The Ultimate Guide to Crow Symbolism

Author: Tammy Poppie
A crow standing on a pole with a backdrop of orange sky and sun

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The Ultimate Guide to Crow Symbolism

Author: Tammy Poppie
A crow standing on a pole with a backdrop of orange sky and sun

This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

The crow is one of the most noticeable and renowned birds across the globe. One of the most notable spirit animals, the crow is known for its relation to magic, mystery, trickery, and deceitfulness. Although it often entices fear in the hearts of viewers or readers, the crow has numerous meanings in different cultures.

The Crow As An Intelligent Animal

Crows are intelligent, adaptable, versatile, and extremely smart animals with positive and negative characteristics.

Since crows are commonly associated with death and despair, many people may misinterpret signs related to crows.

However, learning about the various attributes of crows is essential to understand this misunderstood spirit animal. 

Crows vs. Ravens 

When compared to ravens, crows are quite different – although they are sometimes used interchangeably within stories, there are vast differences that can change the entire meaning of a tale.

  • Ravens – Ravens represent change, wisdom, affection, healing, death, and longevity. Although they typically have negative connotations,  they are considered sacred and all-knowing in many cultures. 
  • Crows – When compared to ravens, crows directly represent transformation and change. Ravens symbolize healing and longevity, whereas crows directly correlate to emotional and spiritual change. 

Crow Meaning 

The main characteristics associated with crow symbolism include mysteriousness, destiny, intelligence, differing perspectives, bravery, flexibility, and mischievousness.

Used in stories and fables as a bird that can convince someone to do the wrong thing, encourage a person to make a mistake, or trick someone into a false move, the crow is considered one of the most manipulative spirit animals. 

  • Intelligence – One of the main traits of a crow is intelligence and cunning. Although they may not be the most relatable or physically attractive birds, they are extremely smart and clever.
  • Problem-solving – Crows are intelligent and analytical creatures that can solve any problem in front of them. Crows can look at problems from differing perspectives to see the best solution by putting emotions aside. 
  • Adaptability – Crows are versatile and can adapt to any situation. The ability to shapeshift, fit in with their surroundings, and make people trust them, leads to their manipulative and cunning nature. However, adaptability is a positive attribute too – crows embrace change and thrive in any surrounding. 
  • Teamwork – Although people may think of crows as individual animals, with their uniqueness and a sharp mind, they also have the characteristics to work with other crows as a team. Crows can work with one another to fend off larger animals and birds of prey, keeping one another safe and alive as they travel in a “murder” of crows. 
  • Loyalty – The last trait of a crow is loyalty. Crows are highly loyal creatures that will remain so for a lifetime. 

Are Crows Good Or Bad Luck?

In most cultures around the world, crows are considered a sign of bad luck and a dark omen. However, in some specific cultures, such as the Native American belief system, crows are a sign of good fortune. 

crow meaning and symbolism

Origins Of The Crow Meaning

The crow originated in numerous folklore stories, mythology, and old tales. Crows are spirit animals that have influential totems and omens. 

Spirit Animal Totem And Omens 

The crow is considered a bird of insight. With their ability to create nests in high vantage points, they have a better perspective over those around them and can “see” things others cannot.

The third-person point of view unobstructed by other people makes crows highly analytical. Since they are watchful eyes of the world around them, they are a useful spirit animal totem for people who need a new perspective. 

Crows are also known to flock together and work as one. This membership and alliance between crows can help them take on bigger animals that otherwise would be too big of a match for one crow.

Working together is one of the best traits of a crow – this makes the crow a beneficial animal totem for people dealing with individuality and diversity. 

Crow Symbolism In Different Culture Around The World

Even though the crow is considered a bad omen, there are different interpretations of this popular bird. Let’s see the various meanings of the crow in various religions and cultures. 

Crow Symbolism Bible

Within the bible, there is no direct mention of the crow being a part of any story. However, in Christianity, the crow typically represents death and earthliness.

The crow is a pivotal character in the story of Noah’s Ark, where a crow was sent as a lookout to see the status of the deadly flood – however, the crow never returned to tell Noah or the other animal its findings. 

Crow Symbolism Catholicism

Crows usually symbolize God coming in and out of our lives in the Catholic religion. The crow can be considered a “messenger” spirit animal who symbolizes the direction our life is taking, guidance in our life, and transformation within our life. 

Crow Symbolism To The Chinese

In Chinese culture, the crow symbolizes bad fortune and deceitful people. One of the most common ancient Chinese proverbs regarding crows is ‘it is better to be an honest crow than a deceitful magpie.’ This quote shows the Chinese culture’s disdain and untrusting nature regarding the crow. 

Crow Symbolism In Buddhism 

In Buddhism, the crow is associated with protection and wisdom. Crows are represented by Mahakala, a protector of Dharma, as he takes on a physical form in life.

Crow Symbolism Celtic

Crows in Irish culture are represented by Morrighan, the ‘warrior god’ and ‘queen.’ The Celtic crow stands for uniqueness, unforeseen knowledge, and fastidiousness.

