Friday, January 30, 2009

Crow

I want to crow ;-) about something before I begin...Friend and fellow author, Kenzie Michaels, received a publishing contract for her upcoming release, All She Ever Wanted. Sorry, Kenzie, I'm drawing a blank on the publishing house that contracted it. But I did want to shout out: "Hell yeah!" and "Congratulations!"

*****

The Crow. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the Crow? For me, aside from the black birds that scavenge, it was the mystical belief that they are omens of death.

In my writing, I needed a mystical creature that could deliver a riddle from a higher power about the future. So, I started researching and quickly became fascinated by the Crow. Similar to the Raven it appears in mythology as a soothsayer, as a creator and cleanser and as omens of death. Okay, so I wasn’t completely wrong, but neither did I know near all of it.

Among the North America tribes the Crow was considered as the guardian of the sacred law that could see not only the past, but the present and the future. Ah, so a soothsayer that could easily be used in my story to deliver a riddle about future events.

In Celtic lore, the battle goddess Morrigan would shapeshift into either a crow or a raven and they were both seen as allies and companions.

Scottish folklore said the crow had 27 different sounds and each one of them correlated to an occasion, foretelling anything from coming guests to good fortune to an imminent death. Truly I found this fascinating and wanted to learn more about the 27 different cries. By the way, the number 27 was derived from the magical 3 x 9 derivative.

To the Greek, the crow was considered an unlucky warning. In fact, while crows were sacred to the Greek goddess Athene, she refused to allow them to perch atop the roof of Acropolis in Athens because they were omens of death. Even though they were considered omens of death, it did not prevent the Greek god Apollo from shapeshifting into a crow when he fled Typhon.

Medieval bestiaries saw the crow as birds of parental devotion and it was said that the crow led the migration of storks. Medieval Christians thought the crow was a sign of the devil because of its scavenging conduct, but it was also an icon of fidelity because it was thought that crows did not seek a new mate when its mate died. Magical properties were given to the crow as well, which included the skill to foretell the future, dismantle the past and to educate humans about how to mix humor, playfulness and love.

Interesting lore—or so I thought—was the Australian aboriginal legend. I found it in The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures, written by John & Caitlin Matthews © 2008:

“In Australian aboriginal legend, Crow, along with Tortoise and Frog, dissented in the corroboree (gathering) that suggested that Kangaroo and Emu, and Dingo and Goanna should mate. The animals fell to fighting but when they grew hungry, pelicans dived for fish to feed them and a fire was started to cook them. Crow warned them that to cook fish away from where they had been caught was illegal and the animals began to argue. Frog threw his voice to make it sound as if Crow was insulting Kangaroo, so confusing the other animals that they fell out even more and decided for ever after to have their own languages.”
All of this was a far cry from the 1994 movie, The Crow. In it, the lead character comes back as an undead entity bent on avenging his and his fiancée’s murder. Entertaining, yeah, and maybe he was loosely considered an omen of death, but he was really the cause of the death of those that murdered him and his fiancée. It was revenge and nothing more.

So, what do you think? Do you believe in the magical elements of Crows? For me, I don’t know, but I do know I had fun using the crow as a magical creature that showed up, shapeshifted into a beautiful woman with birdlike qualities and clothing made of feathers.

I hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

7 deadly screams:

Carrie from Wisconsin said...

For me, when I hear the words, "The Crow," or, "crow," I instantly thing of the late Brandon Lee from the movie or Marc Dacascos from the TV series, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven.

While the movie was about revenge, it was also about the act of killers reaping what they sowed. There was more to it, the people that were killed showed no remorse for what they did. If I'm not mistaken, in the movie, he helps the mother get clean for her daughter (who was his friend) for purging her system of the nasty drugs.

In the series, his task is to restore balance, and I suppose pay a debt for being able to reap his vengeance. The people he kills are scum and deserve it for the way they disregard human life....

I think that every hero needs some sort of vassel or guide. In InuYasha (an anime epic), he has Myoga the Flea, the Charmed ones had Kit (and one episode of Charmed incorporated a mythical crow), Buffy had Giles, Angel had Doyle and then Cordelia (visions), and Will Robinson had the robot (okay, stretching it a bit, I know but who can forget the "Danger Will Robinson, danger! Danger!"

Interesting blog topic! Very enjoyable.

Molly Daniels said...

Funny. The first thing that popped into my mind was the 'year of the crow'...the year that Sheryl Crow, the Counting Crows, and Russell Crow were mega-hits!

(pouting slightly) Thought you were going to 'crow' about Kenzie's good news?

Just kidding!! Couldn't resist!

Gracen Miller said...

Wow, Carrie, I wish I could have thought of everything you just said! My blog would have been ten times better if I had of. Excellent post, great comments and insightful. I loved how you tied it into the other paranormal shows. LOL And yes, I loved Lost in Space! Who can forget that awesome show!

Truthfully, it's been so long since I saw the movie The Crow, I couldn't remember much about it other than the revenge part. So, thanks for filling the readers in on your insight!

Thanks for commenting! Great having you with us. =)

Gracen Miller said...

Molly...GAH!...I HAD planned on mentioning Kenzie's good news in my blog. Was going to do it earlier in the week, but we had so many guest bloggers, I didn't want to take away from their poobah moment. THANK YOU so much for reminding me! I want to shout it to the world because I'm so excited for you. I'm going to edit my post right now! *hugs* I'll probably steal the "crow" line from you too since it fits the blog. LOL

Loved the fact that you thought of the Crows as celebrities instead of paranormal. Had me laughing at my ignorance of the secular world. Yeah, I recognize all of them, but I couldn't tell you one song Sheryl Crow or the Counting Crows sing. And Russell Crow...he was a hottie in Gladiator, but I can't tell you much of anything he's played in. :-(

Thanks for the comments and the reminder. *hugs*

Molly Daniels said...

Hooooow could you miss 'All I Wanna Do' and my fave 'Picture' (with Kid Rock) by Sheryl? And yeah, I'm drawing a blank on the Counting Crows too.

Freya's Bower is the publisher, sweetie:) Now if this snow would just melt so I can get to the post office to SEND IT!!!

Kenzie Michaels said...

Didn't the Counting Crows do 'Long December'? That song popped into my head while I was in the shower.

And thanks for the shout out!

Carrie from Wisconsin said...

Hi Gracen,

I've been writing a regular column for The Leader, which is a university publication, which has me always looking for these kinds of connections, so I am kind of trained to notice them. Gift/curse thing.

What you did was insightful. I learned a few things from your post, so I guess it inspired me.

Yes, the Counting Crows did Long December and Courtney Cox was in the music video...just a little bit of useless trivia.

Carrie