Written by Algoth’s Grove
“They all prophesied that he carried the message of death in those ebony black wings of his… ‘tis funny, for he brought me only diamonds and jewels…”
The Crow and the Raven have many stories ingrained in those black wings of theirs, stories of death, disaster and mayhem; Ill omens and fortunes of doom. However, this is not entirely true to all the fables across the world. The birds belonging to the genus Corvus which we will be concentrating on in this article are the crows and the ravens, however the genus itself comprises of more than a hundred birds including magpies, jays and rooks. All these birds are highly intelligent and self-aware. They are known to have a social structure which includes similar behavioral patterns to us humans and have been seen to assist each other in foraging for food.
There are vast differences between the crow and the raven, where the crow is a more socially accepting bird and can be found in cities and built up areas, the raven enjoys the wild. There are of course tiny differences in the species of crow and raven, but we are not writing about those semantics in this article. Our purpose here is to look at the mythology of these extremely popular birds.
Within folklore the raven and the crow have stood side by side, either being hated or venerated. The Inuit culture believing in two separate crows that created the world. One bringing in the light and the other being a trickster god. In the Nordic tales, Óðinn, the All father kept two ravens at his side, Huginn and Munnin, thought and memory. Each day they would bring news to him of what they had heard and seen, making them his ears and eyes. In the bible, the raven is mentioned countless times in an ill light. In Greek mythology, the raven is the messenger of Apollo and the bringer of news of death. In the Celtic traditions, the raven and the crow have been mentioned to accompany the great Queen Morrighan, she would be able to shape-shift into the bird and in one of her forms, take the souls of those slain on the battlefield and cause victory for the side that she chose.
It is peculiar though that the crow and the raven have both found themselves with a similar title, as the messenger of the gods. The ones who could always exist in this world and the next simultaneously. It is for this reason that we believe that both these incredible birds are messengers. If you see a crow or raven, it is definitely bringing a message of sorts, it will then either be the first thought that enters your mind’s eye, or the first sign thereafter that is the message that the birds wish you to know.
If the raven or the crow is your totem animal as is with many pagan folks, then the medicine that they offer is far more than that of messages. The raven and the crow are the totem to those who have both feet in spirit and often step back into reality. They choose to dive into the deep end to learn the hardest lessons and in doing so bring greater healing to those around them. Both Crow and Raven Medicine brings the gift of the gate-keeping, and that of shape-shifting. Those who walk this path alongside these powerful birds hold an immense responsibility of shape-shifting into the healer that is required for the moment. They truly understand that this world is a complete illusion created by the mind and so can walk between worlds to bring spiritual understanding and healing into the illusion to awaken their fellow brothers and sisters.
Adaptation and grounding are both strong lessons of the crow and the raven. Always seeing everything from all perspectives, as the Toltec’s teach of a fluid axis of perception, so the crow and the raven beat this lesson with those powerful black wings of theirs. The Crow and The Raven teach protection of all that you hold dear. They are family orientated and extremely loyal and faithful individuals, protecting their own with their lives. They are also extremely open to visions, dreams and messages from spirit. It is a downfall though, with those that the crow and the raven have chosen to sometimes forget that they are living in a human incarnation and are often called dreamers or known to have their heads in the clouds.
Those that are chosen by the crow and the raven will know, the call is loud and clear and the signs are definite. There is no question when you are called. It is wise to answer the crow call, it is wise to answer the raven call and sometimes they only walk with you for a time, but mostly the raven and the crow are lifetime totem animals or spiritual guardians. If you are called then begin writing down your dreams, begin reading on your new totem animal and look for them in the wild. Learn what you can and listen to your intuition. Those with the crow and raven by their side have powerful intuitions but some of them do not trust. The crow and the raven are urging you to trust that inner voice as it is your strength that comes from your spirit. You are here to fulfill a duty, to bring light into the shadows, to forge a spiritual connection for people who have lost their way, to call people onto their true path, and to see into the spirit of all those that you encounter.
Those with Crow and Raven eyes have a gift that is powerful beyond measure but just so is the responsibility to destroy their own megalomania and negativity and learn to trust and walk with the light of spirit in an open, non-judgemental, loving, protective, authentic way. It is imperative that if you have been chosen to carry this medicine in the world, that you do so responsibly and to always do so with perfect love and perfect trust as your intention!
The Call of the Crow
The Call of the Raven