Crow Symbolism: The Spiritual Meaning Of Seeing Crows

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Many people associate dreaming of or seeing crows with negative meanings such as death and darkness. And while you may think of these birds as scary signs of bad luck, crow symbolism goes much deeper than that.

In nature, crows are beneficial to the environment. These omnivorous birds eat just about anything. Crows even help farmers keep annoying pests in check.

Crow Meaning And Symbolism

Contrary to popular belief, crows are commonly viewed as good omens.

Crows are commonly believed to represent positive meanings such as transformation, destiny, intelligence, fearlessness, mystery, adaptability, and a higher perspective, as well as bearing some negative associations with manipulation and mischief.

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Superstition Surrounding Crows

The association between crows and death is perhaps most well known. After all, a group of crows is called a murder, and they're often used as a trope in horror movies to indicate that bad things are about to happen, especially to characters who've just see them.

Crows are largely associated with death because they are both scavengers and predators. As opportunistic eaters, they feast rom time to time alongside other carrion eaters like vultures and eagles, going where death has occurred to seek out food.

Because of this, crows are often portrayed as omens and harbingers of doom, but in actuality, they are highly intelligent and social creatures who just happen to be willing to eat pretty much as anything, as carnivores and omnivores must be if they want to survive in the wild.

Crows are unique in that they attend to their dead, holding "funerals" of a sort. More specifically, crows are known to gather around their dead — a practice known as mobbing — and to avoid nearby food in order to "assess danger and trigger anti-predator behaviors."

So no, crows are not evil — even if many people mistakenly believe they're bad omens because of how they're portrayed in media.

The symbolic and spiritual association between crows and death is more one meant to represent opportunity and transformation.

If you see a crow, pay attention. These amazing creatures have a storied history in many cultures. If a crow is your totem animal, it's a nod toward the wisdom, intelligence, and strength these creatures display.

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Native American Crow Symbolism

To many Native Americans, crows were often viewed as a kind of "power animal" and considered good luck. Some of their crow clans included the Hopi, Chippewa, Pueblo, and Menominee tribes.

Crows, because they're occasionally carrion eaters, are considered "cleansers" in these cultures, and therefore hold a significant space of respect and good fortune. They were also perceived as "tricksters" because of their naturally high intelligence, but this also meant that crows were a smart choice for spirit guides, power animals, and totem animals.

Japanese Crow Symbolism

The crow meaning in Japan has a long mythological tradition. They are part of some of the oldest myths of spiritual beings called "tengu" meaning "heavenly dog."

They've played the part of everything from tricksters to punishers of those who go against heaven's will, and even spirit guides for emperors.

Crow Symbolism In The Bible

While many people think of the dove as the first and foremost bird sent out from Noah's ark, it was actually a raven that he brought first. In many instances in the Bible, ravens and crows were tasked as heavenly messengers, charged by deities to bring food, water, and other sustenance to those under divine protection.

One of the earliest mentions of ravens and crows is after Cain killed his brother Abel. Adam and Eve didn't know what to do with their son's body, since they had never experienced death before. They observed a raven digging a hole and burying its dead fellow, and this is where they first learned how to bury the dead.

Crow Symbolism In Greek Mythology

Ancient cultures had many meanings for crows, but the Greeks had a distinct belief in what these birds represented.

They believed that crows were the symbol of Apollo — a prophetic god — and that everything from the color of the crow, to the number of them present, and even which direction it flew from all held important meaning in the form of messages from the gods.

Crow Symbolism In Literature

In many cultures, crows and ravens are often interchangeable and represented in stories, fables, and legends. These birds are an important part of many cultures, which can be seen in written mythologies, including Norse (Odin's birds Huginn and Muninn), Celtic stories (Morrigan's watchful crows), Greek storytelling (Aesop's Fables), and even Arthurian legend.

In fact, these stories are so prevalent that in 16th century England, it was forbidden to kill crows because of the story of King Arthur transforming into one.

The crow/raven has also been a large portion of many horror stories, one of the most famous, of course, being Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven," which depicted this bird as a sign of death, but also a symbol of wisdom as Poe's character works through his grief and loss over his love, Lenore.

Crow vs. Raven Symbolism

While crows and ravens are frequently mistaken for one another, their meaning is frequently similar in any belief system.

Crows are smaller than ravens, but because they're both considered extremely intelligent, and people have trouble identifying which is which, they're linked to the same mythologies and symbolism.

