[By Kat Downs, Piano Destroyer]
Once upon a time, I was in Alaska. Some friends of mine that are more like family invited me to join them on an Alaskan Cruise. We had pulled into port in Skagway. It was a beautiful sunny day, but being a dedicated road tripper, I was getting pretty burned out by all the super-touristy stuff that bombarded you when you left the ship. Since it was so lovely out, I decided to go for a walk in one direction until I was either in “real Alaska” or the sidewalk stopped. A little while later I found myself in a residential neighborhood. I was walking down a street with houses on one side, and a trailer park on the other. I was enjoying the sunshine and the rhythm of heart-in-chest-feet-on-ground a rare moment since I’d been in a state of spiritual upheaval for months now. I noticed the crows on the telephone wire to my left. I saw them there. about 5 or 6 of them. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one leave the wire and fly away.
Well, I thought it flew away. What it actually did was circle around me, and dive bomb my head. When it got a few feet behind me, it screamed. CAAAWWWWW! I ducked my head and every hair on my body stood straight up. I felt the whoosh of air as it barely missed my scalp. It immediately circled around and did it again. CAAAWWWW! And then a third time – the third time it touched me. Something kind of sharp right on the very top of my head. (Feet? Beak?) After that, it calmly landed back on the same wire it had come from and looked at me. My heart was going about 900 miles an hour. We locked eyes for a second and I got kind of an eerie feeling in my stomach.
I made a beeline back to town and ran into the first corner store I came across. I’d been trying to quit smoking at the time, but this was too much. The nice lady at the counter could tell I was upset and asked me what happened. “I just got attacked by a crow!” I said to her. I was still trying to catch my breath. “Oh,” she said, “we don’t have crows here. That was a raven.” And she looked me dead in the eye.
So what you’re telling me, nice lady who works in a convenience store and is up to speed on the local Native American Culture (hence the eyeballing), is that Raven (capital R), the animal of pure Magic, the messenger from beyond, the keeper of the void and it’s secrets, and basically one of the most powerful, feared and respected animals in the totem just swooped at me THREE times (just happens to be the most divine number in the Universe) and on that dreaded third (symbolic) pass bopped me on top of my head? AKA my crown chakra? The chakra through which human beings reach a new stage of enlightenment?
Holy mother of I don’t even know what. Are you kidding me?
I headed back to the ship. One of my friends I was traveling with was an actual Shaman. If there was ever a time I needed to talk to her, this was it.
She burst out laughing. So hard, in fact, she got tears in her eyes. “Oh sweetie!” she said. For a while, that’s all she could say between gales of laughter. “Oh, sweetie! Ooooh, sweetieeee!” When she finally got her breath she said “The Universe is going above and beyond the call of duty to try and get your attention. You need to learn how to listen. And very quickly.” She smiled. “Obviously, It thinks you are well worth the effort.” “Learn to listen to WHAT?” I said. “That’s what you have to figure out!” she said.
I did learn. Through trial and error, to hear and see things I never noticed before that are all around us all the time. To hear when The Universe is talking, and when it’s not. Since that episode, I’ve had a series of what would be considered “spiritual awakenings”. I have learned that this is the kind of person that I am, and that I will continue to have them for the rest of my life. Each one leaves me profoundly changed. It is both a blessed and challenging life to live.
Raven still comes to check up on me once in a while. Or if Raven can’t make it, she’ll send Crow. I’ll be out and about minding my biz, and suddenly a big black bird will start acting in a way that is not normal for a big black bird to act. Like, walking next to me down the sidewalk. Or stopping to hover over my head for several seconds while doing a fly by. Sometimes one will just suddenly land only a foot or two away from me and stare right at me. “Hello. I see you. I’m still watching you.” Sometimes I talk to them if no one is around (because yeah, that’s not weird) It’s become a comfort. A very weird, bizarre comfort.
So there you go – that’s where the song “Raven” came from.
It’s one of the songs on our original EP, The Push. You can listen to it here.
Call it singing
Madame calls at sunset
Call it singing totem warning
Copyright 2006 Kat Downs