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Totems: Crow

by Cie Simurro, a.k.a. Thunderbird Starwoman

ou cannot ignore me when I cawl, cawl. I am the law; the law is just. I balance justice with grace. Do you know what grace is? It is that which opens your heart, after being badly hurt; light after disintegration and hardship. Grace is being thoroughly loved by an enlightened consciousness, letting you know you belong. Understand that my world, the natural world has been given to you in grace. I AM CROW. I am the letter of the law. I am cause and effect. I am the spinning out of Universal Law in this 3rd dimension. People hear me: we were given to you in grace and love. How barren your world would be without animals and plants, even unto the rock people. What would you do without us? The law requires you to be with us in a union of love; to be a steward. This is the law in the hearts of each of you. Open that law book. Read your true heart – the one you were born with. Act accordingly. Aho.

Cozying up to Crow is not all that easy. First of all, there’s that raucous cry that sets off the alarm of every other bird, 4-legged, and possibly even insects. "They’re’ here! Those humans" - translated as: "yuck – those who ruin every neighborhood they settle into; who think they’re so smart, but don’t know the simplest things like we do". Crow is right. We humans seem to think the Creator of all the world left something out, overlooked something or might have been having a bad day, so we have to take over, improve and control our environment instead of learning to cooperate with it. So, we introduce foreign species to have a more lucrative outcome, or get rid of what we consider pests. We decide which species can live or die; how many, and when. We then decide how to kill; what poisons or cruel weapons to use – and by the way, how can this all pay off for us financially? Crow says, "now that’s the real dark side of things, not my lustrous coat! The law of all laws is this: Love the divinity that is equally in all creation with your whole heart, mind and strength. That pretty well takes care of the second part: loving your neighbor as yourself. We would do better to really give some energy to loving ourselves, for then we would be less apt to harm others. Our neighbors on this planet include the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms.

Yup! Crow knows we reap what we sow, even if it’s our children and theirs, who will pay. Reaping and sowing is one of the 7 Hermetic laws. In addition to the supreme law - at the time of Creation non-personal, universal laws were put into motion to assure balance throughout man’s multiple evolutionary changes. They include the laws of nature, creation, manifestation, and planetary energies. Every time you feel that everything is against you, stop and feel out what Universal laws you’re struggling against.

1. Mind is all or Mind over Matter. Energy, power and matter are subordinate to mind.

2. As above, so below. The macrocosm and microcosm mirror each other.

3. Vibration: Everything has a signature vibratory rate or frequency by which it is known.

4. Polarity: All opposites may be reconciled. Matter has two poles: + & -. Everything is itself and its opposite.

5. Rhythm: Pursuant to the Law of Polarity is the law of Rhythm. Listen to the rhythm of your own heartbeat, your breath, the slap of tires on the pavement, birdsong, waves. Feel the rhythm of the day into night, the seasons, stages of birth, growth, decline and death followed by rebirth.

6. Cause and Effect: there is a cause for every effect and vice-versa.

7. Gender: Everything has its masculine and feminine aspect. In fact, no creation is possible without this, starting with God.

If crow is your totem, you really need to be "walkin your talkin". Edgar Cayce often said "teach by example, rather than precept." It’s the way to raise children; the way to clean up the environment, and the way to bring Love to the planet. Being an example is something each of us can do now. We don’t have to wait to strike it rich. Being an example cleans up our act. It’s the Law! I went to see Ammachi recently (amma.org) and understood the value of teaching by example. There’s nobody like Amma on the planet. Imagine the kind and quality of love, service and compassion that can hug 50,000 people without a break, addressing their yearning for God, mending hearts, encouraging, and uplifting - then doing it daily again year-round, after endless hours of travel – not 1st class - as an example to you and me. She could stay in solitude in her God-realized state. Instead, she chooses to be with us in both suffering and joy, teaching from endless compassion. Amma ameliorates the law through grace. Divine grace is merciful.

Years ago, I wrote a story for children (I’ll send you a copy if you ask.) which included an old British nursery rhyme told by Evelyn Eaton, a.k.a Grandmother Mahadyuni, who lived the next mountain over from Sun Bear in the state of Washington. Grandmother wrote some fine books on her healing experiences in Crow (no pun intended) stone people’s lodges. In fact, it was because of her that I sought out my first sweat. Because of this rhyme, when I see crows, I count them. Hey, maybe this is where the singing group, Counting Crows came from!

One crow, sorrow. Two crows, mirth. Three crows, a wedding. Four crows, a birth. Five crows, silver. Six crows, gold. Seven crows, a secret never to be told.