Therefore, most myth and belief regarding what crows represent is often the same as what it would be if the bird was a raven in another telling.

Crow Totem

Crows are well-known for building their nests up at the top of very tall trees and poles, which gives them an ideal vantage point for protecting their nests and watching for predators. Because of their wisdom, they literally had a "higher perspective" on things.

Because the crows are smart, they can band together to drive out bigger predators, which means they are a good symbol for overcoming adversity.

This behavior led many Native Americans to label crows as totem animals, meaning they were symbolic of sacred animal spirit guides that would give advice and share wisdom over the course of the life of the person they shared a connection with.

Crow Spirit Animal

Throughout history, crows have represented magic and transformation and, as a spirit animal, they are indicative of wisdom and intelligence. However, since crows are also considered "tricksters," they can be used as a warning against being manipulative and using that intelligence to benefit yourself at the cost of others.

Crows as spirit animals often represent a sign that you've gathered enough wisdom to move onto another difficult task.

Dead Crow Symbolism

Crows, living or dead, are often symbolic. If you see a dead crow, some believe this means you're nearing the end of one phase in your life and moving into another. This could be in your relationships, your job, or many other areas. Perhaps you're getting signs of spiritual awakening in your life that you need to pay attention to.

Seeing a dead crow is a symbol of metaphysical "death," meaning you're going to experience a change.

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What do the colors of crows mean spiritually?

Black Crow Meaning

Black crows symbolize transformation. Just as the night represents the transformation from day to night, so does the black crow.

To get to where you want to go, you must go through the darkness to reach the light. Transformation does not happen in your comfort zone, and the black crow intends to make you uncomfortable so you can achieve that transformation.

White Crow Meaning

White crows signify justice. If you have done good or bad, the white crow comes to tell you that your future will reflect that.

Similar to karma, the white crow comes to tell you that what goes around comes around. Crow spirit animals want you to act so you can have a bright future.

Gray Crow Meaning

Gray crows symbolize your shortcomings. Gray crows serve the purpose of reminding you of how far you have come and how far you still have to go.

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Red Crow Meaning

Red crows warn of a quest for freedom that will be less than peaceful.

The red crow means violence is near and you will likely have to fight for your rights or that cause you are advocating for. Just because the crow is red, that does not necessarily mean the fight for freedom will end in bloodshed.

It’s shocking to believe that all crows aren’t black. The majority of crows are, indeed black, and the remaining population of crows is white, gray, or red.

Crows that aren’t black are extremely rare, so many people don’t get the opportunity to see them in person or be aware of their existence.

Crow Meaning In Dreams

Crows showing up in a dream can mean a variety of things, and could be spirit guides there to help guide you.

It could be a sign that a new beginning is nearing, wisdom is needed, or that a life or death situation is coming soon. There are even spiritual meanings about feathers in your dreams, so the context of what the crow is doing is the best way to identify the meaning behind your dream.

Here are 6 things a crow might be doing in your dreams, and what each means:

1. Seeing a flying crow

The expression, "As the crow flies," means to go in a straight line and reach your destination without obstacles or anything blocking your path. So seeing a crow flying in your dream means it's time for you to do the same: head toward a destination and let go of the things keeping you from reaching it.

It means that it's time for you to let go and be courageous enough to be vulnerable. It's time to gain all the freedom that comes with vulnerability, so you too can be weightless enough to fly just like a crow.

2. A crow chasing you

Such a dream means it's time you stop making bad decisions and running away from the consequences. Eventually, all your actions will catch up to you.

The crow wants to tell you it's time to come clean and be honest about your wrongdoings so you no longer have to run away.

3. A crow on your arm or shoulder

This signifies that you're finally gaining enough emotional intelligence to understand what is going on in your life. You're now well equipped with the wisdom to overcome or accomplish what you desire.

That crow on your shoulder is like a spiritual chip on your shoulder.

4. A crow on fire or emerging from a fire

This indicates a spiritual awakening or rebirth is on the way. You're about to embark on a new beginning in life, where the old you or your old passions will no longer be the same.

5. A crow biting you

This dream means you are harboring anger toward someone. The crow is reminding you that you're strong enough to deal with them, even though it might hurt right now.

6. Catching a crow

This could be bad news. It may mean there will be an unfortunate death in the future that no one was expecting.

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Tamara Sanon is a writer with a passion for covering topics about health and wellness, lifestyle, astrology, and relationships. Follow her on Instagram for more.