With no regard for the thoughts of other people, the crow is considered an omnipotent creature. When three crows appear, Celtic people believe Morrighan is watching over them. 

Crow Symbolism Native American

The crow meaning in Native American cultures refers to aged wisdom. Although most people fear the crow, Native Americans consider a crow to be a fortunate sign.

Some tribes even believe that this spirit animal can talk to humans, making it one of the smartest birds in their culture. 

Another interpretation of the crow in Native American culture is that of a trickster – it is a mischievous animal that enjoys deceiving people and playing mind games. 

What Does A Crow Symbolize In Hinduism?

Crows are considered the portal between death and life in Hinduism. Those in the Hindu culture often leave an offering of food to spittal crows to transport food to their deceased loved ones. 

Crow Meanings And Encounters

Understanding the gravity behind real-life crow encounters can provide insight into the crow meanings in these situations. 

What Does It Mean When You Hear A Crow Or Crow Caw?

Many people are superstitious when they hear a crow caw. If you are walking down the street and you hear the loud and grating call of the crow, what does this mean? 

Crows may caw for numerous reasons, sometimes directing their message at you and sometimes directing their caws at unforeseen objects. However, if you’re close to a crow, it may feel protective and caw at you to scare you away or warn you about a threat in the immediate area. 

If you hear a crow caw and there are no other crows in the immediate area, they may be trying to speak to you. Crows may try to form a bond or relationship with a person if they caw at them when they are alone or in a secluded area. 

What Does It Mean If You Find A Dying Crow?

In some cultures and religions, a dying or dead crow may signify impending death, misfortune, or doom. However, other cultures have differing views about seeing a dead crow – in some instances, it may not necessarily mean death, but transformed into a new part of your life.

Seeing a dying crow represents a transformation or change – whether it is positive or negative is up to your unique interpretation and current circumstances. 

What Do A Lot Of Crows Mean?

Seeing a lot of crows at one time can have various meanings depending on where you see them when you see them, and how many you see. Multiple crows mean transformation and changes in your life.

Viewing a murder of crows during your daily life typically represents an emotional, physical, or spiritual change that will guide you in the next phase of your life. 

Why Is A Crow Coming To My House?

  1. A single black crow coming to your house represents destruction in your near future and impending doom.
  2. Two crows signify fortune and good luck that can change the energy in your life.
  3. Three crows also signify positivity, forecasting positive health and good fortune.
  4. Viewing four crows around your house is also a positive sign – this typically means that you are going to reap the benefits of newfound abundance, prosperity, and good fortune. 
  5. If more than four crows are cawing near your house, the omen meaning turns negative.
  6. Seeing five crows near your house indicates misfortune and poor health are coming your way, with
  7. Six crows indicate a sudden loss of income and potential theft.
  8. Seven crows signify the need to keep moving, transform, and explore new horizons to get away from the negative energy in your space. 
  9. Seeing eight crows in the area around your home represents sorrow, loss, and grief.
  10. Lastly, a murder of crows near your home symbolizes death.  

What Does It Mean When There Are Black Crows In The Yard?

Crows may tend to gather around your house, either in your home, front yard, or backyard. Crows that appear in your personal space or property represent impending change, transformation, life cycles, and unforeseen consequences of your actions. 

Why Do Crows Circle Around And Fly Over?

If you see crows circling above your head, this is typically a sign of foreboding. Crows have often been seen circling areas where there has been death and destruction, such as natural disasters or battlefields. 

If you see a crow directly in flight and not circling, this is a sign that you might need to pay more attention to thoughts that you are suppressing. If there is something that you’re thinking about subconsciously, seeing crows can help you address these hidden issues that may be hindering your progress. 

Crow Religious And Spiritual Meanings

Crows meanings are several within religious groups and spiritual belief systems. Let’s see the interpretation of crows in a spiritual sense and the magical world. 

What Do 3 Crows Mean Spiritually?

Three crows have a spiritual meaning in various cultures and religions around the world. 

  • English – In old English tales, three crows dispose of dead bodies, circle deadly areas, and show up at murder scenes.
  • Russian – Russian folklore has tales of three crows annoying the royal family.
  • German – In Germany, three crows were used as fortune-tellers who would inform people of what would happen in their life, giving them time to prepare for what is next.
  • European legends – In European culture, seeing three crows typically indicate doom, despair, and new changes. 

Crow Magic Symbolism

The crow is typically associated with magical powers, mischievousness, and cunning. Changing their physical appearance to take on the shape of other animals, objects, or people, the crow can deceive others.

The ability to shapeshift convinces others to trust them and gives them a false sense of security right before using their manipulative ways to get what they want. 

Since crows are prevalent around the world, it symbolizes being able to find magic anywhere in the world that we seek. Although this is considered “dark” magic due to the crow’s negative connotation, the prevalence of magic in the world is a positive facet of the crow’s meaning. 

Crows are used in many ceremonial traditions and magic ceremonies. Many magical entities and spiritual people, like shamans, choose a crow as their animal to use in specific ceremonies.

