I have crows on the brain. There are many of them in my neighborhood. They speak to me. They give me messages which I sometimes understand, but mostly I don’t.
The last walk I took around my little beach town, as I was climbing uphill, I passed a plastic fast food bag lying on the sidewalk. Even though I thought that I should pick it up, I was only beginning my walk, and I didn’t want to lug a dirty piece of plastic with me for the remainder. So I tried to ignore it on the ground. But the farther I travelled from the damned thing, the more it gnawed on me that I should go back. If I don’t, I said to myself, it may blow into the ocean and kill a dolphin. Oh, feck it! I turn around and tromp down the hill a bit, pick up the plastic, and lumber back up. At the crest of the hill, I spy another piece of plastic on the sidewalk a few steps away. Just as I am thinking, “I guess now I have to pick that up, too”, a crow flies down, hops to the plastic, looks at me (did it just wink?), picks it up, and flies away. I felt like I passed a test of some kind. I laughed aloud, sending vibrations of mirth after those shadowy beating wings. Take that back to your world!
Crows are powerful totems which travel among this reality that we are currently conscious of and others. When are humans traveling through layers of veil? Most often when we are dreaming, meditating, deeply in prayer, but also as we are dying. I do not consider crows black magic, but rather as heralds and companions of this coming and going between realms of consciousness. I imagine this is how they came about their grim reputations.
I have been tearing through many of my dream journals trying to find the entry which describes the moment that I wasn’t merely imagining the crows taking time to communicate to me, I knew they were going out of their way to do so.
I was in a hospital visiting a sick friend (no one I knew in ‘real’ waking life). This person was telling me they were feeling better, and I nodded in agreement. But the next moment I looked at him in his bed, he was wasting away, and I could tell he was not going to be with us much longer. I became aware of a cloaked figure lurking in the large sterile room. I know it sounds cliché, but he had a heavy hood pulled over his head so that I could not see his face. The figure was then standing next to me, facing the person on the bed. He brought his hands up to his hood. I knew that I was going to see what death looked like any moment now. He began to draw the hood back…and…at the precise moment I was going to see his face… a crow startled me awake by cawing loudly right outside my bedroom window!!!
I consider crow an ally and consider it an honor to feel that it is my totem.
More on the meaning of crows in folklore:
Crow haiku which made me want to set the record straight: