Full Worm Moon


Full Worm Moon
-By Angelique Duncan

March 12th will be the Full Worm Moon. This will be the last full moon of Winter for 2017. The March full moon is known by many names, but is most commonly known as the Full Worm Moon. This full moon will occur a week before the Spring Equinox and will be visible from March 11th-the 13th and the moon peaks on March 12th. Although not a “super moon” this years moon it is thought will be particularly bright given it’s timing and placement in the night sky.

The March Full Moon became known as the Worm Moon because it coincides with the coming of the signs of Spring. As the ground begins to warm worms began to appear under shimmering light. Robins on their migration back north descend to feast upon the squirmy delicacies as a meal in the early morning. Many in North America believe that the coming of the robins signals the official end of winter. To the Native Americans it is the worms who are the true first signal that the ground has thawed and it is time for planting.

A full moon is not the only phenomenon in which worms glow. There are naturally occurring glowworms that are found in woodland caves all over the globe and a rare species found in wetlands in the North American south particularly in the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau. They are also one of few species that exist in the Arctic Circle. Caves in New Zealand and Australia are touted as quite the visual spectacle of hundreds of glowing worms hanging from cave walls.

The female of the species is usually the worm that actually has the glowing ability. They glow from bioluminescence luciferin and the reaction of fluorescent proteins reacting to minerals and oxygen that is emitted from the tail end of their bodies. The most common glow is that of a yellow or green, however those found in North America glow a stunning bright blue.

It is believed that glowworms have magical powers. Before electric light and battery operated light sources were collected and put along pathways to create light and safety for foot travel at night. The worms would also be placed in lanterns for their magical light. Sometimes the worms were distilled in water to create glowing liquid for illumination. Their magical powers were also sought after for medicinal purposes.

Folklore states that if one sees a glowworm on their path while traveling they will have good fortune. However one must never step on a glowworm, otherwise the joy and laughter will be removed from their household. It is also thought that if a glowworm crosses the threshold of a house the head of that household will perish.

Sadly, varieties of glowworms are increasingly becoming extinct and are being added to many nations list of eminently endangered species. Most glowworms are falling victim to urban expansion and invasions of humans in their natural habitats. Glowworms are sensitive to noise and particularly light pollution. They also are declining in their populations due to chemical and insecticidal pollutions that have been introduced into water sources. Some species populations are fading due to warming of their environments and extreme weather changes that are causing their natural mating and birth cycles to become off kilter.

This full Worm Moon get out and enjoy the first rights of Spring. While you are looking up to the skies to witness the full bright lunar occurrence, remember to look down and see if you can spy an emerging worm. Be grateful that Spring and warmer weather is on the way bringing with it birds and flowers. If you should see a glowworm count yourself lucky as you will be bestowed with magical good fortune.

Painting “Full Worm Moon” copyright Angelique Duncan -Twilight Faerie

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.

Featured Artist Interview March 2017: Twilight Faerie

To find where Twilight Faerie sells her wares visit her on her artist page on HAB. 

Interview with Angelique Duncan of Twilight Faerie:

Which pieces of your artwork are you most proud of, currently for sale or sold? Share an image of it if you have one.

I am most proud of “The Great Pumpkin of Sincerity”. It is a 16×20 acrylic painting on Bristol board. This was the first piece I painted with the intent to put out in the public sphere to sell. I have been painting my entire life, however as a lot of artist do, had trepidation about selling my own paintings. I entered the piece in the Faces of the Great Pumpkin Art Contest 2013 held by Cult of the Great Pumpkin, figuring the best way to get over my hesitations to put my paintings up for public scrutiny was to put one in a contest judged by the public. It didn’t win, but I am grateful I entered the piece and still very proud of it. Since painting the Great Pumpkin of Sincerity I have continued to paint and have several paintings and prints for sale along side my vintage Halloween and floral work. I am never happier than when I am painting.

Name an artist(s) whose work you admire and what influence have they had on your art?

The influences on my art come from old storybook illustrations and the (now) vintage greeting cards I used to receive as a child. I love the imagery of animals and Halloween creatures living a parallel world to ours. The artists whose work I admire the most are Arthur Rackham and Beatrix Potter. In my opinion, they are the masters of children’s art, color and mood. I could only hope to be able to capture a tiny sliver of the imagery they have created.

