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Totems: Crow (Revised)

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


You cannot ignore me when I caw, caw. 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, that lets 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 now: 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 – translated as: “Yuck – those humans 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 our 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 human, 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 of Love, 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. What we focus on, we attract.

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: positive and negative. 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 at the shore. 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.

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've been to see Ammachi (amma.org) and seen firsthand, 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.

Many years ago, I wrote a story for children 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 Stone People’s lodges (no pun intended). 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.

Crows are fun to have back and forth calls with. Though they may be astonished at first if you answer their caw, caw when you enter their territory, I consider it 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! Lol. At least that is what I thought until a University of Massachusetts student proved that Greenfield Massachusetts crows had different accents than ones raised in Boston!

The crows in my neighborhood and I have some pretty good back and forth conversations. I speak a pretty mean Crow! When my Medicine dog, Thunder was alive, he could not understand why I’d talk to crows. He’d look at me like I’d either lost my mind or was a traitor. The reason for this is that when we were staying for some months at my mother’s house in California, 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! My current dog, Ebony also is mystified as to why I return crow’s calls with my own calls, but she is more indifferent than Thunder was. She pretty much expects humans to act incomprehensibly, except when it comes to playing or food!

Anyway, while Thunder would look at me quizzically, the crows would always 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 judge’s robes.

Like their human counterparts, crows are unbearably smart. Having successfully adapted to living in the forest, they now also live in urban areas and farmland too. Crows just might be the most intelligent birds of all, able to count to at least 3 or 4, with 20 - 24 distinct calls. They have a complex communication system, passing on to each other, 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. Folks with this totem are usually someone’s confidante.

All corvids (crows, ravens, magpies, jays) are shrewd - except crow may be a bit more so than raven because he lets raven take most of the slings and arrows for being a trickster, when actually crow is one as well. Crows also cooperate with ravens, and other birds. Crows can make and use tools. New Caledonian crows of the South Pacific for example, make complicated hooked tools out of leaves and twigs to hold food. They even store the tools for use later. Crows can remember for months, where they’ve hidden seeds or other foods. And experiments have been done in which it’s proven that crows can remember and recognize faces.

Crows can tell what time it is! Well, not exactly, but they become accustomed to something happening at the same time because of the context – especially if it has to do with food. At Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, the penguins would get a fish treat once a week at noon on Fridays. Pretty soon, the keepers noticed that every Friday, a little before noon, crows would assemble, preparing to take the fish before the penguins could get at it.

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. 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 I’ve been writing about them. They are gregarious and like to flock or aggregate with others of their kind. When a male crow is courting a female, he tries to make himself irresistible to her, even sounding like he’s singing softly. The American crow’s tree nest is always high up for safety, made of sticks, and lined with plant fibers. It is kept clean during mating, and after the eggs are hatched, even the nestlings will not foul their own nest. 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, and once in a while, their own species. 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. Crow people are most balanced sharing with a partner or a group. 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 in being employed by large corporations. And they may even succeed in the job if only they can learn to “keep their mouths shut.” One thing they never are – is reticent about what they are feeling, thinking or saying. 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 September 23rd through October 22nd. 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 can be annoying and quarrelsome like their feathered friends. If this is a totem for you, 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 Initiation. 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! Enjoy Crow totem.

Cie Simurro ~ Thunderbird Starwoman has been a Healer, Writer, Minister, Advocate and Steward for the natural world for over 45 years; author of this column for 23 years. Send your email address if you wish to be notified with a link to Wisdom Magazine’s Webzine when a new Totems article comes out. In-person healing sessions are available once again on an individual basis, as well as long-distance healing for you and your pet. Call or email for more details and to arrange an appointment. Phone: 413 625-0385 or email: cie@ciesimurro.com

For a print version of Totems for Stewards of the Earth,Vol. 1 - delivery U.S., send $22 to P.O. 295, Shelburne Falls MA 01370


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