Sacrifice, instinct & balance.

Crow Teachings 2 - Thank you for continuing to accompany me on this journey with crow

Corveys wellbeing…

Rainbow Crow - www.uncorkedcanvas.com

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?

Instinct

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….

Doubt…

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!  

How could you not love 'im?

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.

Folklore

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…

 Rainbow Crow

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…

Crow Teachings

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

Crow Teachings - An amazing journey with Crow!

The Keeper of Spiritual Law, the Guardian of the Void, and it would appear, the re-education of me…

The Universe sent me a gift of Crow Medicine

It's easy to get very caught up in your own ideas of what needs to happen in life, where you’re heading and what the future should look like. The mind is a powerful and creative force, backed-up by social conditioning, tells us that thinking your route through life is the right and only way to behave. After all when you ‘know’ stuff, you're safe, and therefore in control of your destiny, right!

The Universe however often has other plans and brings us the unexpected. These curve balls can appear as inconvenient and not part of the plan but viewed as an opportunity can evidently turn into the most transformative experience. On May 16th, the Universe dropped in and offered me a gift of Crow Teachings!

Our first meeting

Meet Corvey…

After a full day of mentoring, I nipped out into the garden to water the Californian poppies I’d transplanted the day previously….

And there he was, huddling between the fence and the raised veg beds…. This little bundle of feathers, gangly legs and a beak that’s all too big for his head, took me by total surprise.

He opened his mouth wide and I saw the flash of red! Apparently this is fear response and not hunger as one may first imagine.

First of all, I took a seat nearby whilst looking out for his parents, keeping my tom cat at bay, consulting the God of Google and getting in touch with a local wildlife expert….

Ironically Crow energy has been part of my Spiritual life for more than ten years in the form of Spirit animal, Guide and without a doubt a teacher. It was not lost on me, even with all the practical stuff going on, that suddenly there he was in the flesh! Spirit works in mysterious way huh!?!? This was no meeting of chance

Folk Lore...

To many Crow is the keeper of Spiritual Lore, Guardian of the Void, even the representation of Odin! The Celts have The Morrigan, a warrior goddess of War, Death & Fate, crow-shape-shift or flanked by a flock of them. Story after ancient story speak of the Crow as an omen, or, as in some Native American tales, Crow is the intelligent messenger who comes to teach us about ourselves! Sacred Crow Teachings.

Be it physical or spiritual, I knew I was about embark on an unexpected yet interesting leg of the journey!

Night is closing in…

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First re-homing attempt!

Anyway, it was going to get dark soon so I eventually popped Corvey on the shed roof under the tree he’d fallen from and went inside. I watched dutifully from the window hoping that his parents would return and take care of him…. Unfortunately, they did not. The Wildlife expert advised bringing him inside as he was too vulnerable to make it through the night alone…

In light of the above, Corvey spent his first night indoors. He cowered on an old curtain, in his hand-towel nest, beneath the make-shift washing basket cage. I discovered very quickly that bird shit and soft furnishings don’t mix! Finally though, at the expense of a hand towel, he was safe and warm!.

The next morning...

The following morning, I woke and was a little afraid. What if he hadn’t made it through the night? Maybe my bringing him inside had been too much for his little heart to take? What will happen now, he can’t live under a washing basket!!! I could pace around the hallway all day or get a grip! I decided on the latter...

Basically, I donned my big-girl-pants, took a deep breath and opened the lounge door. He looked straight at me!‘He'd made it!’ What a relief!... My relief was followed by feeding, cleaning up, feeding, cleaning up, feeding… you get the idea. I managed to find a big cage on a resale site and one kind soul sent us a donation…. It looked like the Gods had given me everything I’d needed to support Corvey and the journey had begun… the learning curve very quickly became vertical and the insights came thick and fast....Without doubt the Crow Teachings were underway.

Crow Teachings…

For years I’ve always considered myself as quite connected to Nature. Camps, retreats, fire ceremony, forest work, all coupled with working with the Four Directions, the elements and the plants, yet until now I’d never really worked with the animals. This reminded me of a Brene Brown quote

"I love the human race, people however, nah, not so much"

I was similar with animals, and if I’m honest, they always scared me a little bit. Animals, however, have always been pretty keen on me. At a friends house her big dog would sit on my feet, her cat near my shoulder on the back of the sofa and bird after bird would land on the conservatory roof. I’d sit very still and rather wide-eyed as my friend would laugh saying…. “Look at you, Dr Doolittle, they love you!” The feeling was not mutual…

Anyway, here I am, Corvey in tow, spirit having plugged an ethereal HDMI cable into the back of my head to ensure the messages get through and the teaching began.

How connected to nature are you?

Pavement Poppies

I opened the lounge curtains on the second morning of Corvey's residence, it struck me just how, in reality I'm more disconnected from Nature than I'd previously cared to admit. I paused to allow this thought to sink in. "I’m manipulated on a daily basis by the environment I’ve created and now Corvey was being subjected to it too'! In a word I was shocked!

How many of us wake with the rising sun, retire with the setting and in between know how to source food, find clean water, build shelter, light fires?

I've gotta tell ya, I’ve done a bit of the above, but on a daily basis, with my survival dependent on it, how long would I survive? How long would any of us survive? And how pleasant would that survival be?

Via an unremembered internet platform (sorry) I recently heard an aboriginal man describing Western Culture, on account of our disconnection from nature, as being ‘three days deep’… meaning after three days of not being able to fulfill our most basic needs, the shit would begin to hit the proverbial fan!

Please consider this- food comes in plastic packages, power comes down pipes and cables, the mind is distracted by shinny things, etc, etc, etc, it's important to acknowledge the potential outcomes for all of this in relation not only to our consumption but also our natural sacred connection? How disconnected from our instincts are we? How disconnected from Nature and Mother Earth are we? Moreover, how disconnected from our bodies are we with all these external distraction and 21st century comforts?

How can we love and care for something that we are not connected to?

All is not lost...we can become balanced again

You have time. You may think you don't but in truth you have a moment to stop and smell the roses, both literally and figuratively. There are 5 minutes in the day to sit consciously, to reflect, or place your toes in the grass, sand or sea… It is still possible to feel the heartbeat of Mother Earth in the wild places… her rhythm is slow, strong and reverberates with deep wisdom. We can consciously reconnect to Her at any time, she is ALWAYS there. My favourite way to connect with Her is to make offerings... berries, libation, mandalas, even menstrual blood... I show Her love as she shows me love. A beautiful Mother, daughter relationship of reciprocity.

Remember the question above about love and connection? When we love and connect with something, we care for them. Strengthening your relationship with planet is key to saving her and you.

Give yourself the gift of time, without delay, go outside, sit, admire your view even if your vista is not picturesque. There is beauty everywhere and you will feel better for it. See what you can sense, hear and feel… does your body have a message for you? What is she or he thirsting for? Does nature have a sign or symbol to gift to you?

In due time these moments of contemplation and connection will bring you an answer you have been searching for. Allow the Natural world and your connection to Her to do their magic. Starting small is all it takes and is the road to falling in love with her and hopefully yourself too.  

Big love, Charlotte & Corvey - Crow Teachings, Crow Medicine xxx

To find out more about Charlotte's work, aside from temporary 'Crow Mumming', take a look HERE