The greatest influence on my work is the illustrators of Halloween greeting cards from the 1970’s. Unfortunately, given the temporary nature of art used for greeting cards as mere ephemera, many of these artists never received notoriety in the art world and their names are obscure. The imagery of those cards has always stayed with me; jovial scarecrows, prissy sweet faced black cats, wide-eyed ghost and grinning Jack o Lanterns. It was an era of Halloween imagery that was friendly, whimsical yet still had a tinge of spooky and I try to emulate that style in my Halloween art.

In the realm of modern Halloween art, I am tremendously grateful to Heather Gleason of My Eclectic Mind for having discovered Twilight Faerie way back in the day and encouraging me to sell online and to challenge myself to always strive to do greater things. Her work is magnificent and inspiring.

What would you consider the highest honor or greatest goal you would like to achieve with your art?

The greatest goal for my art is for some one I have never met to be so compelled to want to hang or sit my work in their home. If a person looks upon one of my pieces and feels as fondly and attached about my art as I do the art and decorations in my own collection, then I have contributed to some ones happiness and to me that is the highest honor one can achieve with art.

What Halloween costume that you got to wear in childhood was your favorite and has the fondest memory for you?

The fondest memories from childhood of a Halloween costume are of a witch’s hat I had when I was about five years old. To me it was the most beautiful magic hat there ever could have been. It came from TG&Y, a discount store that has long since closed its doors. The hat was made from a glossy black-coated cardstock with a ruffle on the edge that was made from black crepe paper with a silver foil trim. The hat had a large moon with a cat arching it’s back surrounded by stars painted on with shiny silver glitter. I loved that hat. I wore it proudly several Halloween nights years in a row, until one Halloween it was drizzly and damp and miserable for trick or treating. I wore my hat, not realizing paper and rain were not a good mix. The hat was destroyed.

Years later, when I was in my early 30’s, I found the exact same hat in a lot of vintage Halloween items at five and dime store in the Village in West University Place in Houston. (another cool store that has closed forever). At the time the original hat I had as a child was maybe $3.00 at most, I paid $25.00 for the new one but it was money well spent to have that hat again. It is now a part of my Halloween decorations that are displayed each year…and yes I have been known to wear the hat around the house gleefully as I decorate!

What is your favorite Halloween icon? Why do you identify with its imagery?

My favorite Halloween icon is the Jack o lantern. The Jack o lantern is the quintessential ambassador and embodiment of all things Halloween. I like to believe that every time a pumpkin is carved into a Jack o lantern and a lit candle is place inside its cavern, that pumpkin has fulfilled its Halloween destiny. Each grimacing, grinning silly or scared faced pumpkin lit by candlelight is keeping the spirit of Halloween alive through the ages.

If money and wherewithal were not an issue, what would be your dream way to spend Halloween?

I have had some very happy Halloweens in my lifetime. I have loved them all whether it was trick or treating as a child or throwing a huge Halloween bash in adulthood or just handing out candy to kids.

If money were no object my dream of the perfect Halloween would be to throw a huge Halloween extravaganza of a party surrounded by folks who share the same enthusiasm and reverence for the holiday. Everyone would have extravagant costumes and every corner would be decorated in orange and black and Halloween bric-a- brac. There would be a decadent Autumn feast with overflowing bowls of baked sweets and candy for desert and never ending pumpkin ales and honey mead. We would have a carved pumpkin contest, silly parlor games and fortune telling. While this party was happening there would be a constant stream of raucous kids Trick or Treating at the door. Outside there would be a fire pit where folks could sit around and tell ghost stories under full moonlight. In the woods would be a decorated haunted trail for folks to meander through with lanterns. To finish the celebration there would be a costumed Halloween parade through the street with all the neighborhood children. That would be a Halloween night for the ages!

Gargoyles and The Grotesque


Gargoyles and The Grotesque
-By Angelique Duncan

Have you ever been walking in an urban area at night and thought you saw something move in the shadows or felt that some one or something was following you? When you look, nothing was there. Or was some one there after all. There is the possibility that feeling of being watched was a Gargoyle or perhaps a Grotesque that indeed was watching you.

For centuries they have loomed above us on the tops of buildings ever watchful and present. They can take the form of animals and winged things, monsters and demons and even sometimes something human. To some they are frightening and to others comforting.

