For the past few months, I’ve been the recipient of subtle, yet constant, messages from the universe. I’m normally a whole lot more receptive to these kinds of messages, but, because of the festering funk I was wallowing in, I just didn’t see the signs, let alone respond to them. But since I’ve clawed my way out of the pit, I’ve been noticing the signs all over the place, and have realized that they’ve been there, going back months! Do I feel dumb for missing them, or what?!
There is always some kind of nudge from the universe, telling me “Yes, you’re going in the right direction; there are things for you to learn along htat road, keep going…” OR “No,no,no,no,NO. That is NOT where you should be going right now. You can come back and explore that another time… But this is the where you need to be looking now… Look, it’s shiny down this road… Come on!” And, of course, I always fall for that, because, really, I can’t resist something shiny!
And even when I’m feeling morose and pigging out on cake at the pity-party, I usually see the signs, but choose to ignore them until I’m feeling a little more capable of reading them. But this time, they just didn’t get through the thick fog which was clinging to my mind.
So, you’re probably wondering what the signs / messages were? Crows. Yup. They’re frikking following me everywhere! I’ve seen more crows in the last little while than I have in all the (almost) 12 years I’ve lived in Jo’burg. And not in small doses either; there have been hoards (murders) of them all over the place, and in the most random places. Also, they’re present in almost everything I read or listen to at the moment! Okay, granted, when you listen to blues-influenced music all the time, you’re bound to come across some pretty intense imagery. But it’s been an alarming amount; enough for me to finally sit up and take notice. So, instead of going “Oh-my-gawd-I’m-gonna-die!”, I’ve done some research, and come back with some interesting results. Crows, ravens and rooks aren’t as grim and macabre as people think they are. So that’s good news, for me, at least! Haha
The symbolism of crows, ravens and rooks (the only difference between the three being size) is actually really inspiring: They have similar roles in various cultures’ folklore.
* Ravens are connected to past-life memory, be it conscious or intuitive – they are representatives of the Welsh hero Bran who was the holder of ancestral memories. His wisdom was so legendary that he requested that after his death, his head be removed and interred in the Sacred White Mount in London (Tower of London), where ravens still roost to this day. They are said to protect his wisdom and keep it alive. It’s also an ancient legend that if the ravens ever flee the Tower of London, the monarchy will fall.
* In Norse mythology, Odin was rarely without his two ravens, Huginn (representative of power of thought and memory) and Muninn (representative of the mind and intuition). His daughters, the Valkyries, are also said to have turned into ravens who went out and collected wisdom and knowledge.
* In Navajo tradition, the raven is said to have been the guardian of knowledge before creation, and it is him who flew out of the dark womb of the cosmos, bringing the birth of the sun with. They represent the Shaman’s powers, as they are a link to the other world and its knowledge, and to transformation and shape-shifting.
Some notes I’ve made on these birds, and on animal spirit guides / totem animals:
Integrity; doing to others what you’d have them do to you; teach us to know ourselves beyond the limitations of one-dimensional thinking and rules; teach us to appreciate the many dimensions, both of reality and ourselves, and to learn to trust our intuition and personal integrity; bring magic into our lives and teach us to harness it; assist in transition between life and death, between dimensions and worlds, between mind-sets and situations; keeper of sacred law; symbol of heightened creativity and spiritual awareness (closer to Heaven); teach us balance between light and dark; announce newness on the horizon - remind us to look for signs and opportunities; always watching and learning; motherly love; self-awareness; self-illumnation; self-reliance; healing; stir life without fear.; eloquence and knowledge.
Animal Spirit Guides: play a great role in aiding self-discovery and spiritual identity; capturing our imagination; assisting us in understanding our past (including past lives) and reveal glimpses into the future; by focusing on the attributes of our totems, we interanlise these traits adn begin to externalise the very character we absorb from them.
I read some things that made my spirit tingle:
- What has been in darkness will emerge into the light
- The bearer of the crow / raven / rook symbol, or those whose spirit guides are these birds, is someone who is loyal and watchful and vigilant for friends, and will fight for them (associated with Morrigan, a Celtic goddess of war)
They can also serve as a reminder that there are two parts to the soul; the light side, which we tend to nurture and encourage and adore, and the dark side, which we generally fear and try to suppress. I think that if people not only acknowledged the dark side of their souls, but paid as much attention to it as they do to the light side, balance and peace would probably be closer within reach. To ignore the darkness only makes it grow more malevolent, and it quietly grows, like the monster in the cupboard, until it’s so enormous that even if your dad came in with a fire engine, it wouldn’t be enough to scare it away. To acknowledge the darkness, and tend it carefully, will leave you with more beauty in your life than before.
Also, I think as an extension of the crow theme, I have had the Beatle’s song, Blackbird, stuck in my head for weeks. Even with all the Nick Cave I’ve been submerged in! So I had a little look at that too, and found that they are very similar to crows, but also use their song to put people in a trance / make them fall asleep, and guide them into the Other World, and they use their voices to impart wisdom and healing and awakening. They are also more associated with balance with Mother Nature than the other birds, but I think it’s because they are more delicate and pretty, to be honest. They also help us remain grounded as we walk a spiritual path, so that we don’t get lost with our heads in the clouds.
So, all in all, a very enlightening curve on the path. I’m very glad I started to notice the signs around me, and to pay attention to them. I really do think that the time is right for my transformation and with these reminders around me, I will find it a lot easier to keep focused on that, rather than the doom-and-gloom day-to-day stuff.
It’s also given me inspiration for my next tattoo… Been trawling a whole lot of sites for inspiration. It’ll probably only happen in December, after bonus-time anyway, so at least I have time to find the right kind of imagery and get it drawn up by the awesome Ross at Handstyle. He did my latest one, and I’m SO impressed with his work, so I’ll definitely be going back there!