Messengers of Death


      Crows have been associated with death for thousands of years. Crows are scavengers and feed on the dead which is how the association with death came about. In the past bodies were not buried, and crows were seen feasting on human corpses. Crows were seen following soldiers into battle, only to wait to feed upon the dead. Also, it was thought if crows followed the soldiers into battle that meant they would be defeated. One of the beliefs that crows bring death is that crows are always in graveyards. That crows hang out there due to their connection to death, they flock together in graveyards, only for protection. As well as a group of crows is called a "murder", which comes from Greek mythology. The Irish believed that when a crow cawed 3 times they are announcing the death of an individual.


One superstition is that if a crow flies into a house in the morning the person will die in a better way then if a crow flies into your house in the evening. If they fly into the house and are covered in mud or injured the person will become ill for a long period of time. It was once believed that when a person died a crow would carry their soul to the land of the dead. In medieval times pagan legends thought of crows as familiars of witches.


The history of Ravens goes back as far as 1000yr old Norse mythology. In the encyclopedia of Norse myths under "Raven" describes them as evil due to them feeding on the dead. There is also mythology regarding the god Odin who was a chief god. He had two ravens called Hugin (Thought) and Munin (Mind) that would perch on his shoulders. In the morning these birds would fly out and question people as well as the dead. Then fly back at night and whisper all they had learned that day to Odin. Which would symbolize his ability to see into the future. Odin would also send his birds to the underworld to investigate the disappearance of lost goddess Idunn. It also stated Odin himself would turn into a raven.

In North American folklore a Raven created the world. The raven had a human body with a raven beak-who is believed to have created the world. He taught humans to take care of themselves, make clothes, canoes and houses. Also brought vegetation, animals and other items that benefited mankind. For all he had done for the humans he wished to marry a specific woman in return. Her family refused to let her go. As revenge the Raven created mosquitoes from crushed leaves to pester humans forever.

In Native American culture crows were seen as a positive symbol. They see crows as messengers between our world and the next world. They are believed to help the deceased cross over to the next world. Celtics saw crows as mediators between the human and spirit world. Some viewed crows as supernatural because they can be taught to talk. In the 13th century crows were used to teach lessons. There is a story where Adam and Eve had the body of their dead don, but did not know what to do with the body. The story states that a crow came along and killed another crow then buried the crow in front of Adam and Eve to teach them.

Throughout history crows and ravens have been associated with the dead and the other world. These birds are thought to be one of the most intelligent animals as they have been observed making tools to help them with their daily tasks as well as they morn the death of one another by circling the deceased bird and bowing their head in silence from 10 to 30 mins. I myself love the sound of a crows caw. It's in some way very calming, but it also seems as though they are laughing at you like they know something you don’t.