Friday, 21 November 2008

As the crow flies .....

Yesterday I was in London and as I walked from Highgate Underground Station to the bus-stop on the final part of my journey to Muswell Hill, two crows glided overhead into nearby Highgate Wood. I wondered about the hundreds of different reasons why people to come to the capital city and here I was crossing a familiar road in a part of London used to look on as home - I am thinking only of crows, a bird I usually associate with Avebury and Wiltshire downland. Crows also habituate the hillside Victorian cemetery at the back of my small house in Swindon, where I listen out for their caw all the time, I open the bathroom window and I hear crows. Along with jackdaws and magpies, they treat the chimney pots and tv aerials of the terraced street as an extension to their treetop perching and nesting places. I am watching them all the time - there is something mysterious about this 'other bird world' that thrives above us and regardless of our activities. Our cars cannot touch them, they are the true survivors.
Crows are social in nature and interaction with their own kind is important. They mate for life and live in family groups which they protect vigorously. They have been know to chase off predators such as hawks and owls.
Ted Andrews who compiled Animal Speak (The Spiritual and Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small) writes that the Keynote for the Crow is: The Secret Magic of Creation is Calling, with the Cycle of Power being All day - All Year.
Part of the Corvidae family the crow belongs to the same family of birds as the raven though whilst the crow thrives of the detritus and leftovers of humans, the raven has retreated to secluded clifftop places. However, some of the raven's mysticism and mythology is shared by the crow.
In Roman mythology the raven and crows used to be as white as swans. In fact the white crow watched over Apollo's pregnant lover at Delphos. One day the crow brought bad news to Apollo and was turned black. The connection with watchfulness remains today as they are messengers calling to us about the creation and magic that exists in our everyday world.