owl & crow

stephanie anderson ladd

The meaning of owl and crow

In my shamanic journey life, Owl sits on my right shoulder and Crow sits on my left. They are my spirit guides and show me the way when I am sitting in uncertainty or the unknown. Of course, sometimes I don’t need to go anywhere but need to just Be where I am in the stillness or the discomfort, or wherever it is I am sitting for that moment, until the path becomes clear. They are the yin and yang of my soul.

Owl is the dragoman (I love that word) of the night, the shadow, dreams, the invisible, underworld, the unconscious. Owl was the companion of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and as such, revealed unseen truths to her. Owl had the ability to shine light on Athena’s blind side, allowing her to speak the whole truth and not half-truths.

So you could say Owl helps keep me honest and guides me to the truth in a situation. That does not mean it is always wise to speak the truth that I see because I have learned that there is a time to be silent with understanding and a time to speak out. I think true wisdom comes from knowing when is the right time to speak your truth. Owl gives me courage to both accept and utter what is difficult. He is quiet and contemplative (the introvert), yet sure when he leads the way into the darkness.

Crow is the yin to Owl’s yang. She is surveyor of the light, daytime, all things visible, and she teaches about living in the world, about living in consciousness and about illusion—what you think you see is not always what’s real. She is talkative, inquisitive, impatient, crafty when she needs to be, and bold. She is the extravert side of me. Crow can be opinionated and speak with the force of her convictions, but the lesson for me is to be mindful of my opinions and actions. Sometimes Crow is impulsive and then I must pick through the carrion of my thoughtlessness and eat crow.

A New Life

A New Life

Crow is also symbolic of the alchemical process of nigredo, the beginning state of a substance before it has been formed and reached its full potential. Therefore, crow is about the magical process of creating something out of nothing. Crow magic is about change and adjusting to shifts, and boy have I been doing a lot of that lately by moving across the country, and in effect, starting a new life.

In the wild, owl and crow are often enemies, but in my world they are companions who co-exist and work together to help me achieve the balance I need in life: the balance of masculine/feminine, light/dark, above/below, conscious/unconscious, inner/outer. On this blog, they are my guides and messengers of wisdom and truth shared amongst my sisters and friends: bringing messages of truth and wisdom in both directions.

About The Author

I am in a stage of new beginnings, of starting over on the other side of the continent from California, where I spent 38 years of my life. Moving to North Carolina was a bit of a shock to my system. Not so much culture shock but the shock of transplanting myself and starting over as a therapist, artist, and wild woman. I had to figure out how I was going to do it differently than I had been doing it. Because I knew I needed to change the way I worked outwardly to match the way I was feeling and moving inwardly and make it more playful, and at the same time, deep and meaningful. I knew I wanted to work with women primarily, to help them find their way on the heroine's journey to wholeness. I knew I wanted to bring more creative expression to my work because that was what was working for me--a way to bypass all the analytical thinking, perfectionism, and psychological paradigms largely created by men, and find more more intuitive ways of Being, Creating and Flowing with Life, in keeping with the Divine Feminine. I like working with the triple goddess: maiden, mother and crone, which describes the three stages of life as well as inner states of being--the innocent/adventurer; the nurturer and active doer; and the wise being who has the advantage of overview and doesn't care as much what others think of her as long as she is being true to herself. The triple goddess is found in most all cultures and traditions and helps us move out of dualistic thinking patterns and find our way to a more integrated and balanced way of life. As I forge a new path, I want to connect with women all over the world, to help women own their power, and to both explore and offer tools for self-discovery and self-care. Creating my interactive e-book, "In the Lap of the Goddess: Connecting With the Divine Feminine," and my Goddess Temple e-courses based on the workbook are my offerings, a way to share with women the knowledge and wisdom we all hold within us, reflected in the goddess throughout history, across time, and in every corner of the world.


