Animal Symbolism: The Crow, Raven, and Wolf
Fine Art by Adam S. Doyle
A line from this ancient poem reads, “...but the black raven, eager for the doomed ones, as he shall say much to the eagle of what success he had at feeding, when he, with the wolf, plundered the corpses.” Excerpt from Truth and Symbolism: Mythological Perspective of the Crow and Wolf by Karen Bukowick
Crows and ravens will be used interchangeably throughout this post, but please note they are two different birds. Also, the crow and raven symbolism is quite similar from the past through the present, which is why you see them talked about as if they were the same bird.
Ravens, crows, and wolves depend on one another for survival (also known as a symbiotic relationship). Ravens and Crows need the wolves to rip open the carrion for feeding, whereas, wolves will look to the sky for circling ravens that may indicate a future meal. The raven, crow, and wolf also share many present day and past symbolism's. The death, doom, and gloom of the "ye old tyme" past associated with these animals has slowly been replaced by focusing on their unique skill sets rather than their gruesome killing abilities or sometimes trickster demeanors.
What about symbolism and can animals communicate messages to humans?
Cause it's all in your head. Animals cannot possibly deliver messages or interact with human beings on a deeper level, right? That's what my analytical mind thinks, but my Native American heart knows there is a deeper connection beyond most human comprehension that allows lessons to be learned and messages received from animals. If a dog has its fur standing up on his back, growling, and barring his teeth then that tells you to back off! Message received.
This week, I had a single crow fly over my head as I was crossing a parking lot. In my mind, I saw it circle back and land on a light post. Moments later, it did just that! The caw this crow cawed put me on edge...it was like a warning. Little did I know, this crow was indeed giving me a warning. I have been struggling with my new diagnosis of bipolar disorder. My medications are intense with terrible side effects. That night after the meeting with this crow, I developed rare side effects from my new medication regimen including: a facial mask, involuntary tongue movements, and severe anxiety as a result. These undesired effects led to a complete medication change with my psychiatrist. Crow also signifies change.
Crows and ravens are different, but when it comes to symbolism their similarities are many. I have more interactions with crows, because I live in an urban area where crows like to inhabit. Ravens prefer the wilderness where it can find more carrion and other similar eats. Black symbolizes the void. Their color is nothing and everything at the same moment. Out of the darkness comes the light, and with it the dawning of a new day. Crows are the keeper of sacred law and are thought to walk between our world and the world of spirit, thus delivering important messages from the other side. The crow is a representation of creation and spiritual strength. To the Natives, the crow represent the Great Spirit, which should be treated with the utmost respect.
Ravens are highly intelligent birds that even have facial recognition for humans. Also, they have the ability(like the wolf) to form deep bonds with other animals. This ability to form deep bonds is rare for the predator. Like the tiger or a shark, most predators prefer to take the solo route. Wolf power leads to developing a deep perception and inner knowing about oneself coupled with intuition. Wolves are great hunters with impeccable social skills. They are also great teachers for their offspring and are well known throughout history for their teaching abilities. I feel the wolf with me always and believe that it is my primary power animal along with the crow. With their symbiotic relationship, it makes complete sense that I am utterly fascinated and drawn to them both!
The crow has also been ever present in my life. I have learned to pay attention to their caws. Can you receive messages from animals? I believe you can. Not the conversational kind, of course, but the intuitive feeling you receive from their presence. Look, listen, and feel....AND you may indeed learn something new about you.