Sacrifice, instinct & balance.
Crow Teachings 2 - Thank you for continuing to accompany me on this journey with crow
Since Crow Teachings 1 my friends took to calling me, hopefully temporarily, Mama Crow or Crow Mother as I was still responding to Corveys every caw and feeding him with a literal, yet very tiny, silver spoon… my god, I was hearing that caw in my dreams…Crows are classified as song bird you know, what’s that about?
He quickly regained his strength and readily adapted to me. This could be shocking confidence or simply the fact that I was the one filling his belly?
The wildlife experts had explained that baby Crows, just like human babies, imprint quickly (an obvious survival move) One expert suggested keeping my distance so that he didn’t ‘humanise’ and the other, relaying that Crows are social creatures and he needed company and interaction??? Confused…… all I could do was what felt right, observe his reactions and response and act accordingly.
Anyway, during feeding, I was considering what constitutes a healthy Crow diet. Advised to feed Corvey cat food, transition into minced beef, to include meal or wax worms and a few other tasty morsels all mushed up with warm water thus simulating regurgitation. It absolutely stank! I’d also been told of a mineral powder that can be added to the stinky mixture, should he become deficient and get ‘white feather’. I was prepared to obtain the aforementioned powder should a ‘white feather’ show itself. In fact, I’d noticed just how prepared I was to do whatever it took to rehab and release this gorgeous glossy black little fella.
Reflections…Going the extra mile….
I’m no stranger to going the extra mile, I’m a mother. Taking care of this demanding and righteous young bird had me lacking in sleep, cleaning up shit and my back, oh my back was aching. It’d been a very long time since there was infant in this house and the tiredness, two hourly feed disruptions and pile of dirty laundry had me reflecting on my own parenting journey….
I was also acutely aware of the ironic timing of this visitor…. Just as my own children are flying the nest, along comes another baby! I’d already been asking myself a few interesting questions in relation to being ‘chickless’? But more about that another time…
A few tears…
I meandered down memory lane, re-remembering events and stories, selecting them from an archive deep within me, bringing with them all the old emotions. Together, my boys and I faced battle after battle. Both stared death in the face in childhood and both were raised to be their own people; this comes with its own challenges as anyone who sings to their own tune will know…
Sitting on the carpet resting my aching back considering some of the bigger potholes in the road of parenthood, hot stingy tears gathered as I realised possibly for the first time what a journey the last 20 odd years had been…. The sacrifices I’d made, the ‘extra miles’ I’d tallied up and the subsequent marathons I’d run and realising in the process how not all sacrifice is equal….
Corvey meanwhile, belly now full, was preening his feathers, stretching his legs again and again, hoping on and off the perch I fashion from a fallen tree branch was beginning to flap his wings. His instincts were amazing to watch. One minute being fed by a middle-aged woman with silver spoon and next doing his crow routine like a pro. A thought came to me… Crows, probably all animals, just do what comes naturally to them and this is not questioned by them or, I assume, others. While I recognise that humans are somewhat more complex creatures this thought touched me none the less…and raised another question around why we as mothers often doubt ourselves????
For all the upset he’d experienced over the last few days he was acting exactly as his instincts led him and without doubt or question…his resilience was impressive but not nearly as much as his natural ability to do what he needed be done in order to become a fully-fledged crow.
Sacrifice, instinct and self-sacrifice…
Returning to my reflection; I raised my kids, feeling into my heart and trusting my gut and honestly, I took a lot of shit for it. There were enough frowns and raised eyebrows to last a lifetime and I remember the turmoil this caused. Feeling as though I knew what was best for me and my tiny family but being told otherwise by just about everyone. In order to gain acceptance, support and to placate others I assumed more than a few roles of expectation and honestly these were the most painful times. The times when I feel I sacrificed myself, going against my instinct and feeling wretched and powerless; it all came down to not trusting in myself enough… so then I felt guilty about that too!
