Crow symbolism and its spiritual meanings are powerful, complex, and often misunderstood. These magnificent black birds are fascinating creatures with a lot of depth and meaning.
Animal symbolism frequently appears in the traditions of earth-based spiritual practices. Animals manifest in synchronistic moments, dreams, visions, or other manners. Animal appearances are significant, yet their meaning might be difficult to understand.
There is often an eagerness among spiritual communities and practitioners to connect all animal symbolism to the rituals and beliefs of indigenous Native Americans. Most of the time, these assumptions are entirely inaccurate or overlook other cultures’ spiritual meanings like Celtic animal symbolism.
Animal symbolism is a deeply personal spiritual practice that cannot be fully described in a blog post. Any explanation in a book or blog post pales compared to your personal experience. However, my hope is by reading this information; you’ll understand each animal’s spiritual journey, which will help your personal interpretation.
Please note that I make every effort to ensure this information is correct and accurate through my own experiences and referencing sources throughout and at the bottom of this article.
Posts on this site may contain affiliate links that allow me to earn a small commission from your purchases (at no extra cost to you!)
Table of Contents
What’s the Difference Between a Crow and a Raven?
Ravens and crows have always had an aura of mystery around them and are often associated with occult practices, magic, bad luck, evil, and death. Their black-as-night color and scavenging practices gave them an image of darkness and mortality. However, there is a lot more to them!
These birds belong to the same Corvidae family, and they are similar in their characteristics (especially since they are entirely black), but they have physical and behavioral differences.
Ravens usually travel in pairs, while crows often travel in larger groups called murders. Ravens are visibly larger than crows and differ in their tails’ shape. While crows have a fan-shaped tail, the raven has a wedge-shaped tail and a slightly disheveled appearance.
However, one of the easiest ways to tell ravens and crows apart is by their voices. In addition, the sound that the crows make is more similar to cawing. However, ravens have a deeper sound, like a croak. If you’d like to hear the differences, Audubon has some wonderful sound bytes.
Crow Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning
Crow symbolism varies depending on different cultures and personal meanings and interpretations. They’re brilliant, and their spiritual meaning symbolizes change, inner transformation, growth, sly, cunning, and a bit of devious behavior.
Crows can adapt to any situation, which makes them an excellent guide when you need encouragement to overcome obstacles in your life. You may need to gain a new perspective on your situation, or you’re being asked to see a bigger picture.
Its association with death is not meant to cause fear but is instead a reminder of the natural transition that awaits us all. Death brings a new kind of life and the beginning of another phase.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of crow symbolism and spiritual meaning below.
What Do Crows Symbolize?
Whether you see them as pests or as mystical creatures, there’s no denying that crows have a lot of symbolism and meaning. Here’s everything you need to know about crow symbolism.
Intelligence and Imagination
Crows are very intelligent and let’s be honest, they know it. They often enjoy outsmarting other creatures and sometimes humans.
Crows don’t just caw for no reason; their sounds and gestures are part of their communication system. They also like to play their own games and have shown the unique ability to remember people’s faces. They can even build their own tools by using sticks or other plant debris to pry insects out of nooks and crannies.
Seeing a crow can indicate you need to spend some more time educating yourself, problem-solving, or doing more research before moving forward. There’s no shame in proceeding a bit slower, so you’re armed with more wisdom and deeper insight. Speak to your mentors or those you admire, watch some YouTube videos, and always remember, the library is one of the most magical places on earth!
Deception and Mischief
Crows are curious and lively birds who love to play! They are known for their cleverness and their tricky Nature. This is why they are often associated with deception, mischief, and thievery. They will not hesitate to steal from other birds or humans.
Seeing a crow suggests you need to be clever and a bit sneaky to get your desired outcome. You must outwit your opponent to achieve the goal you seek.
Change and Transformation
Its relationship with death is undeniable, but if we fear the aspect of mortality, it is because we cannot see beyond the ties of the ego and the earthly.
Death symbolizes the end of one phase and the beginning of another; it represents the perpetual cycle of life and the rebirth of Nature. Actual death is the beginning of another kind of life, and symbolic death brings growth and maturity.
If you see a crow, it doesn’t necessarily mean physical death but may indicate you’re about to begin a time of intense change and transformation. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Instead, it may simply represent the end of one cycle and the start of another!
Crows are omnivorous creatures and feed on organic material such as fish, plants, or carrion. For this reason, they have a negative image of eating rotten meat and dead animals, which associates them with an image of death.
In truth, they are incredibly resourceful, indicating their fantastic ability to adapt to any situation they may find themselves in. Crows represent the ability to take opportunities or problems and make the best of them.
Consider this aspect in your life or current situation. How can adapting bring more joy, fulfillment, or contentment to your life? Can a bit of creativity and resourcefulness change your perspective or dilemma?