The original purposes of Gargoyles were to act as a waterspout to direct rainwaters from the roofs of buildings. Some appear with long necks with their mouth agape to release water; others appear intertwined in the architecture or buildings. The name Gargoyle became associated with all creatures found in the design of buildings or statues that were made of stone. The word Gargoyle literally translates to gullet or “throat” thus how the rainspout monsters arrived at their name. Ornamentals and stone statues that depicted winged creatures or animals were referred to as Grotesques. Eventually the term Gargoyle was used for all stonework depicting creatures.

Gargoyles originally took the shape of animals and appeared in ancient Egypt and in Greek and Roman architecture. These animal shapes were used to honor the ferocity of the creatures, to show strength of an empire and they acted as beloved protectors to the buildings. The ancient Greeks believed that the stone animals purified water that came from the heavens and protected their buildings from misfortune.

Many European Gargoyles took on the shape of long necked dragons. This practice came from a French legend of a monstrous dragon that was slain. The legend states that the dragon Gargouille was killed and captured and brought back to the village. Once there its body was set ablaze. However the head and neck would not burn as it was acclimated to high temperatures given it’s fire breathing properties. The remains were mounted to the church as a warning to other dragons and to ward off evil spirits.

In Europe as the Catholic Church grew dragons were replaced by anthropomorphized animal human figures to emulate Pagan imagery in an effort to convert Pagans to Christianity. The imagery was to make the Pagans more comfortable with Catholicism and show that only the Church could offer protection from evil.

As the Church became heavier handed the Gargoyles began to take on more frightening motifs depicted as demons and monsters. Their purpose was to remind sinners that only through the Church could one find salvation. The Gargoyles loomed above protecting the churches from evil and acting as a visual reminder to all of the horrors of hell that awaited those who sinned.

Gargoyles or Grotesques were erected in graveyards and gardens to protect against spirits and as a constant reminder to sinners. It became common practice to place a Gargoyle spout on ones personal home or garden. Some of these personal Gargoyles were to emulate the protections offered by the Church, however some were used to preserve Pagan imagery and themes. Many stone workers would carve the faces of deceased relatives or friends into the Gargoyles to honor them.

As time moved on and the Church had established it’s power the need for the horrific imagery of Gargoyles shifted. People began to feel that were too evil looking and the use of demonic imagery on the church was inappropriate. Many of the original Gargoyles were removed and replaced by decorative animal imagery. The custom of Grotesques in personal gardens followed suit, and the use of stone lions replaced Gargoyles as protectors. This eventually gave way to the use of the imagery of angels and cherubs on the side of buildings and personal statue use for protection. As the modern era of architecture took hold, the use of ornate stonework was abandoned and with it, the need for Gargoyles and Grotesques as protectors faded.

There were legends attached to these antiquated stone creatures history. Some say that they truly could see from within their stone exterior. It was customary for those who respected the beast to nod at them when passing. It is said that the Gargoyle would nod in turn out of respect.

Many believed that Gargoyles and Grotesques would come to life at night and would either fly or prowl over a village or city protecting against evil. They would return to their perches and turn back to stone when the sun rose. Some believed that rain could strengthen the stone creatures powers.

Folklore exist that the Gargoyles that were removed and abandoned from buildings were rewarded for their service of protection by the angels. It is said that they were gathered up by the angels and taken to safe places. The angels gave them the gift of mobility. It is thought that they would hide on the tops of buildings and dark places of cities during the day and would move freely at night. Belief was that they would only show themselves while animated to those they felt were true of heart and enduringly good. For those who were good could look a Gargoyle or Grotesque in the eye and recognize the nobility of the creature. From this a bond based on goodness would be formed.

The next time you are out at night walking your city keep watch of the shadows and up at the sky. You might be so fortunate to see a Gargoyle or roaming Grotesque spared by the angels. If you have confidence that you are good in intentions look them in the eye, say thank you and give them a nod. If they deem you worthy and pure of heart they will nod back.

Painting “Gargoyle” copyright Angelique Duncan -Twilight Faerie
Painting “Oakland Gargoyle”copyright Angela Ryer A. Ryer Studio and available for purchase from A. Ryer Studio on Etsy.

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.

