We had just arrived, before dusk, on our trip to Yellowstone National Park to see its new wolves. Within minutes of passing the gate, a raven flew onto our rental car’s side-mirror. It grasped the mirror with its claws and began pecking at my window… while we were driving towards our lodge. Its acrobatics caught our attention and we stopped. Our iridescent hitchhiker stared intensely into my eyes for several minutes from its mirror perch. We didn’t have any food, shiny objects, or other known treats for this scavenger… I sensed he wanted something else. Why did I think that? A series of meaningful, odds-defying synchronicities with ravens and wolves had been ongoing in my life for several years. That opened me up to researching them and considering a possibility I never would have before.
I turned to my friend and asked out loud, “What could the raven be trying to communicate?” I had developed my intuition in order to communicate with domestic animals, babies, and patients who don’t speak. “I think something major, and I mean major, is going to happen in the next 24 hours. I just don’t know what it is.” That statement felt so real that a deep chill streaked up my spine as I said it. The next morning we awoke to the events of September 11, 2001.
Raven and wolf synchronicities had commenced when I started researching my ancestry. In fact, they actually led me to a second cousin whose bookshelf contained the official book on our family name, Fitz-Randolph. My jaw dropped when I came to the name’s literal meaning … “son of raven-wolf.”
Many wisdom traditions believe that crows and ravens are either our ancestors or bring messages from them. The Irish once used these birds for divination because they believed that they possessed this “second sight.” The British believed that if the ravens ever fled the Tower of London it would portend the fall of the English monarchy. Where do these beliefs come from?
I recently learned that crows engage in mourning rituals when one of them dies…swooping in like gypsies to see the dead and then dispersing again. Vincent Hagel, former president of the Whidbey Audubon Society wrote, “Just a few feet from the house lay an obviously dead crow, and about twelve other crows were hopping in a circle around the body. After a minute or two, one crow flew off for a few seconds, then returned with a small twig or piece of dried grass. It dropped the twig on the body, then flew away. Then, one by one, the other crows each left briefly, one at a time, and returned to drop grass or a twig on the body, then fly off until all were gone, and the body lay alone with twigs lain across it.”
Besides funeral behavior, ravens and crows can also mimic human speech, like parrots. A psychologist told me of a raven who appeared at his house one day, saying in a clear voice, “I’ll help you if you help me.” Could such remarkable behaviors be why Hindus consider crows to be ancestors, carriers of information and providers of omens? And what happened on September 10th? Just another odds-defying coincidence?