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Author Topic: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)  (Read 1321 times)

PerditaPickle

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Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« on: December 15, 2020, 03:35:30 pm »
I wondered elseforum whether there are any YouTubers who have videos covering the mythology, symbolism & etc of crows (from a learned position) as I haven't the time to do a lot of research in the form of reading.

It's also made me wonder, do crows/ravens (or other corvids) have any personal symbolism for you?  If so, where does that come from, in brief (if you're comfortable sharing)?  Is it symbolism you share with your/any other tradition(s), or is it fairly unique to you, so far as you're aware?

What about other birds?  (Allaya and Altair, I'll just take both your answers as being generally into birds, unless/until you can find a moment to post   ;D)
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Anon100

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2020, 04:20:52 pm »
It's also made me wonder, do crows/ravens (or other corvids) have any personal symbolism for you?  If so, where does that come from, in brief (if you're comfortable sharing)?  Is it symbolism you share with your/any other tradition(s), or is it fairly unique to you, so far as you're aware?

What about other birds?  (Allaya and Altair, I'll just take both your answers as being generally into birds, unless/until you can find a moment to post   ;D)

Arggg, where to start?

Strange how some things I feel reluctant to talk about. They're protectors and seers to me. Guardians I suppose.
This comes from their intelligence and the way they chase off hawks, such tales as those of the Rainbow Crow and others. Most of all just the way they are.

Sefiru

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2020, 06:24:33 pm »
It's also made me wonder, do crows/ravens (or other corvids) have any personal symbolism for you?  If so, where does that come from, in brief (if you're comfortable sharing)? 

For me, ravens represent intelligence and ingenuity - mostly due to some articles in National Geographic a while back about how smart they are.

(Favorite anecdote: Ravens in northern cities noticed that street lights were controlled by light sensors to come on when it gets dark. So they started sitting on the sensors to block them, so thelight comes on and warms up.)

Plus, the association with the Tower of London and the British crown. I'm a bit of a monarchist  ;)

In my area there used to only be crows; I recently saw my first (wild) raven in person ... it was rummaging in a dumpster, natch.

Altair

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2020, 08:32:31 pm »
I wondered elseforum whether there are any YouTubers who have videos covering the mythology, symbolism & etc of crows (from a learned position) as I haven't the time to do a lot of research in the form of reading.

It's also made me wonder, do crows/ravens (or other corvids) have any personal symbolism for you?  If so, where does that come from, in brief (if you're comfortable sharing)?  Is it symbolism you share with your/any other tradition(s), or is it fairly unique to you, so far as you're aware?

What about other birds?  (Allaya and Altair, I'll just take both your answers as being generally into birds, unless/until you can find a moment to post   ;D)

Corvids have no specific personal symbolism for me, although I consider them among the coolest of birds. However, in my half-assed attempts at augury--divination through observing the flight of birds--they hold pride of place, along with raptors. So I suppose I consider them messengers.

Other birds show up in my myths, reflecting what they symbolize for me: Blackburnian Warbler--the sheer exuberance of life; owls--knowledge and introspection; hummingbirds--relentless drive and determination. These symbolic meanings are unique to me as far as I know, with the exception of owl, of course: My symbolism deliberately draws on the common folk association of owls with wisdom, and on Athena's owl, Glaukopis.

Birds in general symbolize freedom, I think pretty much in every culture to a greater or lesser extent. For me personally, that's expressed in my myths again: When the Earth mother makes the world out of her own living body, she takes everything that's left of herself and gives it away to her children (cats get her shadow, caterpillars get her magic that allowed her to transform herself, etc.). Birds get the freedom she used to have and will never have again, and it gives them the mastery of flight.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Aisling

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2020, 08:33:10 pm »
I wondered elseforum whether there are any YouTubers who have videos covering the mythology, symbolism & etc of crows (from a learned position) as I haven't the time to do a lot of research in the form of reading.

It's not something I've researched either, but am suddenly itching to do a little digging.

