Crows, and especially ravens, often
feature in legends and mythology as portents or harbingers of doom or death, because of their dark plumage, unnerving calls,
and tendency to eat carrion. They are
commonly thought to circle above scenes of death such as battles. Their depiction of evil has also led to some exaggeration of
their appetite, and in films such as The Omen 2 we see then tearing peoples
eyes out whilst they are still alive!!!
In American folklore,
the Crow is often seen as a similar trickster to Coyote. However, the Crow's tricks tend to be more out of
malice and they rarely (if ever) are portrayed as a hero. One possible
explanation for this is that crows are often considered a pest, which
the tribes who came up with the stories featuring a Crow needed to survive.
In occult circles, distinctions are
sometimes made between crows and ravens. In mythology and folklore as a whole,
crows tend to be symbolic more of
the spiritual aspect of death, or the transition of the spirit into the afterlife, whereas ravens tend more
often to be associated with the negative (physical) aspect of death. However,
few if any individual mythologies or folklore's make such a distinction, and
there are ample exceptions. Another reason for this distinction is that while
crows are typically highly social animals, ravens don't seem to congregate in
large numbers anywhere but a) near carrion where they meet seemingly by chance,
or b) at cemeteries, where large
numbers sometimes live together.....
Amongst Neopagans, crows are
often thought to be highly psychic and
are associated with the element of ether or spirit,
rather than the element of air as with most other birds. This may in part
be due to the long-standing occult tradition of associating the color black with
"the abyss" of infinite knowledge, or perhaps also to the more modern occult
belief that wearing the "color" black aids in psychic ability, as it absorbs more electromagnetic
since surfaces appear black by absorbing all frequencies in the visible spectrum,
reflecting no colour.