Mythical Monday: Ravens, Rooks and Crows Revisited by Mae Clair

Good day, friends! I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to borrow from a post I ran in 2012 for today’s Mythical Monday. I have a rare day off work and hubby and I are taking a short trip to a neighboring town known for its eclectic shops and microbreweries. My normal writing time this weekend was gobbled up preparing A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS (my Mothman novel) for submission and clicking “send” (more on that in a later post, I hope).

So I’m cheating today and rerunning an old post that not many people saw. I’ve trimmed this down from the original and tweaked a bit. I no longer have the car mentioned toward the end (it didn’t do well in northern winters, so I traded it for an SUV), but I do recall the fun I had on Twitter tweeting about the events in this post. Mostly how my car was used in a murder.

Curious? Read on . . . 🙂

A crow perched on a tombstone at night in a spooky cemeteryHow do you feel about birds associated with folklore and superstition?

Ravens have a long-standing kinship with mysticism. In addition to being portrayed as a familiar to witches and wizards, they were also known to be extremely divining. Many Native American tribes regarded them as “Keeper of Secrets,” wise ones who safeguarded the teachings of magic.

Raven, a man with the head of a bird, brought light into the world and taught its inhabitants how to care for themselves. On the flip side, the raven was also a Trickster initiating change, not always pleasant. I find it interesting the term “rook” made it into our slang as a reference for being swindled. A rook is an old-world type of crow or raven. In reality, these intelligent birds are clever mimics that have been known to learn human words.

In the Bible, Noah sent a raven from the ark in search of ground, but it flew back and forth, unable to find a place to land in a world deluged with floodwaters. Later, he sent the dove which returned with an olive branch. Ravens were also commanded to feed the prophet Elijah and, in the gospel of Luke, we’re reminded that God feeds the ravens though they don’t sow, reap, or have storerooms or barns.

Would I know the difference between a crow and a raven if I saw them? Probably not. I know that ravens are larger and prefer less populated areas, while crows are more apt to hang around cities and urban spaces. Even cars.

A solitary crow on a post bows its head Case in point:  Two weeks ago while visiting my sister, I walked outside to find six or seven crows camped out on the roof and hood of my Chrysler 300. If I’d had a camera, I would have snapped a picture – large black birds on a solid black car. Turns out there must have been something snagged in the wiper blades. I never did find out what it was, but it had one handsome gent summoning his cronies to investigate. Before I knew it, my car had become the site of a “murder”.

Now I like birds, but not that much. There is something inherently creepy about seeing that many black birds rooted to your car. It’s not natural. By the time I shooed them away, they’d already turned my wiper blades into a gourmet snack.

And, of course, it was raining. That meant I was treated to a firsthand glimpse of the damage on the drive home—my wipers trialing long black strings that looked like ragged feathers. Trickster? Two new wiper blades later, I’d say it’s safe to tack that name onto crows, too.

So, despite having my car become the momentary snack of choice, I haven’t lost my appreciation for these the magical tricksters. How about you?

17 thoughts on “Mythical Monday: Ravens, Rooks and Crows Revisited by Mae Clair

  1. The raven and the hawk. Wow…so many stories. I wish I knew how to drop pictures into comments. We came outside of a restaurant on Lake Eola where they have a problem with cormorants only to find our gold car white and green with bird poo. Tons of it. All the cars in the row blanketed in bird poo. I’m not a fan of birds.

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    • Oh, that sounds awful! That was one of my fears with all those crows on my car, what they might have done to my metallic black paint. Fortunately, they just chowed down on my wipers, LOL! Birds definitely have there downside! 😉

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    • Flossie, I can’t wait to see what you do with the crow. I have a friend who is writing a YA novel that centers on crows and I have a magical realism/ horror novel on a back burner that revolves around folklore related to ravens and birds. Love the mythology attached to them!

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  2. Brings to mind Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” That movie creeped me out big time when I was little and it still has the same effect today…especially when I see our pasture filled with them. Alrighty then…. Great post as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I lived The Birds, and like you can still get creeped out by it even though I know what’s coming. Hitchcock was a master. A field of blackbirds would definitely give me pause! Glad you enjoyed the post😀

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  3. Your captivating post brings to my mind the famous line from E.A Poe’s The Raven:
    “Quoth the Raven, Nevermore,”
    that is repeated again and again in the poem, starting to sound like a horrifying prophecy. The final image – a sleeping demon with burning eyes.
    In Romanian lore the crow/raven are symbols of death. However in Romanian fairy tales they help prince charming and bring him food or objects that have magical powers.

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    • I love Poe’s The Raven, Carmen! In fact my original post from 2012 referenced it.i find that Ravens are often seen as a harbinger of death, but hoe cool that in Romanian folklore they also bring magical trinkets!

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  4. I related the gist of this article to my crow friend, who perches each morning on the lamplight outside my window to eat his breakfast. He told me that rubber is a good nesting material when natural flora is in short supply. I tried to exact some sympathy from him for your position, but he simply said: ‘If you get a good idea, go with it’. It was around then I noticed he was holding a length of the garden string I use to tie off my sweet peas in his beak. We aren’t speaking at the moment.

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    • Thanks to you and your crow friend, I am now educated as to why my windshield wipers held such magical appeal. Hopefully, my current and future vehicles won’t be so tempting (I have a feeling they were posing, as they did look awfully photogenic on that long black car). Sorry to hear about the garden string. Hope the rift doesn’t last long, your crow friend will find other suitable nesting material, and you’ll be back on speaking terms again, soon. They are very poetic looking! 🙂

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