Grandpa Kewl

Book Review – Crows and Ravens, Marzluff & Angell

One might not be aware of the fact, and there is really no good reason why anyone should know this I suppose, but I have a personal connection with our black birds. It stems from reading a number of books related to the culture of the American Indians. In that culture, a person has what is referred to as a “spiritual animal”. Now this is a bit of a strange concept for folks that grew up in western culture but is quite common in others. A “spiritual animal” is something of a cross between a guardian angel and a spiritual adviser and a hero. In Indian culture, a man acquires his spiritual animal usually as a part of what is known as a “vision quest”. In the vision quest, a man, usually just coming of age goes off by himself and performs some form of tribal ritual that lasts until he has a vision. The vision tells the man something of what he is to become and usually includes some type of animal. That animal becomes his spiritual. If you spend any time reading the stories of the Native Americans, you will frequently encounter tales of the vision quest. It is a life-changing event.

As a white American, I have long passed that stage in my life when a vision quest would be appropriate, but I wondered….. I saw many persons adopt animals in a similar manner, usually an heroic animal such as a tiger, a buffalo, an eagle or a wolf. So, I wondered…. On a trip to New Mexico, out in the wild, not expecting anything of the sort, I knew…just knew…that I belonged to the Crow. There was an event, an incident, the details that I do not recall exactly, but an encounter with a Crow…and I knew. From then to now, my spiritual animal is the Black Bird..the Crow.

As a consequence, I have acquired a number of images of the Crow. I have fetishes, even a placemat. The most extraordinary present my bride has given to me is a painting of a Crow on a fence. It was found in a gallery in Albuquerque New Mexico in The BlackBird Gallery. The artist is Gin Pink…a made up name of an artist who prefers to hide her true identity. An image of the painting:


That is me.
I have never questioned my adoption. I just know that it is right. I talk to Crows and can do a fair imitation of some of their calls and there are times that we carry on a lengthy conversation.

So I bump into a book titled “In The Company of Crows And Ravens” and I have to have it…

It was an interesting book that tells quite a story of the relationship that has existed between people and Crows and Ravens. In the cave of Lascoux, one of the most famous images, found in the deep recesses of the cave may well include a Crow or Raven….

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