Community and Loyalty
Crows usually move and live in large herds called “murders” and are seen as faithful and familiar animals. Traveling in large groups helps them defend their territory, makes it easier to find food and serves as a method of defense against predators.
They typically only have one partner for the rest of their lives, although they may mate with other partners.
When one of their own dies, crows are even known to hold funerals. Researchers don’t know if they’re mourning or looking for a cause of death to avoid their own.
If you frequently see crows, it may be time to check in with those you love most; your community. They can help you feel grounded, loved, and bring laughter to your life. Plus, you can do the same for them too! This can be family, friends, or anyone you’ve chosen to be a part of your community.
Spiritual Messengers From The Otherworld
Crows are highly vocal birds who love to gossip and are highly observant. They are messengers with the otherworld and can travel between the physical and spiritual realms.
The appearance of a crow is a sign someone is communicating with you, or an important event is about to happen. They may also represent past-life connections.
Strength, wisdom, and magic go hand in hand whenever crows are near. They are physical representations of power and spiritual growth; they remind us to seek knowledge and find strength as we adapt to our surroundings. They are mystical messengers, awakening memories that magic exists in our daily life.
Meaning of Crows in Numbers
Similar to Numerology and Angel Numbers, seeing a specific number of crows can hold particular messages or meanings in addition to the crow symbolism above.
1 Crow Spiritual Meaning
The number one symbolizes unity, innovation, the Divine, confidence, and new beginnings.
Since crows often travel in groups, seeing a single crow is believed to be a passed loved one bringing you a message or saying hello.
You may have a spiritual matter to address in order to grow and start fresh. Be careful about how you utilize your attention and what you focus on. You may be on the edge of a transformation or a new beginning.
2 Crows Symbolism
Seeing two crows symbolizes good luck, or you will have the opportunity to get involved in a new relationship. This can include relationships of all forms, including friends, co-workers, partners, and loved ones.
The number two symbolizes adaptability, balance, harmony, and cooperation. Seeing two crows could indicate you need to get involved with your community and loved ones. Be aware, empathetic, and attentive to the feelings of others.
Find a way to help others; it’s a beautiful way to connect with your soul’s purpose, the universe, and serve the needs of humanity.
3 Crows’ Spiritual Meaning
Three is a number associated with creative thoughts, self-expression, sensitivity, spirituality, and life cycles such as birth, growth, and death.
Seeing three crows is associated with transformation and changes; some say that a wedding or birth is coming, and others believe it’s a warning and you need to prepare for an attack.
4 Crows Symbolism
Seeing four crows means wealth and prosperity are on their way. It’s associated with stability, prosperity, and tranquility.
The number four symbolizes perfection, organization, stability, the four seasons, and the four elements.
Four crows are a reminder to be mindful of your goals and personal growth. Remember progress over perfection, don’t let meticulous analysis hold you back!
5 Crows’ Spiritual Meaning
Seeing five crows near your home is believed to herald illness or pain, although it can also symbolize spiritually overcoming obstacles.
The number five represents personal freedom, versatility, and resourcefulness, and is associated with the pentagram meaning and encourages you to connect with these aspects in your spiritual practice.
6 Crows Symbolism
The number six represents unconditional love, responsibility, compassion, and balance.
Despite this symbolism, seeing six crows is associated with misfortune and bad luck. It’s a sign to be cautious and take preventative measures. Similar to the Elder Futhark Rune Thurisaz, you should be in full cautionary and alert mode. Be mindful. Calculate and assess every move you make. Do not make decisions based on emotions.
Seeing six crows is an indication to maintain a balance between your material-oriented ambitions, spiritual goals, and your mental health. Take accountability for your actions, and stop being judgmental!
7 Crows’ Spiritual Meaning
The number seven is a sacred number associated with the gods, vulnerability, wisdom, truth, and Nature. It is the number of the seven chakras, the seven notes, and the seven colors of the rainbow.
Seeing seven crows is associated with spiritual evolution. You may soon be moving or changing jobs. Now is a good time to self-reflect and educate yourself more in-depth regarding your goals and spiritual path.
The number seven is all about evolving and developing new talents, listening to your inner voice, and being vulnerable enough to grow and progress in many areas of your life.
8 Crows Symbolism
The number eight symbolizes power, abundance, ambition, authority, the universe, and infinity.
Seeing eight crows is associated with more painful events, although it can be the beginning of a profound spiritual transformation. The number eight is a divine number related to the universe and infinity. A significant event may be approaching that will force you to decide between suffering or expanding.
Murder of Crows Meaning
Seeing a group of crows flying symbolizes problems within yourself. In general, it’s not strange to see a murder of crows since they often live in groups.
