The three messengers came to me together and each gave of me their feathers; the softess silence of owl feathers, the jeweled blackness of crow feathers, and the camouflage cloak of hawk feathers.
“Take them, take them.”
“Use them, use them.”
Western Screech Owl, American Crow, and Red-Tailed Hawk, despite being natural enemies, approached me at the same time and offered their services to me (they must’ve seen me leave the entrails and fat offerings for the others on the roof, the gluttons). All three can be found on and around the mountain. It seems I am always collecting feathers; feathers from all the three worlds; feathers of light, feathers of dark, and feathers of song. Feathers to carry prayers, feathers to banish, feathers to bless and heal, feathers to fly… I had received feathers from crow and hawk before in the eldritch world, but never had I been gifted one by an owl before.
Owl left its feathers on the stone wall of a cave for me. Owl is the messenger of the underworld. Owl belongs to the White Bone Mother, guardian of the gate and crossroads of the underworld. Owl serves her as messenger of death and psychopomp for the spirits of the dead. Owl is silent as a ghost; reveling in darkness and its mysteries. Owl brings messages from her mistress and from the dead. Owl helps you travel to and from the underworld safely and their ability to see in the dark can light your way in the blackest depths.
Crow shed its feathers for me on the green grass beneath the trees. Crow is messenger of the middle world. Crow belongs to the old Witch Hag lost in the ancient woods. Many often make the mistake of thinking it is a nocturnal creature due to its dark colouring and unlucky reputation, but crows are actually diurnal: awake during the day and asleep at night like us. They are scavengers eating the leftovers of the hunters and warriors. Crows are not of death and darkness (though they follow it closely); they are tricksters, humour, curiosity, family, and fellowship. Crows are reflections and shadows of we mortals.
Crows are guardians and watchers for the other creatures of the earth. They warn of dangers, predators, bad weather, outsiders, bad luck, and misfortunes. This is where their bad reputation comes from, but they’re just trying to help. It is better to listen to their warnings than to disregard them and eat crow later when the danger comes for you. Crow is messenger of the creatures and spirits of middle earth; of the animals, plants, wights, and elemental forces all around us.
Hawk drops its feathers for me from high in the sunny blue sky and they slowly float down to my feet. Hawk, flying ever so high, is messenger of the upperworld and of its deities and spirits. Hawk belongs to the Lady of the Flaming Heart. Hawks deliver messages pertaining to the bigger pictures – ones that will affect your life and your spiritual path. When hawk brings you a message it is time to borrow its sharp all-seeing eyes and fly high enough with its strong wings to view a situation or path from above and understand the full picture – the past, present, and future. Other times Hawk delivers messages to and from the gods and spirits of the upper world. Belonging to the upper world doesn’t mean sweetness and light, Hawk is a predator and warrior after all.
All three messengers belong to Crossroad and World Tree. Winged mercurial beings are they. Now, when one of the three come to me with news of the three realms, I will know what kind of message they bring and from where and whom it comes. Now when one of the three comes for me I will know for whence we ride.
The Council of Owls
I sit in the dark. It is so black I don’t know whether it is deep cave or dark wood. Surrounding me is a circle of owls of every type and size I’ve seen and have yet to see. They speak to each other. They argue. They stare at me with large round eyes. I am being judged. I am waiting for approval. Feathers ruffle and puff, claws click and scratch. Silence stretches through the darkness like a living thing.