in my garden. I also am not particularly fond of Snakes. I respect the message of their Animal Spirit Medicine but they give me the heeby-jeebies because they have no legs and just slither around (ewwww!), often catching me off-guard. Granted, I’ve had my share of experiences with Snake as part of my Shamanic training in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize, Peru and the Caribbean, but my human nature Self stays far from them! So back to today's post - this is about Crows.
Why do you all hate Crows? Why do you feel they are dark and evil and represent Black Magic? (These are the commentaries I hear when I talk to the uninformed). True story: I did date a guy once waaaay back in the day who was deathly scared of ALL birds because of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, “The Birds”, and he came to my home only once, never to return because I had 2 lovebirds and a Cockatiel named Mitzi who was the Boss of everything (ba ha ha ha! Needless to say that relationship never lasted; but I digress!)….. So Crows are often confused with Ravens – truth be told, there are actually 5 species of Crows with Raven being 1, and Raven being the bigger of the 2.
Let me tell you about my observations and my experience with Crow medicine. Crows are really curious creatures. I love watching them watch me, tilting their head to one side, eyeing me up & down with 1 eye, muttering every now and then, and yes - I talk back to them. “What message do you have for me today, my Friend?” I usually ask, and then I tilt my head and study them, mirroring their behavior and muttering back in response in my best Crow language. I’m sure my neighbors think I’ve gone mad!
When I hear Crow speak, I am instantly drawn to see what all the commotion is about as typically they are very loud, boisterous and vociferous. Crow’s call demands attention as if they are alerting you or some other Animal friend of something they deem to be important whether it is a warning or caution or they are actually arguing. On Tuesdays when the trash goes out, I now make sure the lid is totally closed on the garbage can, because they will eat everything and I’ve had them ransack my trash cans and create a mess on the sidewalk. I remember coming down the driveway one morning, and Crow was on my roof just carefully watching me with that 1 eye and a cocked head, and the minute I drove off, I heard him squawking loudly, only to look in my rear-view mirror and see the family ripping apart my garbage bags. Apparently, he was the watchman and alerted the others that I was leaving :-).
Crows teach us there is strength in numbers so the message is ‘Don’t go it alone; call on your Brothers for help and protection”. Now I have also heard them just having regular conversations in my tree, and I swear I’ve heard 1 or 2 literally grumbling to themselves (or that’s what it sounds like to me as I’ve been listening to them for years). Some people say they’re thieves and that they are bullies because they are not easily intimidated (I love this about Crows). They also have a bad rep for being aggressive (saw a bunch of them gang-up on a random cat just casually meandering down the sidewalk (but probably as payback if you ask me). I have also seen & heard them fighting with the Blue Jays and Mockingbirds (territory? food? dominance?). When Crow speaks, he says “Pay attention!” If you study them you’ll hear distinct differences in the language of the Crow and can even learn how to communicate with them.
Crows are quite social and are not usually loners. You may see one perched on a light-pole or on a branch somewhere, but listen carefully and you’ll hear them communicating with a partner somewhere in the distance, almost like a ‘call-and-response’ pattern. When I hear this pattern of ‘speech’, I remind myself I am long overdue to attend a kirtan, or to take some time to do some chanting. A lone Crow by himself is usually the one who posts-up and keeps look-out for the others in the group. Speaking of group, did you know that a bunch of Crows together is called a “Murder” of Crows? When Crow speaks, take it as reminder to reach out, connect, communicate and commiserate with your Cronies. Study Crow's behaviors and movements, and practice their calls too and show them you are willing to work with them.
Which brings me to another really cool fact about Crows: they are pretty intelligent creatures and quite generous. If you are generous and kind to them they will repay you by gifting you with trinkets (like a bottle top or soda can pop top). Did you know that in the Bible, the prophet Elijah was fed by Ravens and Crows while hiding in the wilderness east of the Jordan River (1st Kings 17: 2-16)? How cool is that! There are even stories of Crows bringing coins or dollars they steal to offer to you as a gift for your generosity (I’ve not been that lucky). I put feed and water out for the birds in my backyard so I’m always finding random trinkets in random places in my yard, so I now have a collection of small stones and glass marbles in a pile near their favorite tree on my lawn so they can go ‘shopping’ for trinkets to gift to others if they so choose.
Crows are quite magical creatures. The symbolism of Birds in general is that since they are associated with flight, they can ascend from the lower Earth realm to bring your prayers and petitions to ‘God’ in the Upper Realms, and remind you to let your dreams take flight. They’ve always been associated with magic, having had a reputation of being the Consorts and Familiars of witches and magicians, so when Crow speaks, call on your magical powers. Don’t be afraid of the dark. Meditate and ask Crow to take your prayers from the dark to the Light, to the Spirit realm for healing for yourself or others. This is especially a beautiful ritual that can be done at the Winter Solstice.
I love my Crows and I hope you get to know them too. If you would like to study about Crows and other animal totems, I’d recommend the following authors for their magical work with the members of the animal kingdom and Spirit Medicine: Stephen Farmer and Ted Andrews – see references below.
“If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be Crows”. (Henry Ward Beecher)
In good health,
Dr. Audrey Steele, Acupuncture Physician
Ted Andrews. (1999). Animal-Wise; The Spirit Language and Signs of Nature. Dragon Heart Publishing.
Ted Andrews. (2007). Animal Speak; The Spiritual Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small. Llewellyn Publications.
Stephen D. Farmer. (2006) Animal Spirit Guides and Earth Magic.
Stephen D. Farmer. (2004). Power Animals – How to Connect with Your Animal Spirit Guide.