2016 Winter Holiday Give Away


The Winter Holiday Give Away has concluded a winner has been chosen!!

Thank you to all who participated and to all our friends may you have a warm, safe and happy Winter Holiday

Happy Winter and much holiday cheer to all!

How To Enter:

Step 1: Visit one of the contributing HAB artist from the list below. If the artist your spreading Winter Cheer to is an Etsy store contact them using the “contact the owner” tab on the left sidebar of their shop. If they are on the HAB catalog use our contact form. Leave them a message that states your greeting for that spreads Winter greetings and cheer.
Step 2: Visit our Facebook page and “Like” us and comment your Winter Greeting on our wall.
Step 3: Fill out the official Winter Holiday Give Away entry form below.

Official Rules

Entry deadline is Midnight on December 15th 2016 Central Standard Time. The Winner will be chosen at random. One entry per person. Winner will be notified via email. The prize will ship on December 16th 2016. The winners name will be posted on the Halloween Artist Bazaar website and Facebook page. Information obtained will only be used to contact winner in regards to contest. HAB does not release or sell information from our entry forms or contact page. All ages welcome to enter. Members of Halloween Artist Bazaar are not qualified for entry. Contest open internationally, however please note that prize may not arrive before December 25th due to international shipping delays. *Your countries custom charges may apply. * Prize value an estimated $100.00 (and growing as more is added)

Contributing Halloween Artist Bazaar Artists links where to find their wares in order of photo appearance:(check back as the list grows and photo’s of the winnings are posted!)

Twilight Faerie
Jan’s Beads
Sauvage Raven Creations
Odd Origins

Haunted Forest Art Event 2016

Here you will find interpretations of the theme Haunted Forest from participating HAB members.

Haunted Forest Art presented by the following:

Jynxx Designs
Art By Sarada
Twilight Faerie

HAB online shopping catalog:

HAB on Etsy

HAB on Etsy:

HAB on Etsy

Bold October – A Poem by Majorie Burney Willis


Bold October -A Poem by Marjorie Burney Willis
-Posted By Angelique Duncan

Bold October is a poem written some time ago by my grandmother, Majorie Burney Willis. It was originally published in an anthology of Texas Poets that was produced by the Texas Poetry Society at some point in the 1980’s. Outside of her poetry that was published by the Texas Poetry Society and the American Poetry Society, this is the only remaining poem left from a lifetime of writing. She used a type writer, back before desktops and laptops and hard drive back ups. The lifework of poetry was lost in a “shady incident”, never to be recovered. Majorie; affectionately named “Grin”, passed away in 1994. Her poetry rest with her in a cemetery in League City Texas.

Bold October

“When old October comes blustering across Texas,
The whole countryside gets the heebie-jeebies.
Winds howl across streams…
Giving cyotes and coons the shakes…
The possums and skunks the jitters…
Crows fly sideways, flapping glossy wings…
Cawing over cornfields…
Chaparral cocks dart from hystack to haystack…
Snakes slither through wind-swept grasses.
High above it all,
Wild geese get the jimjiams…
Hogging the Texas skyways…
Honking like dudes in fiveo’clock traffic…
While the sun cowers behind clouds…
Not daring to peep or come out.
But bold October keeps coming
Across Texas….
Niether looking where it’s going
nor caring.
©Marjorie Burney Willis

*Bold October is copyright Majorie Burney Willis circa 1980’s and no part of this poem may be reproduced or copied.*

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.

Scarecrow Festival 2016

Welcome to the 2016 Halloween Artist Bazaar Scarecrow Festival! We’re paying respect to the guardians of the pumpkin patch by putting them on display for all to see! Here you will find scarecrows created by participating HAB members and our friends and followers.

Want to see your own scarecrow as part of the festival?

Step 1: Create your very own scarecrow in what ever medium you would like. Make it scary, silly, pretty or spooky.
Step 2: Post a picture of your scarecrow on our Facebook page wall for all to see!
Step 3: Your scarecrow will migrate to the online Scarecrow festival page and be featured in the scarecrow gallery.

To learn more about the history of scarecrows visit this article The Scarecrow

Have fun and be creative! We can’t wait to see all the wonderful scarecrows!

