crow symbolism

Spirit Animals: CROW SYMBOLISM

Crow Symbolism

Just as crows proliferate in the company of humans, so too do stories of crow symbolism. Associations with crow spirit animal can vary from mischief to benevolence, from creation to death. Crow is the carrier of light and the embodiment of darkness. Crow is known worldwide and nearly every culture has myths about him. The symbology of crow is vast and contradictory and there is a lot of information out there about crow symbolism.

Rather than go into a whirlwind of the spiritual meaning of crow by sharing an unrelenting laundry list of characteristics, I’m going to focus on one very meaningful aspect of crow symbolism.

Keeper of Sacred Law

As a child I studied the book Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson religiously. I’ve known for a long time that crow is the keeper of sacred law, but I lived most of my life not knowing what sacred law really was. All I knew was that it was not the same as human law.

Eventually, the picture came together for me when I discovered the mystical laws. One day it dawned on me: sacred law = mystical law. Now you ask, “What is a mystical law?”

What is a Mystical Law?

A mystical law is a truth about how the cosmos works. Much like a law of physics, a mystical law helps us predict how things will turn out as well as why things happen as they do. Physical and mystical laws are law because they are repeatable, occurring every time and everywhere without fail. They are universal. They are a certainty that automatically orders the cosmos.

Mystical laws are similar to physical laws in that they have nothing to do with the civil laws of humans. Civil laws are the laws we write as a way to impose order on society. Civil laws require our enforcement and intervention to hold in place. Mystical and physical laws run regardless of our efforts. In fact, our impulse to resist, change or assist universal laws has no bearing on how or if the laws act. The laws of the universe are outside of our control. We are subject to them.


Find your spirit animal workshop. Painting of red-tailed hawk.


Laws of Physics & Mystical Laws

Some laws of physics are also mystical laws, like the law of conservation of energy. According to the law of conservation of energy, energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form. The mystical law of the conservation of energy teaches us that when we feel drained of energy, that the energy has to go somewhere. We learn from this mystical law how to become conscious of the movement of energy. We also discover that death is not a disappearance, but a change of form.

Other laws of physics are interpreted symbolically rather than literally when seen as mystical laws. A wonderful example is the law of gravity. In the world of physics, the law of gravity is what holds our feet on the earth. From a mystical perspective, the law of gravity speaks to our attachments, the things that we revolve around that hold us back from moving forward. The more entrenched you are in your own history, the more gravity, or weight, you carry and the slower you progress.

Other physical laws that are also mystical laws include:

  • The law of cause and effect which is known as karma
  • The law of magnetic attraction
  • For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction which equals the law of the Tao

The Mystical Laws of the Cosmos

In addition there are mystical laws that stand on their own and relate to metaphysical discoveries. For example we have:

  • Thought comes before form
  • What is in one is in the whole
  • All nature is paradoxical
  • All of life is interconnected

Why Crow Spirit Animal?

Now here begs the interesting question – Why is crow symbolism associated with sacred (mystical) laws? There are a number of answers.

As an entirely black bird, crow is associated with the void. The void is the place of pure potential, also known as the collective unconscious, from which all things emerge. Familiarity with the void allows spirit animal crow the chance to know the unknowable, to have a deep awareness of the order of things.

Crow is a very social creature able to reach the heavens through flight. He understands the complex interactions that occur between individuals. He can transcend the ground-level politics of civil law and find the greater truth in sacred law.

Crow symbolism is associated with death. Throughout history he and his comrades flocked to battlefields to feast on fallen bodies. Death is a perfect example of the unyielding nature of sacred law.

The meaning of crow has to do with his clever nature. Crow is known for his ability to solve complex puzzles, use tools, and understand a vast vocabulary. Like his cousins raven and magpie, crow is a member of the corvid family, a group of birds known for their human-like intellect. Of all the corvids, crow is most often in contact with humans.

This watchfulness allows crow spirit animal to understand the habits and actions of people, to know civil law. He carries this knowledge up and applies the same observational skills the workings of the cosmos. Thus, he becomes the keeper of sacred law.

How Sacred Law Applies to You

When you find yourself in the midst of crow symbolism, it is time to step out of societal norms. Where in your life do you feel like things aren’t fair?

The mystical laws don’t apply to what you think is fair. The concept of fairness will only keep you grounded.

