Why “Big Black Bird?”

Big black birds like crows and ravens are not the ones we hope our feeders and gardens attract. They’re large, boisterous, aggressive scavengers. Western culture posits them as ominous. In literature, they often represent death, loss or illness. Encountering a crow on a walk does not evoke warm feelings. A group of crows is known as a murder and a group of ravens is called an unkindness or conspiracy.  Big Black Bird may seem an odd image to represent an organization providing coaching, consulting and formation.

I think it’s perfect!

Corvids are among the most intelligent creatures on earth. Crows solve puzzles, fashion tools, learn individual human faces, and share knowledge across generations. When ravens die, others nearby become aware of the loss and gather to determine the threat.

The crow family is also noted in religious traditions. The Bible details the raven’s role in Noah’s search for dry ground, transporting food to a despondent Elijah, and are cited as examples of God’s faithfulness by both Job and Jesus. In the Qur’an, a raven teaches Cain to bury his murdered brother. Hinduism views crows as messengers and protectors. The Haida people of the Pacific Northwest tell stories that describe the raven as both divine trickster and provider, using its cunning to steal the sun, moon, stars, water, and fire for the benefit of all humanity.

Our lives and work inevitably attract big black birds, an appropriate metaphor for the unavoidable encounters with fear, loss, change, pain, disillusionment and, resentment. They are unwanted visitors we prefer to avoid. Yet they can’t be ignored. They demand attention. How will we respond?

These difficult and unwanted emotions and experiences, however, can be viewed differently. They can be warnings, motivations, or teachable moments that push us toward growth. Perhaps they alert us that change is needed. They can drive us toward solidarity with others to teach us skills and offer new perspectives.

This is the heart of the mission of Big Black Bird CCF.  We help people and organizations identify and learn from the big black birds of fear, failure, resentment and change that we encounter in life and work.

(Credit to Wikipedia & LiveScience for some details)

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