This post is about a very interesting talk that was given by Joshua Klein on Crows and their intelligence, on the TEDtalks website. It has particularly fascinating information for Astrologers, as the crow has a symbolic association with the planet Saturn, and this video unintentionally demonstrates that affinity very well.
The nine planets in Jyotish are said to produce all the many things in the world and in nature by mixing and blending their influences. Each planet is a “karaka”, or producer, of a particular concrete thing in someone’s life. For example, Saturn “produces” one’s servants. So in ancient times, if a King wanted to know how his servants would be, and whether they would work honestly and dilligently, or whether they would be dishonest and lazy, the skilled astrologer would look to the condition of the planet Saturn. The astrologer would look at other things too, but the producer of that correlating archetype in the physical world is very important. For learning about the King’s soldiers or ministers, we would look to Mars and Venus, respectively. There are many other factors the astrologer would look at, but this is perhaps the most important. Another way to say it is that one has to look at the planetary archetype that matches the physical entity in one’s life and “as above, so below”. So if there is a difficult Saturn “above” in the heavens at this king’s birth, then there will be difficult servants “below” in this person’s experience of an earthly incarnation. This is a foundational concept in the occult sciences in both the east and western cultures. It can be a hard thing to comprehend, so if it is difficult to grasp, just imagine it for now.
If you study astrology, then you probably know that crows relate to the planet Saturn and should watch the video first and observe the similarities yourself. If not, then you can read this list of congruencies and hopefully begin to appreciate this connection.
I will list some of the archetypal synchronizations I noticed below:
- To begin with, the speaker, Joshua Klein, has a simple, intelligent, and capable look to him. These are the qualities of a strongly placed saturn. He wears a black t-shirt without a logo. Saturn is related to the color black, and is mythically said to have a black or dark complexion. He even tells a bit of a “dark” joke about the Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds. These traditions of Saturn relating to the color black is still evident in the Jewish tradition, where on the holy day, the Sabbath, they traditionally where black. The Sabbath is Saturday, which is the day of the planet Saturn. The spelling makes it obvious, but all the days of the week are actually related to the planets.
- He says that he began his interest and research in crows when a friend at a cocktail party tells him that they are useless and should be killed. His very saturnian response to it is that they could probably be trained or used in some way that is more helpful for human life. This is very evident of a strong Saturn, while Joshua’s friend displays the typical pessimism of a poorly placed Saturn, Joshua says “no”, and decides to think differently about the matter. Saturn’s astrological role as a planet is to help that person become who they need to be so that they may do what they need to do to help the world the most. So right away Joshua is looking at what could be viewed as an annoying pest, and seeing how it could potentially be turned into an animal that actually makes life more bearable and enjoyable.
- At about 3 minutes into the video, he shows an amazing clip of a crow bending a metal wire into a hook to get a worm out of a tube in a science experiment, which the crow had never seen done before, showing great ingenuity and inventiveness. At 4 minutes in, he states that the brain of a crow is in proportion to the brain of the chimpanzee. Saturn is found well placed in the charts of Inventors and people who are somehow improving the quality of life for everyone.
- The clip of the crow at the five minute mark, with its clever trick of letting the car crack the nut for it, demonstrates patience, a key attribute of Saturn. Taking 30 years to go through the zodiac, it is the slowest of the main planets, symbolizing patience and endurance. A squirrel would never be able to wait that long. Also, it is said that the difficult karma that Saturn brings out in a chart can tend to afflict one the longest, because of its slow movement through each sign over 2.5 years. Sounds familiar to the story about the crows hassling the scientists, and remembering them even months and years later!
- He makes a strong point overall about how crows seem to actually benefit from cleaning up our human societies messes and roadkill, and that when trained can actually help us clean up debris from events or find lost change. Saturn’s role in the medical aspect of astrology is quite similar, ruling the immune system. Saturn is the planet that is responsible for removing waste from the body, keeping off disease, and is said to rule our longevity. Here we see evidence that crows are cleaning the city streets in an analogous way.
Overall I think this video is fascinating even without respect to Jyotish, but for those with interest in astrology and mythological symbolism, you can see there is much to be appreciated between the Crow and the planet Saturn. And by appreciating the symbolic value of our environment and the life around us, we can feel more like we are a part of something greater than our little self. In this way, mythological symbolism can have therapeutic properties for our minds.
If you notice any other interesting astrological correlations between the behavior of crows and the symbolism of the planet Saturn, please share below in the comments section.
Photos: Mythological image of the graha Saturn, said to ride upon a crow or vulture.