Rick de Yampert’s Crows and Ravens has something for any “corvid-curious Pagan, Wiccan, Witch, Heathen, shamanic practitioner, or follower of earth-based spirituality, or for any amateur naturalist intrigued by these creatures,…”—and as a veteran admirer of corvids of all kinds, I found this book very engaging.
The book is broken up into three types of chapters: corvid lore ranging from the Lascaux Bird-Man created between 17,000 BCE and 15,000 BCE, to the “exploits of Raven and Crow” in Native American lore. Chapters headed “grimoire” offer ways in which readers can “bring Crow and Raven Magic into [your] lives and spiritual work.”; and interspersed among the lore and grimoire chapters are lessons that come from “everyday observation of and engagement with” crows and ravens.

De Yampert clearly has great respect and liking for crows and ravens, not least because he’s written a book about them, but because of the way he’s written about them. He has taken the time to build a relationship with the corvids he shares space with in his own neighbourhood, and to learn about them as intelligent and interesting creatures in their own right, who have their own lives, society, rules of engagement, and quirks. His love for them is evident throughout the book.

The lore chapters were my favourite and I enjoyed the storyteller approach of de Yampert’s writing—these were fun to read and would not be out of place if they were read around a fire with a few friends.

The grimoire chapters were also well done. There is no imperative that the reader must complete those activities, but each one is approachable, well-explained, and honestly, sound like a lot of fun. My own intention is to try the raven banner one, especially as I have fabric to choose from and enjoy being crafty.

All in all, I think anyone with a liking for, or a curiosity about, corvids would do well to pick this book up as both excellent reading material, and an excellent source of references.

~review by Mara McTavish

Author: Rick de Yampert
Publisher: Llewellyn Pub.
Pp.: 288, Price: $19.99 (USD)