It's also made me wonder, do crows/ravens (or other corvids) have any personal symbolism for you?  If so, where does that come from, in brief (if you're comfortable sharing)?  Is it symbolism you share with your/any other tradition(s), or is it fairly unique to you, so far as you're aware?
To borrow Anon100's response: Arggg, where to start?

I adore corvids in general, particularly crows. Associations for crows:
  • Intelligence/Curiosity - Because science says so and personal expeirences concur.
  • Memory - Again, science/personal gnosis.  Crows can remember human faces. IME, they can also differentiate and remember human voices.
  • Death - There is, of course, the association with The Morrigan and various traditions of crows taking on the role of psychopomps.  I have a personal myth which relates their role as psychopomps to the creation of the night sky (and I really need to get it written down in a sharable form).
  • Humor/Pranks -  Personal experience - 100%.  At my workplace, there is a crow who will hide on the roof just above the main employee entrance, wait until I get to the door, and then pop over the edge of the roof with a loud caw (the crow equivalent of jumping out and shouting "Boo!").  A real comedian, that one.
  • Communication - Crows talk... and talk... and talk.
  • Protection - Not in a general sense, so much as taking care of one's own. I've seen them defend their territory/community members from outsiders.

That's the short(ish) list.



"All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want.
But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them."
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American Gods

Anon100

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2020, 06:33:01 pm »
I wondered elseforum whether there are any YouTubers who have videos covering the mythology, symbolism & etc of crows (from a learned position) as I haven't the time to do a lot of research in the form of reading.

I just came across this item ( with videos of tests ) and thought it might be of interest - https://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/news/science/ravens-cognitive-skills-similar-great-apes/

I do wonder at times what the animals are thinking when we give them tests - "Does this human really not know how to hide food. They must be really silly if they just leave clues lying round like that"???

Altair

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2020, 09:36:52 pm »
I just came across this item ( with videos of tests ) and thought it might be of interest - https://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/news/science/ravens-cognitive-skills-similar-great-apes/

I do wonder at times what the animals are thinking when we give them tests - "Does this human really not know how to hide food. They must be really silly if they just leave clues lying round like that"???

I'm in the California desert for a few weeks, and ravens are everywhere here. So I'm thinking of taking up a project:

Better folks than I have tried to gain a deep understanding of their vocalizations, without success (so far). But I figure that since they're smart, and I'm smart, even if I can't crack their various calls nor they mine, we should be able to arrive at a mutual language of some sort that allows some basic communication. So if I can think of a way to motivate the local resident pair to want to communicate with me (food!), I may try to establish such a "language."
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

PerditaPickle

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2020, 07:17:29 am »
I figure that since they're smart, and I'm smart, even if I can't crack their various calls nor they mine, we should be able to arrive at a mutual language of some sort that allows some basic communication. So if I can think of a way to motivate the local resident pair to want to communicate with me (food!), I may try to establish such a "language."

Sounds fascinating, I can't wait to hear how it goes!
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
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PerditaPickle

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2020, 07:57:31 am »
Memory - Again, science/personal gnosis.  Crows can remember human faces. IME, they can also differentiate and remember human voices.

Oh I completely concur, in the summer when I was sitting out on the front lawn  a lot, I was building a relationship with a particular crow which appeared to have a foreshortened tail. I almost managed to get it to come sit beside me and I'm sure we were chatting with one another (because, you know, crazy cat lady but I don't confine myself to just talking to cats).  Then the autumn came and I altered my routine so I've not seen that bird again in a while, unfortunately.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 08:12:58 am by Aisling »
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PerditaPickle

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2020, 08:04:05 am »


I meant to mention, there is a YouTuber I follow who sometimes features Fable the talking Raven - she's so cute (I also really enjoy Einstein parrot, and Bowie the parakeet (I think)).
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
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My Portrait of Perpetual Perplexity blog

PerditaPickle

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2021, 06:12:17 pm »


I discovered (belatedly) that it was national Bird Day today

(Link is to a charitable organisation known as Greater Good, where you can help this cause by doing some simple steps such as watching a video & etc.)
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
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pvtSMR

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2021, 01:14:10 pm »
It's also made me wonder, do crows/ravens (or other corvids) have any personal symbolism for you?  If so, where does that come from, in brief (if you're comfortable sharing)?

