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A Murder of Crows

Standing outside my office building yesterday, I watched in wonder as a murder of crows gathered, swooping and gliding, over my head.  20-25 of them – black slashes drawn boldly against the sky – they cawed raucously to one another as they danced overhead.  Spiralling acrobatics punctuated their flight, as they would come together, screaming and diving, then splitting into smaller groups that would spin around one another, only to meet up again with the others, and circle back to the spot directly over where I stood.

We have crows in our city, they’re everywhere.  But this is the first time I can ever remember seeing the aerial display that I saw yesterday.  It was almost as though they were trying to tell me something, since they would swirl out and away, disappearing from view for a few seconds, but would always return to the same place – over my head.

So, I searched my memory for meanings behind the crows… but all I came up with were the battle crows and the Morrighan.  Not comforting images, to be sure, with all the imagery of battles and death.  I knew, too, that there were different meanings between seeing 1 or 2 crows, to seeing a whole murder of them.

And the fact that they kept coming back to me, had me just a little uneasy… so I went searching for deeper interpretations.  And found this:

*”Ravens and Crows represent magick, mystery, and sacred law as well as battle, and the mysteries of the Crone and Matron (warrior goddess). A gathering of ravens is called an “unkindness”while a group of crows is a “murder”. They are highly intelligent birds, and have been known to follow armies for many miles. In Native American Myth, Raven is a Creator/Trickster god. In Celtic lore, the raven is sacred to Badb (whose name means “Battle Crow”and the Morrigan as well as Bran and Lugh. In Greek lore it is sacred to Hecate, and Apollo among others. In Norse tradition, the two ravens that sit on the shoulders of Odin are called Huginn and Muninn (Mind and Memory). As guardians through the cycle of death and rebirth, the scintillating rainbow colors in their dark wings remind us that even in the midst of darkness we have the power to touch the light.” *

I know that I’m reaching a new place in my life.  I’m a grandmother now.  I’m finished with the “having children” part, and have moved into the “almost done raising them” phase.  YoungerDaughter is graduating from high school this year, and OnlySon is, of course, now a teenager.  Pretty soon, they’ll all be off on their own adventures – and I’m fine with that.  Truly.

There are still struggles, and I’m going through some of them now, having changed last year from being “Married – with children” to “Single Mom, single income”.  It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve managed.  And now, with the addition of 3 more people to the household, it’s become a whole new type of struggle.  We’ll get through this, too, I know – but it won’t be easy.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s the message that the crows were trying to impart with their aerial dance and mock battle yesterday. 

“Join with those around you, for if you fly alone… there is no dance, no glorious battle to make life better… Dance, fly, dive and soar… chase the dream of something better – and make it yours.”

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3 thoughts on “A Murder of Crows

  1. Several months ago I read an article on MSN bout the intelligence of ravens. A group of scientist did a study in which they wore masks of famous people and more or less picked on a selected group of ravens. It seems that the ravens were able to communicate with each other about the human meanies. When the person in the mask would come by the whole group would retaliate and try to chase off the offender. They even waited several years without any contact with the birds they had bothered and came back some five years later. On one occasion there was a nest of babies that reacted just as intensely as the larger adult group did years before. What make this interesting is that the baby birds were reacting on there own with no coaching from the adults. Mama bird was elsewhere at the time, so it seems the offended raven is able to communicate with the others in its group to warn of various offenders.

  2. Morrigan, Hecate, and crows have all gotten a bad rap. 😉

    I’ve always been fascinated with crows … we have a lot of them at work (though I haven’t been treated to a display like what you describe!) and I usually talk to them when I’m walking past as they hunt for bugs in the grass. A couple of years ago I was able to watch two adults and an older juvenile trying to teach a little one to fly … too bad he wasn’t having any part of it. 😆

    You may have already seen some of this but I had this bit on crow squirreled away on my computer:

    “Crows are the bringer of messages from the spirit world, and are thought to dwell beyond the realm of time and space.

    When you meet crow, he could be telling you that there will be changes in your life and that possibly you should step by the usual way you view reality and look into the inner realms …walk your talk…be prepared to let go of your old thinking and embrace a new way of viewing yourself and the world.

    Crow knows the unknowable mysteries of creation and is the keeper of the sacred law. Crow medicine signifies a firsthand knowledge of a higher order of right and wrong than that indicated by the laws created in human culture.

    Crow is also the guardian of ceremonial magic and healing. In any healing circle, Crow is present. Crow guides the magic of healing and the change in consciousness that will bring about a new reality and dispel “dis-ease” or illness. You can rest assure when ever crows are around, magic is near by and you are about to experience a change in consciousness. Crow can give you the courage to enter the darkness of the void, which is the home of all that is not yet in form.”

    • Oh, I agree that the “darker” aspects have always gotten the short end of the stick. Most people automatically associate “dark” with “evil” – when EVERYTHING has it’s place and necessity. If there was no Dark, the Light would burn everything to a cinder.

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