However, if they’re constantly following you or you begin to feel discomfort or dread, you may be repressing your feeling, and you need to externalize your emotions. If you don’t know where to start, now may be an excellent time to seek a therapist who can assist you further.
What Do Crows Cawing Mean?
The cawing of a crow can be interpreted positively or negatively. Since crows use gestures and caw to communicate with one another, they may not have a message for you at all. They’re simply going about their life.
However, if the crows are fixated on you, it can indicate you must make a change within yourself, or someone wants to give you a message and is trying to tell you something. If the bird caws only occasionally, it could be it just wants to get your attention.
Alternatively, if it makes insistent and shrill noises, it could be a sign that something terrible will happen, and you should be careful.
Crow Superstitions, Mythology, and Folklore
There are many Crow superstitions, mythology, and folklore out there. Some of these beliefs are based on crows being brilliant animals. Others are based on the bird’s association with death and transformation.
The crow was a messenger from the gods; it was associated with prophecy and bad luck or bad news. It was related to death, and in this sense, to the world of spirits, divination, spiritual messages, and wisdom.
Crows were associated with Apollo, the protector of the flocks and herds. They believed crows were initially white. However, when a crow informed Apollo that his lover Coronis was having an affair, his anger was so great, Apollo cursed the crow by turning its plumage black.
In Greek mythology this constellation is associated with Crater (Latin: “Cup”) and Hydra (Latin: “Water Snake”). The god Apollo sent the crow to fetch water in a cup for a sacrifice.
The crow landed near a fig tree and neglected its mission for several days while it waited for the figs to ripen. The crow returned to Apollo with a water snake, which it blamed for blocking the spring. Angered by the crow’s failure, Apollo cast the crow, the cup, and the water snake into the sky.Britannica – Corvus constellation
Morrigan is a Celtic war goddess attributed to death, destruction, power, and fate. She is a highly complex goddess who can’t be covered in a few paragraphs, but here’s a brief depiction of her association with crows.
The Morrigan is often associated with multiples Goddess including Badb Catha (meaning the scald crow of battle), Macha, and Morrigan. She is also sometimes connected to Dana and Anu. This is why she’s often believed to be a triple goddess with different attributes.
The Morrigan can transform into a crow but can also be accompanied by a murder of crows. Some believe that when a crow looks at you, it’s the goddess herself looking at you.
Macha, in Celtic religion, one of three war goddesses; it is also a collective name for the three, who were also referred to as the three Morrígan.
As an individual, Macha was known by a great variety of names, including Dana and Badb (“Crow,” or “Raven”). She was the great earth mother, or female principle, and a great slaughterer of men, as was another of the trinity, Morrígan, or Black Annis, who survives in Arthurian legend as Morgan le Fay. The third goddess was Nemain.
Are Crows Spiritual Messengers?
Crows are magical spiritual animals that travel between the world of the living and the afterlife. They are believed to bring messages from the spiritual realm.
Crows may appear after a loved one passes but can also be a message from the universe, your spirit guides, or a deity.
Crows often appear to someone new to their spiritual practice or who has been heavily involved in shadow work. This is a good thing and indicates you are establishing a connection with the spirit world.
Are Crows a Sign of Good Luck or Bad Luck?
Crows can be mysterious and conflicting when it comes to animal symbolism.
Crow symbolism can sometimes be viewed as unlucky and represent setbacks, difficulties, and a sign of warning. It could mean you need to be cautious and be prepared to face obstacles with creativity and intelligence.
Crows can indicate you are about to awaken psychic powers or that you’ve spent too much time suppressing them and rejecting this connection to the spiritual realm. Crows could also be a symbol of success since there will always be obstacles along the way before achieving any goal. This, of course, depends on your perspective.
The crow is also an animal associated with the family and the community, as they generally live in large numbers. Due to this, crow symbolism is linked to loyalty.
Dead Crow Symbolism
Seeing a dead crow physically or in a dream indicates you are completing a phase in your life and are about to experience a symbolic death. However, some spiritual practitioners believe this means a literal death, illness, or a hidden problem that will soon come to light.
It’s spiritually a sign of change and transformation; you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s ominous or not.
If your life feels unstable, now may be a good time to go with the flow and embrace this change. Prioritize shadow work and deep inner healing. You may need to accept some changes you don’t like, but remember the spiritual meaning of the crow and use your wit and maybe a bit of mischief to adapt to your new situation.
What Does it Mean When You See a Crow After Someone Dies?
If you see a crow after someone dies, it’s believed the crow is helping to guide their soul to the spiritual realm and communicating a message from them.
Some spiritual practitioners believe the crow roams to these realms to “feed” on the energy of mortality and death. It may be heavy and depressing, but crow symbolism represents the presence of souls leaving our earthly realm.
