Wheatfield with Crows ~ Vincent van Gogh (1890)
Crows ~ Nicoletta Ceccoli (2009)
The birds are the messengers from heaven. They fly in order to mediate between the beings on Earth and their guardian angels in the sky. It is possible only for them to soar up into the blue yonder and kiss the stars. Alighting back safely to the embrace of the tree. Their eternal companion and shelter. The wings of the birds are a mystery. It is not through the wings that they are able to fly. The first flap of their wings is a call for the seraph, who would instantly descend from the celestial space. By the next flap, the bird is buoyed up for the flight. All in a wink. It is the seraph who lifts the bird and makes it fly. The flapping of the wings is just an illusion to hoodwink the human eye.
There is no other bird which can be as intimate to the human being as the crow. For it is the crow which can spontaneously read the human mind. One look at your eyes. And it sees you through. An eyeball to eyeball encounter with the crow is difficult to sustain. The crow slouches its head playfully to look into your face. It is a gaze that penetrates through your heart. There is something intimate about those twinkling eyes. It has an inexplicable connect with our soul. The ancient mysteries are inscribed in that look. It is indeed the watchful eyes of our departed ancestors, who are unable to take off their eyes from their beloved progenies. Once we start to converse with that gaze, the archetypal memories that are deeply entrenched within the unconscious starts to unfold out. But we are not capable enough to endure it. And turn away. That is our misfortune.
In our mythologies and folklores, the crows find an enviable place in the order of things. The crows are considered to be the symbols of conjugal love and fidelity. In the dialogue by Plutarch entitled On the Use of Reason by the So-Called 'Irrational' Animals (1st Century AD), the wise pig Gryllus states that crows upon losing a mate, will remain faithful for the remainder of their lives, seven times that of a human being. The Innuits consider the crows to be the harbingers of daylight, as they welcome the dawn with their wake-up calls. For the Tlingit Indians in the North-West of the Pacific, the crow is a divine character, which organises the world, gives civilisation and culture and creates the sun. The most interesting of the legend is from Scandinavia, where the crow symbolises the twin principles of creation : the Spirit and the Memory. The crow is the treasure-house of the memory of the universe.
The crows are the birds of prophecy. In the Oriental mythology, the Mahakaala is represented by a crow in one of its earthly forms. The magnificently judicious God of Shaneesvara has chosen the Crow as His Divine Vaahana. The most magical aspect of the crow is its ability to divine the future, organise the present and reconcile the past, by criss-crossing time. It is the most stupendous endeavour assigned to any divine being in the Hindu cosmology. And it is the Crow which is regarded to be performing this task with a natural ease and an ethereal finesee. It has always been possible for a wise seer to comprehend the multitudinous meanings that remain hidden in the diverse calls of the crow. It pours out myriad answers to the perplexing mysteries of existence only into the ears of an ardent listener. Being the carrier of divine grace and enjoying a special intimacy with God, the crow has been created to teach human beings how to live a life full of love, humor and playfulness.
It is always bewildering to watch a crow building its nest meticulously along with its conjugal pair atop an embracing tree. To witness the bonding between the crow pair and the ways in which they feed and nurture their young ones are life intensifying experiences. One ought to have a thousand eyes to glimpse at the rain-soaked crow preening its feathers or a pair of crows cajoling each other with their smooching beaks and caressing necks. They belong to a sublime sphere of time and space. A crow would rejoice with its beloved when we are born, when we are in love and when we die. Every significant time. For they know the mystery of birth and death, all too well. There is a poignant moment in Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven (1845). The narrator asks a raven that had flown into his chamber, whether he could be reunited with his deceased beloved. The bird gazes imposingly, as befitting a messenger from the world of spirits and memories, but reveals nothing. It is this profound silence of the crow that compassionately envelops the vast expanse of the cosmos. And that is its beauty.