It is time to release your attempt to restore balance and instead to watch the cosmos to find it’s own equilibrium. Things may not end up how you’d like. However, you’ll learn something powerful about the way the world actually works instead of trying to unsuccessfully force it to work how you’d like it.

Who are you trying to bring to justice? You are not God. It is not your job to punish others or seek retribution. You have no idea what someone else deserves, what karma they carry, or what actions they’ve already set in motion.

Turn your attention with crow spirit animal to glimpsing the mystical laws and find yourself in a larger cosmology. Let the magic of crow teach you how to see life impersonally and better understand the nature of existence.

Crow symbolism overlaps to a good degree with raven symbolism, so you may also want to read my article on Raven Spirit Animal for additional insight. In my article on raven, I share the difference between raven and crow medicine.


Find your spirit animal workshop. Painting of red-tailed hawk.


Stacey Couch

About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch

Stacey Couch is a Spiritual Advisor who supports creative seekers learning as they go on the spiritual path. She serves beginner and life-long students of the soul. Her compassionate and collaborative approach honors the humanity and value of each person. Wisdom found in story, mysticism, and nature provide guidance and healing in her work. Through meeting with Stacey, lost souls find refuge. Connection to the Divine is realized. Belonging comes. She is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. Learn About working with Stacey
8 replies
  1. Marilyn
    Marilyn says:

    Stacey, thank you for this beautiful article. I have loved crows since I was a child and found them to be a healing presence in my childhood. We live in the beautiful Northwest and I love to walk for miles around my neighborhood. However, at this time of year I am almost house bound with fear and anxiety because every time I am out walking I get dive bombed by crows. I have searched for meaning at this behavior as I realize it is a larger message. I also realize they are protecting their soon to fledge little ones. Over the past twenty years this type of behavior has happened to me, beginning with starlings! Then crows and when we were visiting New Zealand, sea gulls! I love all birds and animals and have very strong connections to owls and eagles with many amazing and spiritual awakenings and encounters. Thank you for your wisdom and insight. I really appreciate your work.

    • Stacey Couch
      Stacey Couch says:

      You are so welcome Marilyn. And yes, the crow population is especially booming in the Northwest! I used to live in Seattle so I know what you mean. Birds of all feather are especially fascinating spirits to connect with. Thank you for opening up to their larger message and for sharing your story. Many Blessings, Stacey

  2. Marian Joy Barker
    Marian Joy Barker says:

    My husband died in February of this year and ever since then , a crow has been visiting me , watching , and following also…i read on the internet that a crow is my husbands spirit animal according to the Cherokee astrology chart. ( He was 3/4 Cherokee) He worried about me all the time…could this bird have been sent to watch over me or what would be the purpose ..i feel comforted by his presence somehow

    • Stacey Couch
      Stacey Couch says:

      Hello Marian, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband. I wish you to be surrounded by all the comfort you need. I believe that it didn’t occur to you by mistake that the crow is there to watch over you. Your intuition is keener than you might think. The fact that you are comforted by the presence of the crow is evidence that you are connecting in to the support the universe and your husband’s spirit has to offer you. Follow and trust that thread. There is more going on in the invisible world than we often give credit to. Many Blessings, Stacey

  3. Lulu
    Lulu says:

    I have had this tab open for about a week. Every now and then I would come back to this page because I have such a deep connection to this beautiful black bird. Crow has been an guardian of mine since I was a child. In Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania – where I was born – crows are all over the place and considered to be nuisances. But I was always drawn to them – wanting to keep them from harm. Crow was there during my first Shamanic journey of soul retrieval. Thank you for your service to our universe.

  4. Mark Weiler
    Mark Weiler says:

    As you say the Raven and the Crow are cousins but while the look similar they are very different especially in the spirit world. I have had a lot of Ravens guide me at times over the years but I am connecting more and more to the crow energy these days. As you say they help take us to the void of pure potential of collective unconsciousness to help us know the unknowable. For the last couple of years my dream world has been very active and powerful. I have been reading about the Crow as a guide in the dream world and am curious about your comments on that.

  5. vanessa portillo
    vanessa portillo says:

    This morning as i walked out to my car there was a crow on the very top light pole that was crowing away then as I left my neighborhood it flew to the other light pole then finally flew away not going to lie it did startle me. O read up on it and says it’s either bad Omen or bad luck could this possibly be true ?


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