Piercing the Veil

Spirit Animal: Crow

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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.

Jeffrey Pierce is an author, a traditionally trained shaman, a teacher of mystical spirituality, but simply defines himself as pagan. He devoted his life to uncovering the hidden truths on March 21, 1987 and never looked back. Jeffrey has taught thousands of students for more than two decades and is determined to share all he discovers, rather than keeping such insights a secret. His most recently published book is "Principles of Magick."


  1. maillots foot

    October 28, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    The website You have create is very nicely prepared and very insightful thanks for good posta?|

    • Jeffrey Pierce

      October 28, 2013 at 8:23 pm

      Thank you. There is much more still to come. With a little luck, I’ll begin shooting video for the site just after Winter Solstice. Blessings to you!

  2. debbie

    November 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    i took a shamanic healing journey this summer, and crow is one of the birds i saw. first a snake, then a jumble of birds; crow, sparrow, owl, phoenix. then a gray wolf, the green man, a quiet glade, and dancing with vikings. my mom talks to and listens to crows. i see them all the time. i’ve been called a white witch, and i take it as a complement, as i know some lore about my area. i count crows as well.

    • Jeffrey Pierce

      November 20, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Very cool, Debbie. Thank you so much for sharing. Blessings to you and yours. 🙂

  3. Amit

    December 5, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    crows are clever and insightful. They seem to be aware of certain mysteries, I dont know how. May be they possess this special gift from the animal spirit world? I am more friendly with cats, snakes and deers, though.

  4. Super snapped

    February 1, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Please could you tell me what does it mean when lots of blackbird symbols are seen or heard around the time of someone’s death?. Know they are from crow family. My uncle passed away 10 days ago&blackbirds were a strong element around me I feel it’s his spirit around me.. His solicitor who is executor is Croshaw! Wolf has also been a strond sybol around me lately.

    • Jeffrey Pierce

      February 3, 2014 at 9:29 am

      This may seem overly simplistic, but my guess is that it’s his spirit around you. Our intuition is usually tremendously accurate – and you wrote, “I feel it’s his spirit around me.” I would go with that. If the blackbirds are still around, talk to them – you’ll know what to say. Blessings!

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