With the ability to change the physical world and tap into the psyche of those around them, crows are the top choice for shamans involved in witchcraft. 

Crow Tattoo Meaning

Those who want to include this spiritual tattoo on their body can get a crow tattoo. The Usual meaning of a crow tattoo symbolizes the omens of death, destruction, and impending doom. 

Crows In Dreams

Although people always think that viewing a crow during a dream is a bad sign, sometimes it can be the opposite. Sprite the rows having negative connotations in life, such as trickery, deceitfulness, and manipulation, sometimes crows appearing in one’s unconsciousness or dreams can be a positive sign. 

Crows are spirit animals that toe the line between the living and the dead. Since crows are mystical and magical creatures that can change shapes and work in spiritual realms, it is common for the appearance of a crow in dreams to signify thoughts about death, moving on, or transformation in your life. 

What Does Dreaming About Black Crows Mean?

Dreaming about black crows is not necessarily a bad omen – even though black crows typically symbolize a bad fate or death, dreaming about crows has a deeper meaning. Crows are known for their intuition, uniqueness, and individuality. Visualizing and seeing black crows in your dreams can mean you are about to embark on a transitional phase in your life.

Crows can help someone be steadfast in their beliefs and embrace new challenges and changes. Since your mind is telling you to trust your gut and intuition, it can be a sign to make changes in life in stride. 

Crows In Death

Even though there is no cause-and-effect relationship between a person’s death and crows arriving in the area, there are many instances in which crows are considered to indicate where a person is going to die.

Can Crows Sense Death?

Many people believe that crows have a supernatural power to detect when someone is about to die or indicate places where people died in the past.

Although crows cannot necessarily tell when a person is going to die, there is a superstition that a murder of crows indicates bad health. 

Even though crows cannot sense death in humans, they can sense death in animals. Since they can smell a corpse, they can ‘smell’ death and flock to the corpse to begin eating the dead body. 

Mythology Crow Symbolism 

Crows have a considerable place in Mythology. Crows are both depicted positively and negatively in mythology, acting as messengers to help people make decisions, but also signifying destruction.

Crows will sometimes appear in Greek stories and folklore as a prophecy to warn someone of bad things to come. 

Which Greek God Is Associated With Crows?

Odin is a Greek god that represents ravens and crows in Norse mythology.

The ravens are the helpers that bring him worldly news, encourage him to make decisions, and provide him with information to proceed with caution. The ravens whisper the news to him, and him only, signifying his ability to transfer between the worlds of the living and the dead. 

Along with ravens, crows were the biggest beneficiaries of Odin’s decisions – since they were the first animals on sight after a catastrophic battle, Odin had a favorable relationship with both ravens and crows. 

What Is The Crow Goddess?

The Crow Goddess, also commonly known as Badb, Macha, or Morrigan, is the Goddess of Death in Celtic literature.

Morrigan has other-worldly abilities to speak to crows, control crows, and summon them as she wishes. She used her powers to transform crows into other shapes and animals, giving them bigger bodies, translucent skin, and sharp claws. 

Crow Symbolism in Literature

Crows are used as figures and symbols in literature throughout the world. Understanding how crows are depicted in old tales, mythology, and modern stories can provide helpful insight into the purpose of crows in literature. 

How Are Crows Used In Literature?

Crows are used as omens and symbols in stories around the world. The most common understanding of crows in tales, folklore, and stories represent death, decomposition, tragedy, transitions, and trickery. 

Crow Symbolism In Poems

In poems, crows typically symbolize power over others in the animal kingdom, the influence of destruction on other beings, and tragedy to all beings. 

What Is The Symbolism Or Ravens And/Or Crows In Literature?

With an intense look and ominous stare, ravens, and crows are both used to symbolize insightful tendencies and negative connotations.

The Raven represents insight and transformation when used as a talking bird, whereas a crow symbolizes a mythical occurrence and potential for death. 

Final Thoughts On Crow Symbolism

Crows have an important meaning for people of various cultures and backgrounds. Those in different religions, cultures, and spiritual groups all understand the brevity of seeing a crow, or murder of crows, in their life.

With the meaning of crows dating back to Mythological times, and being present in important literature throughout the years, we see how the crow symbolism has impacted history. 

Next Steps 

The next time you see a crow, consider what the “crow meaning” is and the crow symbolism that you can interpret. What does it mean? What is the crow trying to tell you when it circles above your head? Using your newfound knowledge, intuition, and spiritual guidance, you can find out what this spirit animal is trying to tell you about your future! 


Harris, Elena. (n.d.) Crow Spirit Animal.
Bird symbolism in Chinese art. (n.d.)
Ales. (2016). What Does It Mean When Crows Gather Around Your House?
Caro, Tina. (n.d.). The Crow Goddess. (n.d.).

More than 25 years ago, Tammy put her first bird feeder outside her kitchen window. Since then she learned how to attract wild birds to her backyard. Studying the meaning & symbolism of wild birds is also a passion of hers. Read more about Tammy

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