For me, there’s sacrifice for the greater good, then, there is sacrificing ourselves; for family patterns, for inherited wounds, for expectations, tradition & culture in order to garner love and acceptance… and in Motherhood to be viewed as ‘Good’…. Resting on the floor reflecting on our difference, the old wounds and stories came flooding back as though Corveys unquestionable self-assuredness and flapping wings had rippled the waters of my past. Some interesting characters, all too willing to self-sacrifice, arose from the now lapping waves… all having been told at one point that their instincts were of no value or fanciful, sometimes just plain ridiculous…. The hot tears started rolling…
I’m just doing what comes naturally right?
The world over, caring for others is obviously celebrated, but for women folk it’s actively encouraged, even expected. We are the nurturers and carers, right? And this ‘correct caring’ fits within certain accepted parameters.You see, we can go to such lengths to fulfil the Good Mother idea that we often forget ourselves and our power & the self-sacrifice that it can take to achieve such accolades…….
Pious action and earnest commitment are revered but we must ensure that these deeply ingrained patterns and stories, even drives, do not topple over into the realms of pious deception.
It can become so easy as givers to give ourselves away in the caring process for all-manner of subconsciously perceived rewards… beating ourselves for not attaining the ridiculous expectations of ourselves and the expectations of other.
Here is an abridged version of beautiful story from the Native American group known as the Lenape it speaks of sacrifice in an amazing way and to me speaks of the right reasons, reasons for the greater good of all…
Great spirit had thought into being the lands and the animals and all was well. Great Spirit next thought into being the first winter and food and warmth were scares. Wise owl called a meeting and it was decided that one among them would fly to visit Great spirit and ask that she unthink winter. Rainbow crow took the flight an sang to great spirit of the coldness upon the land and the lack of food and asked her to unthink winter.
She could not, she said, for once a thought was thought, it could not be un-thought, but she offered rainbow crow something instead. The gift of fire- A flaming stick lit from the Sun and a few words of warning.
Here, she said, you may warm yourself, the earth and the animals with the fire but fly quickly as the stick will soon burn down. Rainbow Crow flew quickly back to earth and spread the warmth across the land and return of spring, but he suffered in his action…. his feathers became singed and blackened and his beautiful singing voice became a caw.
Crow was sad that he was now blackened and could no longer sing but Great Spirit reassured him. When men come to the Earth they will not hunt you for food as your meat will taste of smoke or capture you for your song, you will always be free. Now look at your feather and see how, if you look closely, there are still shimmering rainbows and Crow was happy once again…
All journeys come with insight and when were in amongst the demands of child rearing, working, juggling responsibilities and social expectations all the little golden nuggets can be hard to spot…sometimes we must look closely.
There’s a fine line to be walked between the role of self-sacrifice, sacrifice for the greater good and the wisdom gained in giving just the right amount. The steps on the road of this finely struck balance are easier to navigate when we our trusting our instincts and indeed singing our own tune … be it caw or lullaby. The action of doing things our own is what makes us, us! This beautiful uniqueness not only determines what medicine we carry but how and just like the Crows famous caw can be recognised from miles away. Crow is no longer trying to be a songbird, he is who he is… either feared or revered the world over he has earned his place as one who holds wisdom.
Therefore, as rainbow crow shows us we must remember that our roles inclusive of sacrifice for the greater good are sacred and come with their own gifts, thus they are in need of honouring, and a trip down memory lane to retrieve those nuggets may be in order…
As I have gently paddling through these remembrances I shed old heavy stories of ‘not good enough’, ‘powerlessness’ and ‘no right to be me’… something I’d never fully realised I was still carrying… it was as though the rippling of the inner waters gave permission me to acknowledge, honour and accept the marathon of a journey and reclaim some gold along the way.
It is said that Crow carries the power of deep transformation, should one be willing to go there. My current unfolding is proving to be beautiful and I am in awe of these most amazing Crow Teachings