“If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher
Crows have a bad reputation; depicted as as a scavenger, a bad omen or the harbinger of death in many myths and legends worldwide. According to folklore crows are responsible for escorting the dead to the underworld.
In Christian tradition, the crow is considered evil, the opposite of the dove. They pluck out the eyes of sinners and carry the spirit of the damned to its final destination. The crow of the Bible was selfish because it did not return word of the new world to Noah at the time of the great flood.
In Celtic mythology, the crow is associated with death and destruction especially in warfare and times of battle. Many Celtic goddesses such as Badb took on the form of the crow during war. In Greek mythology the crow was white but because of its betrayal to god Apollo he was punished and cursed so that its feathers were scorched.
However,the crow is no bird brain. Research has shown that they are capable of remembering faces. The crow recognizes those who are kind to him. They are part of the song bird family although not known for singing. Because of the complex structure of his voice box, the crow can mimic the sound of other birds, animals, car alarms and even human voices. They are omnivorous and can easily adapt to their surroundings, therefore enabling their survival.
In many Native American tribes the crow is revered as the sacred keeper of law; an oracle of divination and magic and a symbol of rebirth and change. They are a powerful spirit guides and the message of their medicine should not be ignored despite the negative myths surrounding the crow.
The Native American practice of animal medicine embraces the idea that when an animal crosses our path, whether in waking life or in a dream, its message to us has the power to heal by bringing aspects of ourselves to consciousness.
Crow medicine or as the Cherokee call it, Koga Nvwati, gives us the ability to make decisions, open ourselves to change and experience magic in the world around us. The crow is a shapeshifter, thought to dwell in both the physical and the spiritual world simultaneously.