Night Crow

Night CrowAmong the animals the crows are local celebrities. Common, but still beautiful; playful yet menacing, a carrion eater, surprisingly intelligent, quiet and mysteriously calculating at times, while boisterous at others; it's just such a teeter-totter of qualities that people might relate to. 

It is told that a crow is keen enough to know what you are up to. Try to approach with a gun and you'll never get close enough to a crow to get a shot off. One sight of you in the distance, or a hint on the wind, and they are gone. On the other hand, enter a crow's dominion unarmed and they'll often sit on a lofty branch nearby and loudly mock you. They know the difference.   Crows can mimic human speech.

The crow's strong symbolism has long existed in people's minds. Its blackness suggests the night, darkness and mystery, but because it is a creature of the air it also comes to symbolize creativity and divine inspiration (the air being inseparable from sky and heaven and a belief in higher powers). Given that, it's easy to see why the old Celtic bards could regard the crow as a kind of muse figure. In the crow we find this Yin-Yang-like juxtaposition of forces: light in darkness, and darkness in light. 

Many a faerie folk it was who once might appear as a crow or a raven. Sometimes even one of the old goddesses might take on such a form. The stuff of fairy tales now, but once upon a time part of a palpable mythic system, heeded as we now heed our own.

Among the Ancient Greeks and other European peoples crows were augurs-- they were consulted to divine the future and distant events. The caw of a crow was not something you could ignore lightly, charged as it was in the culture's belief system as a potent signal.

Because crows and ravens are so long-lived, the Greeks associated them with time, and their "father time", Cronos. The roots of the words for "time" and "crow" are intimately associated.

Crows were also intimately associated the Celtic crow god Bran as well as with the Indo-European gods. Here they assumed the role of wizened spies, messengers and confidants. Some say that the ravens in the Tower of London are the heirs to crows which once guarded the head of Bran at the very same spot in ancient times. 
Partly due to their association with Celtic fertility and war goddesses, and with what Christianized folk regarded as unwholesome paganism or witchcraft, crows and ravens gained an unsavory reputation. Then they especially became omens of death or ill fortune.

All these things were mixed around in days of yore. The lore remains mixed, but by now it's usually only faintly remembered- musty ol' impressions still lingering in the human memory bank. Stuff only fit for children's books.

Various indigenous North American peoples have regarded the crow as a great civilizer-- the harbinger of positive creative forces. But, he could also be a trickster. The crow's wicked intelligence could be used to aid the needy, or it could be used to chastise the wrong-headed. Similarly, the Chinese have regarded the crow as a strong representative of Yang forces-- that is, creativity or dynamic action (as opposed to receptivity and rest, Yin). 

From what dark, mysterious place does the human imagination draw? The raven and crow know. Out of this shadowy place comes the radiant spark of creativity that flashes forth as a new idea or image. And that's essentially a magical thing.
The Night Crow’s shadow falls on the terrible-color of new ploughed fields.  We are asked to learn from the Night Crow to travel alone on this moon, under cover of night, searching the soul and finding revealed in the search, the lessons of solitary newness.