What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the Crow? For me, aside from the black birds that scavenge, it was the mystical belief that they are omens of death.
In my writing, I needed a mystical creature that could deliver a riddle from a higher power about the future. So, I started researching and quickly became fascinated by the Crow. Similar to the Raven it appears in mythology as a soothsayer, as a creator and cleanser and as omens of death. Okay, so I wasn’t completely wrong, but neither did I know near all of it.
Among the North America tribes the Crow was considered as the guardian of the sacred law that could see not only the past, but the present and the future.
In Celtic lore, the battle goddess Morrigan would shapeshift into either a crow or a raven and they were both seen as allies and companions.
Scottish folklore said the crow had 27 different sounds and each one of them correlated to an occasion, foretelling anything from coming guests to good fortune to an imminent death. Truly I found this fascinating and wanted to learn more about the 27 different cries. By the way, the number 27 was derived from the magical 3 x 9 derivative.
To the Greek, the crow was considered an unlucky warning. In fact, while crows were sacred to the Greek goddess Athene, she refused to allow them to perch atop the roof of Acropolis in Athens because they were omens of death. Even though they were considered omens of death, it did not prevent the Greek god Apollo from shapeshifting into a crow when he fled Typhon.
Medieval bestiaries saw the crow as birds of parental devotion and it was said that the crow led the migration of storks. Medieval Christians thought the crow was a sign of the devil because of its scavenging conduct, but it was also an icon of fidelity because it was thought that crows did not seek a new mate when its mate died. Magical properties were given to the crow as well, which included the skill to foretell the future, dismantle the past and to educate humans about how to mix humor, playfulness and love.
Interesting lore—or so I thought—was the Australian aboriginal legend. I found it in The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures, written by John & Caitlin Matthews © 2008:
“In Australian aboriginal legend, Crow, along with Tortoise and Frog, dissented in the corroboree (gathering) that suggested that Kangaroo and Emu, and Dingo and Goanna should mate. The animals fell to fighting but when they grew hungry, pelicans dived for fish to feed them and a fire was started to cook them. Crow warned them that to cook fish away from where they had been caught was illegal and the animals began to argue. Frog threw his voice to make it sound as if Crow was insulting Kangaroo, so confusing the other animals that they fell out even more and decided for ever after to have their own languages.”
All of this was a far cry from the 1994 movie, The Crow. In it, the lead character comes back as an undead entity bent on avenging his and his fiancée’s murder. Entertaining, yeah, and maybe he was loosely considered an omen of death, but he was really the cause of the death of those that murdered him and his fiancée. It was revenge and nothing more.
So, what do you think? Do you believe in the magical elements of Crows? For me, I don’t know, but I do know I had fun using the crow as a magical creature that showed up, shapeshifted into a beautiful woman with birdlike qualities and clothing made of feathers...here she is:
The crow shape shifted into a woman, with almond shaped eyes and long hair, both as black as a crow’s feather, and a curvaceous body encased in a midnight cat-like-pantsuit made of flowing feathers. A solitary feather floated and came to rest in the center of the table. (It's a work in progress, unedited, so go easy please! LOL)
I hope everyone has an awesome, relaxing, worry-free weekend!
(All photos snagged from Google Images. No copyright infringement was intended.)