Besides the mystery and incredible intelligence of crows, I am today much more interested in birds, as a whole. I love their freedom of movement, and occasionally try to visualize the experience of flight in my meditations. The few times I have had dreams of flying, I have awoken with an incredible sense of lightness and joy. The sensation of flight in these dreams is like nothing else in the world; it is the most freeing, wonderful experience I have ever felt, one which seems as real to me as any experience in my memory.
The sense of being high in the sky, with an aerial view of the landscape, soaring above the ground, is incredible. There is no doubt in my mind that the earliest dreams of flight would have stemmed from such dreams in the night and visions during the day. Our connection to birds is everywhere; not only in folklore and ancient religions, but also in contemporary arts and crafts. As a saying in a popular television comedy show goes, “put a bird on it!” (Portlandia 2011).
But what is our symbolic connection to birds today, and how do we experience a connection with crows, in particular?
Traditionally, across many cultures over time, crows have been symbolic representations of the clever trickster, the intelligent messenger or ominous harbinger of the dead. From their mystical associations and symbolism, to the folklore associated with the crow, as found in Aesop’s Fables, or in the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, crows (and ravens) have remained a mystery, a strange, bewildering messenger, but of what exactly I do not know. This Crow Portfolio forms the beginning of my inquiry into the nature, intelligence, and symbolic relationship between humans and crows.