Scarecrows presented by the following:

Jan’s Beads
Twilight Faerie
Harvest Moon Studios
Chad Savage
A Ryer Studio
Art By Sarada

HAB online shopping catalog:

HAB on Etsy

HAB on Etsy:

HAB on Etsy

The Scarecrow


The Scarecrow
-By Angelique Duncan

The Scarecrow

One of the quintessential symbols of fall is the scarecrow. The simple humanoid made from straw and newspaper who wears old clothes and often a hat. His job is to guard the pumpkin patch or the cornfield and in urban environments he watches over the flowerbeds and potted plants. He is usually comical, sometimes jovial and often childlike in appearance. However the scarecrow was not always such a friendly figure. He once partook in great rituals and was a fearsome guardian who channeled the spirits of the seasons and was believed to kill those who threatened his crops or village.

Some of the earliest scarecrows appear in Greece and were carved from wood to represent the son of Aphrodite, Priapus who was noted as the protector of orchids and gardens. This practice was present in Roman culture as well. Scarecrows were also recorded as being present to scare away flocks of birds from the river Nile. In Thailand scarecrows were for used for protection of the home. They were set out to scare away ghost and unwanted sprits who would come to collect souls.

In Japan scarecrows were made from wooden stakes draped with rags and bells. These scarecrows were more abstract in their appearance than humanoid. Raw meat would be hung from the stakes giving them a rotten stench. They were as much to scare away trespassers and thieves, as they were to fend off birds. Later the Japanese scarecrows began to take on a more human look, wearing old raincoats, wide brim hats and boots. These guardians were given swords to make their appearance more intimidating. They were known as the Kuebiko, and were a representation of the Shinto deity of agriculture, who was a man who could not walk on his own but had vast knowledge and awareness of all things in the world.

The Vikings believed that scarecrows channeled nature spirits who would ward off evil that could otherwise spread disease, destroy crops and kill livestock or threaten the villages. However, it was also believed that the scarecrow could at times become possessed and grow too powerful and zealous in its protection, killing any animal or human it deemed as a threat. Ceremonies where held giving the scarecrows offerings of clothes and food and drink. There are legends that human sacrifices were given to appease the nature spirits at planting. It is said that the deceased sacrifice would be hung in the fields after a ritual in honor of the scarecrow and the nature spirits that dwelled in him. Although some believe that these bodies were actually that of thieves that were impaled and left as a warning to others not to trespass.

Some Europeans believed that former protectors who had passed away occupied scarecrow bodies. It was thought that the soul of farmers, law officers, or even loyal canines could be summoned to inhabit the scarecrow to protect the land. Others believed they were harvest Gods who were brought to life by hosting a ceremony at the scarecrows birth in the Spring. By showing the scarecrow respect once they were erected, the Gods would protect in return. The scarecrow might be moved to watch over different fields and shared by townsfolk. At the end of the harvest on or near October 31st the scarecrow would be paraded through town for a grand celebration thanking him for his service and burned in a bon fire to free his spirit until the next planting season.

In Germany early scarecrows were made from wood and carved to resemble witches that were set out in the early spring. It was believed that the wooden witches would draw any evil from the ground that may have entered the earth during the Winter months. The witches would stay in the field until harvest, at that time they were burned. Some German farmers would build humanoid scarecrows from old clothes and often depicted with red scarves that were considered the embodiment of bootzmon, the boogeyman of the fields. These boogeymen would move through the field frightening away trespassers.

In Scotland scarecrows were sometimes believed to house the spirit of the Tattie Bogle. Tattie Bogle was known as a potato monster who would hide in the potato fields and could cause potato blight and terrorize and assault humans.

Both the Dutch and the Germans would create a female companion for their scarecrows. She would be adorned in a long dress and often have a bonnet. At times the female would be posted at the opposite end of the field than her male counter part. At other times she might be moved to stand with him. It was believed that they would at times move together around the fields at night.

Scarecrows made their way to North America in the 1800’s traveling with the farming practices of immigrants. As America became a melting pot of traditions, scarecrow customs were melted together as well. And with theses scarecrow practices, the mythologies followed too. There are countless folklores of scarecrows having the ability to move around the fields they guard on their own. It was widely believed that on a full moon scarecrows could capture disembodied spirits and take on an animated life and move freely.

