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Friday, January 14, 2011

Animal Signs: The Crow

I was sitting at my computer this morning looking for inspiration on what to write on the blog. I couldn't think straight or concentrate because a flock of crows appeared outside my window and won't stop cawing. Despite having taken some animal communication courses I'll admit it took me awhile to realize they were the inspiration I was seeking!

It seems humans have a long love/hate relationship with crows. Some cultures have viewed crows as symbols of death perhaps because of their dark features, somewhat unnerving call, and their tendency to eat carrion. They are often featured in ancient artwork circling above scenes of death and battles. In storybooks the "bad witch" often has a pet crow or raven and they are often linked to black magic. On the other hand, many cultures consider the crow to have medicinal powers and psychic abilities.

In his book, "Into the Heart of the Wild", Daniel Mapel describes crows as shamanic teachers. He believes crows assist us in seeing deeply into the nature of reality, supporting and developing one's intuitive ability. Crows are seen to be helpful to those who want to learn to see beyond the everyday world and for those who feel a spiritual calling and want to follow it. Mapel recommends crow essence for those that wish to develop their intuitive abilities.

Whether they view the crow as good or bad, it seems all cultures consider the crow to be a highly intelligent creature. In the Aseop's fable "The Crow and the Pitcher", a thirsty crow comes across a pitcher filled with water but he can't reach the bottom with his beak. Unable to tip the pitcher over he drops pebbles one by one into the pitcher until the water raises to a level he can reach. The moral of the story is that of ingenuity - thinking things through often reaps greater rewards than brute strength. The moral is also one of persistency to reach your goals.

The intelligence of crows continues to be proven in scientific studies and modern observation. It seems crows have adapted well to our big cities. In areas such as New York, street lighting seems to have allowed crows to feel very safe to roost in the downtown core at night. It seems the street lights illuminate the sky so that the crows can see any incoming predators. The typical reaction to what has become a noise and bird dropping problem has been to shoot them. It hasn't been very successful.

The TED website, features "ideas worth spreading". It's a really interesting website on multiple topics. There is a segment on this website where Joshua Klein talks about the intelligence of crows and outlines his experiments with the creatures.

Joshua Klein suggests that as well as looking at why some animals are endangered and becoming extinct, we should also look at why some species are thriving and adapting in remarkable ways. I really like that idea. It's a very positive spin rather than a negative one and perhaps holds a lot of insight. Klein suggests we might be able to interact in ways to find an equilibrium with such species rather than exterminating them. His belief is that we could find a useful balance. If you watch his short video you'll see he takes this as far as to have created a vending machine with the idea that crows might pick up garbage for us and deposit it in machines in exchange for food. It's amazing scientific theory into action.

I'm not sure if the vending machine idea will catch on but I do know this. When I stepped outside of my controlling mind that was trying to shut off nature thinking I had the answer in my brain, my computer, or in books,this morning, and focused on nature and the crows for just a second, I found some very interesting information I never would have come up with on my own. As soon as I allowed the crows to be a focus and starting doing some research on them, they became quiet. Strange but true. I have no idea where they went- perhaps another realm???


  1. Hi, I just wanted to say I really like your blog. I found this post today just as i was writing about crows too! How's about that for a coincedence. :)

  2. Spooky, I was looking at crows too, and my birthday is 14th January...

    All that aside, around where I grew up there is a saying that crows are "old builders" reincarnated to stay with their work :o)