What’s The Spiritual Meaning of Finding a Crow Feather?
Finding a feather is often a sign of your connection with Nature and its cyclical seasons or a message from a deceased loved one or spirit guide who accompanies you from time to time from the other plane.
The feathers of a crow, like any other, are related to the earth. It can also be a sign that seeks to reconcile you with Nature and reminds you that you are being protected and looked after from the spiritual realm.
Crow Symbolism in Dreams
Crow symbolism in dreams can vary depending on various factors, and most importantly, who the person is and the circumstances of their life, the vision, and their perspective on death.
If you feel anxiety or fear when dreaming of a crow, it could indicate you feel threatened or worried about death, which is natural. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean physical death.
Depending on your spiritual beliefs, dreaming of a crow can also be a message from a deceased loved one, your enlightened self, a deity, or a spirit guide, especially if the crow speaks or communicates information to you.
The crow also represents your hidden abilities and skill, so it could illustrate a need to prioritize yourself and focus on personal development. This could mean inner healing, learning a new skill, time for creative work, or anything you’ve been feeling called to.
Do Crows Symbolize Death?
Yes, crows symbolize death symbolically and metaphorically. For some cultures, crows are connected with the spirits of the dead. They are a bridge between the physical world and the spiritual world. Many superstitions believe they are an omen of illness and death.
Crows represent the closure of a cycle or phase and the new beginning of another. The end and separation are often seen as something unpleasant, but it is inevitable in the cycle of life. Additionally, the crow is also a symbol of adaptation in the face of this change and community, wisdom, and mischief.
The Symbolism of a Crow Flying by You or Crossing Your Path
Suppose you come across a crow directly in front of you, flying or walking on its legs. In that case, it means something is causing you some emotional, physical, or spiritual imbalance, and you should focus on inner healing and practice some shadow work.
Think about what may be causing that discomfort and treat it as a symptom of something else more important.
If a crow flies above your head, it is a call to assess your point of view and try to gain deeper insight or a new perspective. You may be closing yourself off to a difficult issue for you to see beyond. Listen to your intuition and spiritual ability to provide clues or more information about your situation.
If a crow follows you, it’s because it’s a messenger from the spirit world, and you are a strong spiritual being with powerful abilities. Pay attention to any dreams, manifestations, or anything out of the ordinary you see or hear. It may indicate that someone from beyond has a message you’ve been missing or ignoring.
Can Crows Sense Death?
Mythology and legends have given the crows a gloomy and dark image, and their black color is associated with the night, witchcraft, and death.
It doesn’t help that large groups of crows traveling together are called murders. Plus, during the Middle Ages, the masks used against the black plague were shaped like a raven or a crow.
Looking outside the legends, remember crows are scavenger birds. In this sense, crows are animals that can “smell” death; that is, they are attracted to the smell of the decomposing flesh of a dead animal, and they are also capable of hunting small animals such as small birds.
What’s the Symbolism of a Crow Hitting Your Head?
Always assume the scientific reason before anything spiritual. If a crow has an aggressive attitude, such as flapping its wings to scare you away or trying to peck at you, it’s because it feels threatened.
It’s also likely to occur during their breeding season, and they become very territorial around their nests. You may have come too close to one of their nests, and they are trying to scare you off.
However, spiritually it could indicate you have a lot of negative energy around you. You may have hurt someone, been dishonest, or had a toxic attitude. Now is a good time to do some introspection work and begin to heal.
Spiritual Meaning of a Crow Looking or Staring At You
Since crows are curious creatures, it probably doesn’t have any negative meaning. Remember, crows walk between the physical and spiritual realm and have the remarkable ability to see things humans do not. This may be a spirit or a deceased loved one.
It may symbolize your closeness to animals, Nature, and magic because these crows are sensitive to these energies. Crows may be attracted to your spiritual power, and they perceive it as familiar and pleasant.
Remember, some people believe when a crow looks at you, the goddess Morrigan herself is looking at you.
What Does The Saying As The Crows Fly Mean?
“It’s about a five-mile drive, but only two miles as the crows fly.”
This expression means to get somewhere in the fastest, shortest route. Humans must travel by road, but crows can fly somewhere directly and get there much faster.
I hope this post on crow symbolism and spiritual meaning was helpful! Lots of love to you, and remember as always…
Further Suggested Reading
Jelbert, Sarah A., Alex H. Taylor, Lucy G. Cheke, Nicola S. Clayton, Russell D. Gray. Using the Aesop’s Fable Paradigm to Investigate Causal Understanding of Water Displacement by New Caledonian Crows. (Research study showing crows can complete the water-displacement test at a level comparable to human children aged 5 to 7.)