Some myths suggest that scarecrows have the ability to multiply. During a full moon; especially a full moon on Halloween, scarecrows would converge together and move as packs through entire villages making mischief, reaping destruction and scaring humans they felt were not respectful.

During the age of small farms and agriculture in the United States scarecrows were a common site through out the growing months of the Spring and Summer. They were eclectic in their appearance and often a spooky sight to see. However with modern farming technology, the scarecrows job has been replaced by mechanized means. Once mediums for spirits and Gods, they now they are relegated to a novelty set out during the fall as Halloween and Autumn decorations. As the old time religions and practices were abandoned, Scarecrow became more of a temporary art object and less of a protector; their appearance shifted to a kindler, gentler form.

Scarecrows are still celebrated today in scarecrow festivals. Usually large events held in rural and some urban communities in which residents are invited to construct scarecrows to put on public display, often with prizes awarded for different categories. Sometimes the displays are held in a central location, other festivals become community wide events where the public can tour the town spotting scarecrows.

Should you put out a scarecrow in your garden whether for protecting your plants during the growing season or as a decoration for fall, remember to treat him with respect. Give him an offering of dried food or his very own special flowerpot. Make sure he is shaded when it is sunny and offer him water when it is dry. When there are storms offer him shelter. Keep him company every now and then so he doesn’t get too lonely and knows he is appreciated.

If he is to be used for the following year, bring him in after midnight on October 31st so that he doesn’t hold over any evil spirits that might be released next season and thank him gratefully for his service of guardian. Keep him stored in a safe place. Other wise he might become unhappy and decide to wander off on his own and join a group of disgruntled scarecrows making their way down your street.

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.

2016 Trick or Treat Give Away!


Trick Or Treat!
Trick Or Treat!

The 2016 Trick or Treat Give Away has concluded! A winner has been chosen. Thank you to all who trick or treated, and keep their Jack o lanterns lit to keep the spirit of Halloween alive.

Keep your Jack o’ lanterns lit in solidarity, and to all a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

How To Enter:

Step 1: Visit one of the contributing HAB artist from the list below. If the artist your Trick or Treating is an Etsy store contact them using the “contact the owner” tab on the left sidebar of their shop. If they are on the HAB catalog use our contact form. Leave them a message that states “TRICK OR TREAT!”.
Step 2: Visit our Facebook page and “Like” us and comment “TRICK OR TREAT!” on our wall.
Step 3: Fill out the official Trick or Treat Give Away entry form below.

Official Rules

Entry deadline is Midnight on October 20th 2016 Central Standard Time. The Winner will be chosen at random. One entry per person. Winner will be notified via email. The prize will ship on October 21st 2016. The winners name will be posted on the Halloween Artist Bazaar website and Facebook page. Information obtained will only be used to contact winner in regards to contest. HAB does not release or sell information from our entry forms or contact page. All ages welcome to enter. Members of Halloween Artist Bazaar are not qualified for entry. Contest open internationally, however please note that prize may not arrive before October 31st due to international shipping delays. *Your countries custom charges may apply. * Prize value an estimated $200.00 (and growing as more is added)

Contributing Halloween Artist Bazaar Artists links where to find their wares in order of photo appearance:(check back as the list grows and photo’s of the winnings are posted!)

Twilight Faerie
Jan’s Beads
Sauvage Raven Creations
Gothbunny
PunkinPrims
Forest Whimsy
Odd Origins
SkullBaby
Jynxx Designs Eclectic Arm Candy
Harvest Moon Studio

The Crows and The Ravens


The Crows and The Ravens
-By Angelique Duncan

In mythology crows and ravens have become interchangeable. There are a multitude of legends across the globe surrounding these fine black birds. They are part of a family of birds that are referred to as corvus that has over 40 different species of proud black birds and even colored jays that are referred to commonly as crows. A common theme among crow legends is their high intelligence and use of tools. Depending on the culture they are deemed good or evil, wise sage or trickster or simply nuisance. For many today, they are a symbol of the spooky. This was not always their persona, once they were seen as Gods.

Crows and ravens are found making appearance in creation myths in several cultures around the world. In Native American tribes of North America the Raven brought light to the world. It is said, in varying tales, that in the beginning there was darkness created by a Great Chief who resided in in the heavens. He kept light hidden away in a locked box. Raven, not feeling it was fair to keep light from the rest of creation devised a plan and stole the box. Raven flew away with the box and dropped it to the earth where it split open spreading light creating the sun, moon and stars.

