I like big birds and I cannot lie.
Seriously, I have them everywhere. As painting subjects…
… On windowsills…
… And on me.
At least it makes me really easy to shop for, maybe?
I get a lot of questions because of it. “Are ravens and crows your familiars/power animals/et cetera?” Well… Not really. “Do you follow <name of a Deity associated with carrion birds>?” No, not particularly.
It’s kind of complicated.
Every phase of my life has been marked by some animal. When I was an anxious, angry little kid coping with living in a toxic atmosphere, it was horses. When I left and began seeking bits of the knowledge that was forbidden to me when I was living at home, it was owls. I became fascinated with crows, ravens, rooks, and other carrion birds a bit before my life was changed by a chronic illness that forced me to confront my crippling thanatophobia. Collecting, painting, studying, and learning about them was an enormous help to me, to the point where I’ve decided that I would prefer to either donate myself to a body farm or have my ashes scattered in an area they frequent in order to incorporate them into my funerary arrangements. (It’s probably a little weird, I know, but the idea of being buried squicks me out and I have opinions about embalming.)
I rely on them in ritual, too– charging cat food, sunflower hearts, or small, shiny rocks with my intent and leaving them to be picked up and carried along, weaving the feathers of non-native pied crows into witch’s ladders, or incorporating stylized bird-shapes into sigils and engravings– and spotting one in my perambulations always just feels like a good sign. It isn’t necessarily because they’re a big component of any of the traditions I’ve been exposed to or learned in, it’s a deep-seated personal association that’s given me a way to work through and handle a lot of things.
Do you have any personal associations with animals? Are they part of your cultural or religious tradition, or did you find them coming to you on their own?