What about other birds?

It's interesting in my household, because my wife (eclectic Wiccan first-degree priestess) is VERY close to crows & ravens, and has been since she was a child. Whenever she's making a major decision, like choosing a college or buying a house, she's always found a crow feather. She is currently a devotee of the Morrigan, who is associated with corvids.

I, on the other hand, have always felt a connection with hawks. Crows love to chase hawks. (We watch them doing it from our windows in the spring and summer, actually.) They sometimes seem to do it for fun. My relationship with my wife bears no relationship to this, but we get a chuckle from it. :)

We also live in the area of the Minneapolis Mega-Murder. Thousands and thousands of crows descend on the city every winter and roost together at night, then fly out in a 30-ish-mile radius during the day to feed. We live in a 12th floor condo, which is on one of their flight paths back to their roost at sunset. They don't come every day (as I assume they feed in different neighborhoods through the week) but when they do, we get hundreds going past our windows in a twenty-minute span. It's a magical thing.

PerditaPickle

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2021, 02:48:15 pm »
They don't come every day (as I assume they feed in different neighborhoods through the week) but when they do, we get hundreds going past our windows in a twenty-minute span. It's a magical thing.

Wow, it sounds it!
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Anon100

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2021, 03:58:23 pm »
I wondered elseforum whether there are any YouTubers who have videos covering the mythology, symbolism & etc of crows (from a learned position) as I haven't the time to do a lot of research in the form of reading.

More recently I find myself thinking of the connection between crows and sunlight/fire light.
From crows burning their feathers black while bringing fire or light back to save others in America, to the three legged crow connected both to Amaterasu and the sun in Japan.

Pendle Girl

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Re: Crows, Ravens and other corvids (if you like)
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2021, 01:30:59 pm »

It's also made me wonder, do crows/ravens (or other corvids) have any personal symbolism for you?  If so, where does that come from, in brief (if you're comfortable sharing)?  Is it symbolism you share with your/any other tradition(s), or is it fairly unique to you, so far as you're aware?

What about other birds? 

I adore the Covid family, including Jackdaws, Crows, Ravens, Magpies, Rooks - all of them! I've always loved them but never really thought much about their symbolism and what it means for me until I read this thread. So, here goes!

First of all, I love their intelligence. This has been well documented and scientifically researched, but you can see it in them without putting them through as series of tests. All you have to do is watch them and the way they cock their heads this way and that, evaluating all the time what's going on around them. You can actually see them thinking - it's amazing!

Secondly, they're beautiful. Need I say more?

Thirdly, they can learn to make sounds that sound like human speech, which is incredibly appealing. They share this with many other bird species, but it never ceases to amaze me.

Then we get to the symbolism... They have long been associated with gravestones, cemeteries, dark winter forests and generally deathy things. But they are also associated with being messengers (Odin's ravens), with prophecy (The Morrigan and Game of Thrones) and with loss (Poe's The Raven). So they have a spiritual dimension to them which has been reinforced down the ages.

The association with death is fairly obvious as it probably derives from observations that these birds eat carrion, and are often seen hopping about on rotting corpses. I believe that their reputation for being messengers for the gods; being associated with gods and goddesses related to death and the afterlife; and their assocation with prophecy, all stem from this link with the carrion they need to live on.

Afterall, if they are so closely linked to death in a physical way (eating carrion) then why not in a spiritual way too? Their relationship with death is such that they could be seen as liminal creatures with a foot in both the living world and the world of the dead.

I believe the fact that they are predominantly black in colour also helps to associate them with death and the afterlife, darkness and the unknown.

As for other birds, well...for me, I think peacocks have always been special and phoenixes...then there are owls... I think I could write a whole essay on the subject but I'll leave it there for now.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2021, 01:38:56 pm by Pendle Girl »

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