Though they may be astonished at first, it’s impolite not to enter into conversation with crows when they come calling. "Caw, caw, caw," I answer back, though I’m sure they think my accent is weird, like I’m from Brooklyn, New Crow. At least that is what I thought until a U Mass student proved Greenfield MA crows had different accents than ones raised in Boston! Anyway, while Thunder looks at me quizzically, the crows call in more of their brethren. They are so curious, they cannot resist a crow-talking human. This is an enigma they must figure out. Sometimes, their call is just a greeting, an invitation to share some exuberance - often early in the morning before I want to get up. But I do. Crows usually get their way, you know. As lawmakers of the animal kingdom, they get to walk with their hands (wings) behind their backs, deciding our fates, wearing those black judges’ robes. Like their human counterparts, crows are shrewd. Having adapted from living in the forest, they now also live in urban areas and farmland. They are among the most intelligent birds by human standards, able to count to at least 3 or 4, with 20-24 distinct calls. They have a complex communication system, passing on the location of food, as well as alerting others of approaching danger. I hear them cawing beseechingly to each other in the trees. Like wolf totem, they are teachers, especially of spirituality or the occult. People experiencing this totem are adventurous and communicative.

Thunder cannot understand why I talk to crows. He looks at me like I’ve either lost my mind or am a traitor. The reason for this is that when we were at my mother’s in CA, the town crier was a huge black crow, who so harassed Thunder every time he stepped outside the door, that eventually Thunder barked back in frustration – and I’m willing to bet his message wasn’t polite! All corvids (crows, ravens, magpies, jays) are unbearably smart - except crow may be a bit smarter than raven because he lets raven take most of the slings and arrows for being a trickster, when actually crow is too. Crow also has a reputation as a harbinger of death because of his black color. Crows were known to protect secrets, and death is the biggest secret of all. Folks with this totem are usually someone’s confidante. A crow was often the "familiar" of those practicing either magick or the dark arts. In fact, if you miss seeing all the iridescent rainbow colors reflecting from the shiny black, you might believe crow is the dark one. Nothing in nature is inherently evil; there is only the use people make of them, like projecting shadow characteristics on animals or reptiles, for example. Crow people are good manifesters, whether earned, given or stolen - especially if it is shiny, sparkly or bling is involved! All manifestation begins from the dark, black Void, which holds all things in potential.

Crows are everywhere. The crow people have dropped two feathers for me, while writing about them. They are gregarious. Crows like to flock or aggregate with others of their kind. The American crow’s tree nest is made of sticks, and lined with plant fibers. Brown-splotched eggs are incubated for 17 days. During this time, the community is especially protective and will chase any predators. It takes a flock or group of crows to chase off a hawk, owl or eagle. This is called mobbing. Nature timed it so that young owls can find the first batch of baby crows in early spring as they hunt in early evening. The adult crows escape and live to lay another clutch of eggs, after the owls have moved on to small mammals. Crows themselves are predators who will eat most anything including the eggs and chicks of other birds. Crow is a scavenger like vulture, cleaning up carrion. He is a forager of grain, roots, fruit, nuts, insects and small animals. People with this totem will never go hungry. They are resourceful. Like crow, though they may live part of their lives alone or only with immediate family, they often are involved in co-operative ventures, especially related to food and local government. They can handle being around large groups of people, like at rallies and festivals. People in this totem’s energy are happiest working in groups. They like the security offered by being employed by large corporations. And they may even keep the job if only they can learn to "keep their mouths shut." See, that’s the problem. These folks are too intelligent to suffer mediocre minds. Perhaps they must be the founder of the company or the CEO. If you work for them, be sure your desk is tidy. If you marry one, your house will look beautiful, with lots of flowers.

Crows carry messages. Pay attention. Crow doesn’t deliver genteelly like hawk. Strange isn’t it, that both hawk and crow, in some ways opposites, would both be messengers. Crow is the totem for Sept. 23-Oct.22. Like Libra of that same time period, crow people, seeing the value of everything, often have a hard time making decisions. Sometimes they’re social butterflies. At other times, they are annoying and quarrelsome like their feathered friends. One thing they never are is reticent about what they are feeling, thinking or saying. Crow people are most balanced sharing with a partner or a group. Guard against dependency. Seek equanimity. If you are of the crow clan beware of seducing or manipulating with your speech or superior intelligence. Do not gossip or indulge in coarse conversation.

The Hopi have a Crow Mother kachina, the mother of all other kachinas called Angwusnasomtaqa, "The One With the Crow Tied On". She presides over the night sky in soft, dark folds, personifying feminine energy. Crow Mother shouts the message of a fruitful universe to all who live in respect and harmony with nature. During the feast of Powamu she presides over the children’s Initiation ceremony. She looks right through them with beady, black eyes that see everything. They are afraid to look back for fear of falling into crow’s depths.

In Italy and Greece, crows symbolized long life. They were much used by augers (seers). In Ireland, Bran’s Crow was a prophetic bird, a protector, and also offered Inititation. Bran became the Celtic name for the crow god. Viking Valkyries were called kraken for their cloaks of crow feathers. Greeks had another use for crow. They consigned their enemies to their fates with, "To the crows with ya." Amen to that!

Cie does individual healing sessions for people and animals and trains people in Shamanic practice, Joyous Empowerment, and Earth Stewardship. For healing or training call Cie at 413-625-0385 or email cie@crocker.com. To get Cie's Book of Totem articles send $20 + $2 s/h along with your name, address and email address to P.O. Box 295, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

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