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The very first night that I began trying to cultivate a dream of the spirit in crow’s form, I had a brief but noteworthy experience. (This would be at the end of January or in early February.) I had anointed my ‘third eye’ with Dreaming Oil of mugwort and lavender, and whispered a call to the crow spirit as I lay in bed.  When I was just on the edge of sleep, I saw in my mind’s eye a dark haired woman clothed in what looked like Edwardian mourning clothes – a high collared black dress, pigeon-breasted, that glittered with beads of jet.  She said something to me (which I can’t remember, to my frustration) and I whispered ‘thank you’ with gratitude, falling asleep a moment later.

Every night that I anointed myself with the dreaming oil, I did dream more vividly than I usually do, though I could remember only bits and pieces. The dreams were all of travel or adventure or seeking something, often with a group of people.

On the third night, I was in a dream traveling with a group. We were trying to find something out or get something done. I looked down, and standing on the sidewalk next to me was a crow.

This crow was gaunt and wasted. Its eyes were shriveled and sunken, rattling in the sockets like two dry peas. Lice crawled through its matted feathers. As it stood there looking at me, some dark ichor dripped slowly from its body and pooled on the ground.

My very first though upon clapping eyes on the Undead thing was: I am not touching that. I might catch something.

“Nobody touch it.” I said. “I’m going to need to call Animal Control.”

“You do what you have to,” croaked the shriveled crow.

The rest of the dream was me trying in vain to call Animal Control to come and pick up this crow, while it followed me around and dripped. The phone lines were dead, or something came up, or I was called away to do something else, and all the while the dead crow shuffled after me. Eventually I woke up, and nothing had really been resolved.

Have I mentioned that in the Spirit World I often end up being kind of an asshole? That my manners are terrible, and I’m sure I come off as the greatest of hayseeds?

It occurred to me the next day that – Hello! – This might have been a crow spirit answering my call. It might have needed healing, for all I knew.  It never occurred to me while in the dream to ask why it was there or what it was or what it wanted.

It never said anything, though, or gave any indication of what it was doing there or what it needed, it was just content to watch and wait while I tried to get rid of it. Did it have to manifest as something rotting where it stood, writhing with parasites?

I suppose, if this was a crow spirit answering my call, I have to say… no thanks. Maybe it was the spirit of the dead crow I found last fall, now gently decaying into the ground along a fence row? Maybe it was just some diseased thing that happened to show itself to me in crow-shape, just in case I didn’t notice the overwhelming corruption and picked it up with my bare hands. I don’t know. I feel bad about giving it the brush-off without trying to find out what was going on. I hope this business with the rotting thing hasn’t set my spirit-calling venture back irrevocably. I’ll just have to wait and see.