11 Responses to “The meaning of owl and crow”

  1. Nancy Love says:

    Hello darling on Easter Sunday……………boo Target is closed, was going to be a religious experience for me…………any “Hoot” when we were in Asheville power shopping, I noticed your stride and pace of your walk……………you left me in the dust as I laughed to myself…………..I thought, she is one determined broad that I love.

    I am a expert for eating crow………….even with a daughter graduating on the deans list, I find myself wanting to go to the professors and have a conference like I did in middle school so she wouldn’t fall thru the cracks. Just thoughts not actions. My daughter is molded and evolving into her own. Acceptance is win win. I have learned from her and therefore…………….have received her respect for that.

  2. Andy says:

    I fall between- see what you want- or think you should- just searched google b/c I was curious an “owl and crow” b/c I saw what I though twas a crow tongiht and then saw owl more clearly as it flew away-basicly my husband, who I adored, cheated, with a woman 12 years younger- I saw the truth- always had I suppose…just difficult to accept

  3. Stephanie says:

    Hi, Andrea. Welcome to my blog. I’m sorry that you’re in such pain. I can understand. Many Native Americans look at owl and crow as omens of death. On a metaphorical level, seeing both owl and crow at this time could signal a death of your trust or possibly even of your relationship with your husband. I once saw two owls one night perched nearby as I took an evening walk with a boyfriend I wasn’t sure about. Knowing the meaning ascribed by Native Americans I took it as a sign that it was time to end this relationship. Of course, with a marriage, things are complicated and need to be sorted out. But you’re right that owl and crow together could be interpreted as the difference between truth and illusion. We can fool ourselves or talk ourselves into believing what we want to believe because it’s difficult to accept the truth or we’re not ready to see it. But owl is symbolic of the wisdom of truth. It seems like you had two very powerful messengers and messages. I don’t know if you have done much work with totem animals, but there are a lot of meanings and things you can learn from working with them. I wrote an article about Animal Totems on my website, if you care to read more: http://www.saladd.com

  4. Karoline says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    For the past two weeks crows have been making themselves very obvious to me…a crow dropped a small tub of sauce from a roof right next to me and stared at me for a while…another experience I had was about 11 crows flying above me, forming an arrow- head shape. I feel like Im not receiving the message from the spirits because they are still appearing every day, everywhere I go(crow feathers too). Could you help me some insight about these experiences?

  5. Stephanie says:

    Hi, Karoline. I think when animals like Crow come across our path, especially in such a persistent way, we have to ask: what is the message for my life? Crows are smart birds and remind us to find the magic in our day to day existence. The black color of the crow is like the black of night or the soil and represents the start of change. Crows are watchful and give warnings when intruders are about. They’re also crafty. The crow you saw with a small tub of sauce may be telling you something like, do you need to add more sauce to your life? Do you need to be more saucy or are you being too saucy? You can have fun with the messages of the animals. For example, what does the number 11 mean to you? In numerology, 11 = 2, the number of relationship. What does the arrowhead formation mean to you? Arrows are pointed, leading towards something. Is there something you’ve been thinking about doing but hesitating? A new direction you want to follow? These signs could be telling you it’s time to move forward. Crows are noisy birds and they will get your attention. Crow feathers are good totems to keep to remind you of these possibilities. Do you have the book, Animal-Speak, by Ted Andrews? That and the Medicine Cards by Jamie Samms are good source of wisdom for understanding what animals have to tell us. But it’s a bit like interpreting dreams. You have to bring your own experiences and life challenges into the equation and figure out what the message is for you at this particular time in your life. I hope that helps.

  6. Judie says:

    I came upon your site this morning as I was searching for some meaning for the Owl and the Crow sitting in my backyard tree the other day. I love your interpretation of the 2 together. I see you haven’t posted anything for a year……. ???

  7. Stephanie says:

    Thank you, Judie. I have been posting. If you click Home, you should be able to find my latest posting.

