Piercing the Veil
Spirit Animal: Crow
Crow is the keeper of spiritual law and connected equally to physical and spiritual worlds. A powerful Totem, Crow acts as a guide on our path and brings balance to duality.
There is an endless variety of lore regarding Crow – especially if you mix Crow with Raven (which is not something I personally do). Crow and Raven are two very different spirits. Crow is smaller, both physically and energetically; Crow simply doesn’t carry the same “weight” that Raven does. If Crow were a firecracker, Raven would be a hand grenade and Crow carries a certain subtlety to its energy that Raven lacks. (Of course Raven can pass through barriers that are beyond Crows strength to move beyond and, like all spirit beings, each of us has our strengths and weaknesses).
In Mi’kmaq lore (the People of my teacher, Nukah), Crow is the keeper of spiritual law. Crow sees the spirit world with one eye and the physical world with the other. You may notice that Crow regularly tilts his head, first to one side, then the other. According to lore, Crow is looking first at one world, then the other, and seeking the balance between the physical and spiritual.
Crow was considered sacred enough that the mere appearance of crows were used as a form of divination. When Crow catches your eye, stop and see how many are nearby if you want to discover the forces in play around you. The poem goes something like this:
One is for sorrow
Two is for mirth
Three is a wedding
Four is a birth
Five is for silver
Six is for gold
Seven a secret never is told
There are longer versions that originated in Europe that go up to twelve crows, but this is the poem that I use in my own work. What’s useful to keep in mind is that these terms “wedding, birth, silver, gold,” are very symbolic and are not to be taken literally. For instance, a birth isn’t necessarily the appearance of a newborn child, but can also represent the beginning of something new.
If you’re called to follow Crow, be prepared for change. Crow is a guide spirit – which is one of the reasons why Crow can see both the spirit and physical worlds. While balance is sought in all shamanic work, it would be more accurate to say that Crow sees first one realm, then the other, and finds the path that leads between them. Rather than avoiding either, the road of balance finds a way to honor both realms. You don’t follow a path to stay where you’re at – you follow a path to change where you are on your journey.
This ability to see both realms also makes Crow the totem of duality. Crow can find the balance between our light and dark, creating harmony between our brightest self and our shadow side.
Because Crow is the keeper of spiritual law, working with Crow also requires great amounts of integrity.
Like all birds, Crow is also considered a messenger, carrying prayers, hopes, and wishes from the physical to the spiritual world. This role as a messenger is most likely one of the reasons why Crow was used in divination – it’s very appearance is often considered to be a sacred thing and directed by the gods.
Crow isn’t actually one of my totem animals – it’s at the core of the name I was given during my early shamanic stuides. Back when I was studying with Nukah, the intent behind my very first vision quest was to ask the spirit world to give me a shamanic working name. The spirits were kind enough to do so. I was given the name Two Crows and my shamanic path continued to move forward from there.