Another Native American creation myth tells that the Raven stole water, light and fire from a greedy grey eagle that despised humanity and kept the elements for himself. The Raven stole the elements and flew around the world carrying light, water and fire in his beak. He hung the moon and sun in the sky creating light. He dropped the water to create lakes and streams. Lastly he released the fire where it fell into rocks. The Raven, once a white bird, feathers had turned black from the smoke of the fire he carried. The Ravens feathers remained blacked as reminder of what he gave humanity.

In another folklore of Native Americans the Raven created the world and took care of humans, giving them vegetation, shelter, clothes and taught them how to take care of themselves. When a great flood occurred the Raven gathered animals by pairs to save them and humanity as well. After the floods reseeded, the Raven fell in love with a human and wanted to marry her. The family however refused to allow their daughter to marry a scavenger bird. As revenge for his broken heart the Raven created mosquitoes to punish all of the humans for their lack of gratitude for what he had done for them.

It is a reoccurring theme that the Crow as a spirit animal is to have great intelligence, creativity and the able to change with ones situation. In many Asian cultures and some South American and European cultures the Crow is a sign of change or birth, literal and metaphoric. The birds are seen as wise messengers and protectors.

However, many cultures have marked the black birds as an omen of death, misfortune and even war. The Crows are known for being scavengers and often will eat leavings of carrion that other animals and birds will not touch. This may attribute to their ill fortune of association with death and foreboding. Observation of their clever demeanor easily explains their prominent place in mythology. However they fell from the perch as creators of the world to more negative connotations.

In Norse mythology two Ravens were the companions of the God Odin. The pair would fly around the world listening and watching and return to give Odin intelligence of what they had seen and heard. Their names were Hugin and Munin, meaning, thought and mind prospectively. From this mythology Crows have gained the reputation as spies and not to be trusted if one is present while a secret is being shared.

In ancient lore, it was deemed bad luck to see Crows before battle. It was thought that they brought defeat and death. The Celtics believed that Goddesses would take the form of a Crow after battle and feast upon the dead.

In Christianity the Crows and Ravens are seen as bad omens and “unclean” and a “flawed creation of God”. In the tale of Noah and his arc, similar to the North American tale of a great flood, the Raven’s role is reversed from savior to selfish slacker. In the Bible tale, the Raven was a grand white bird. Noah sent the Raven to investigate if land had appeared after the rains ended. Instead of returning to let Noah know land was appearing, the Raven stayed on the dry shore and began scavenging and looking for his own food, forsaking Noah and the rest of the animals. Noah sent a dove instead who returned with an olive branch as a sign that all was good. God punished the Raven for his selfishness by turning him black.

Many Europeans believed that Crows were witches or faeries who had taken the shape of the bird to make mischief undetected or to steal shiny objects. The black birds are known for destruction of crops and were seen as sent as a curse by witches to bring financial ruin and misfortune to farmers who had angered a witch.

Early Christians believed that the Crow was a sign of evil for it’s black coloring. They believed that to cross one was bad luck. It was told that to see a flock of low flying Crows meant that illness was near. Also, it was believed that a Crow flying over a house and cawing three times meant a death would happen in that home. Another wives tale states that if a Crow caws before the other birds in the morning that dreary weather will come. Some cultures believed that Crows would eat and carry the souls of the dead. It was thought that they were sent by Satan and would only eat the eyes of sinners and therefore carried evil souls to be trapped in the underworld. Properly, the name for a flock of Crows is known as a “murder of crows”, helping to drive home the connotation of death with these birds.

Crows and Ravens have been featured through out fables, literature and popular culture as mysterious birds of intrigue. The Ravens became synonymous with spookiness after the chilling tale of “The Raven” by Edger Allen Poe. The Ravens and Crows secured their place in spooky imagery after being featured in famous motion pictures like “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock and the “Omen 2” by Don Taylor.

For many in the United States the presence of the black birds and their familiar caws are a rite of the seasons and a sign that the end of Summer is nearing. Autumn and harvest is close behind. The Crows and Ravens are part of the excitement and imagery that is Fall and for some they are a most welcome and comforting messenger that soon it will be October and Halloween.

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.