  8. mandy baird says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I just came across your page tonight while looking for some clarity on crows. previously owls have been my totem creature, always as a pair and although they are always there when I call on them they rarely actually give me much other than to sit and stare at me waiting for me to find the answers myself, I have always taken this to mean that I already know the answers so I have been quite happy with that. three and half years ago I picked up a crow, a Rook actually, in my field who had obviously been shot and let to die, he was very young, probably not out of the nest for more than a month or so, he is called Magic and lives with me permanently and I love him dearly, over a year ago i picked up a second young rook in the field, this one was also young and sick but after 9 months of care he was released back where he came from. Last March my darling husband died suddenly and unexpectedly and it tore my life to pieces, 3 months after he died I rescued a baby jackdaw (also a member of the crow family) who had her wing torn to pieces by a hawk, I believe she was sent by my husband for me to take care of, she lives with me permanently as she can’t fly, she has free run of my bedroom and never ceases to make me laugh, she has brought a ray of sunshine back into my life. I thought that would be it for crows and felt there was a physical owl heading my way, i even built an aviary for it but it turned out not to be an owl but yet another rook! This guy is huge, determined, bold and used to getting his own way, He tells me his name is Mystic but perhaps that’s his role rather than his name, he came to me through several other people and has had to suffer many upheavals in his 10 months of life but he has only been here for 2 days and I know we will get on well once he settles in. Any way my point or question is really about what these physical crows are leading me towards, I am a healer by nature and profession but have been struggling with that since the devastating loss of my soul mate. I get the sense that I am meant to do something physical about crows in need such as a small rescue centre or some such thing but my life is really not very settled at the moment and I don’t know if I can afford to help crows in that way but can I afford not to to help them? My owls as usual are sitting looking at me but not offering much other than friendship and being there so i need to find some clarity elsewhere.
    Sorry for rambling so much, i am struggling to think clearly at the moment plus I have a jackdaw who is telling me she want my attention! 🙂

  9. Stephanie says:

    First of all, Mandy, I am so sorry for your loss of your husband and soulmate. That must be very hard. But I am amazed at your story of crows finding you to take care of them. I don’t know if you believe in past lives, but you say you are a healer and I wonder if you are not a very powerful one as well as a magician or mystic yourself. Crows are often seen with powerful magicians and healers like Merlin. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that crows, these magical, intelligent birds have found their way to you. They are also symbols of spiritual strength. In Ted Andrews’ book Animal Speak, about the meaning of animal totems, he says that the keynote of crows is “the secret magic of creation is calling.” It would seem that creating some sort of crow rescue center would make sense for you, although it would take a lot of time and energy to get a business like that started, I would imagine. If you’re not ready for that, then you’re not ready! Perhaps working with a life coach or therapist would help you get back on your feet. Perhaps you need to process your grief with someone who can help you work through it. If you don’t have someone nearby or you think you would benefit from my guidance, I would be open to work with you via Skype or phone. My fees are on my Goddess Guidance page.

  10. mandy baird says:

    Thank you Stephanie for you swift response to my comment/question, i appreciate it.

    I do believe in past lives and it is that belief which has held me together over the past 11 months, my husband and I both knew we had been together before and will be again. I am certain that I have been a healer before, probably several times and that is likely why I am drawn to it as a way of life. Nature magic and mysticism are important to me and make up a lot of my spiritual strength. Jasmine arrived just at the right time to renew my spiritual strength as it was at an all time low then.
    I have not read Ted Andrew’s book so I will do so. “The secret magic of creation is calling” resonates very much with me.
    Epona tends to be the Goddess I am drawn to most, (horses are a huge part of my daily life), but Rhiannon is also one that I call on regularly. Morrigan seems to be the only one i can find who is specifically linked to crows though’ are there others?
    Unfortunately finances at the moment don’t allow for a personal reading or guidance but if/when things improve in that area I will definitely contact you for a reading then.

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