Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Raven myth is my reality

CC Jean Stimmell
It’s funny how Raven has come to me in times of danger and spiritual need.  Raven first appeared to me over 10 years ago at the end of a vision quest while I sat on a ridge bordering a chasm in the deep woods far behind my house. Raven, perched unknown to me at the top of the tree I was sitting under, squawked, thus revealing herself for the first time. I nearly dismissed her as an hallucination. 

Around seven years ago, Raven reappeared after I was first diagnosed with melanoma cancer which the doctors feared had metastasized – but it turned out surgery was able to catch it in time.  

Again this Spring I blogged about being being visited by Raven, circling around my yard, looking for carrion and I told her I wasn’t ready to go yet. ⁠1Two months later I was diagnosed with prostate cancer 

Then last week, Raven beckoned again from the tall tree by my house: Raven squawked and I answered. She flew in a circle above my head and flew off to the west.

Over the years I have made art featuring ravens. One image is featured above, a photo montage of two of my photographs: A Raven taken on a beach in Point Reyes California superimposed onto a Cape Cod beach at sunset in which I have replaced the the raven’s eye with the setting sun.

Recently I got a different take on my intuitive pairing of Raven with the sun after wandering into a Native American gift shop in Portsmouth. I was immediately drawn to a miniature raven carved from stone which captured her trickster nature because of what looked like a stolen berry she was carrying in her beak. 

I felt a kinship with this little sculpture and decided to buy it as a good omen for my upcoming operation. When I went to pay for it, the owner told me Raven carried, not a stolen berry in her beak but the sun itself. She asked if I knew the mythological story of Raven and the Sun – which I did not. Here is one version:

“For the traditional story of "Raven Steals the Sun/Light", it is difficult to say where the origins of this myth are, but there are many variations and versions of this story up and down the west coast of North America [as well as in the Midwest and the East]…It is central to the Northwest Indian's spiritual beliefs. Just as western religion suggests that the world was void of light in the beginning, so too does this.”

“In many versions Raven steals the Sun from the Old Man who had hidden it away to keep for himself, thus returning the Sun to the Sky and to the People who have been in the dark for a long time.”⁠2 

Raven is my spiritual animal in all her aspects, both as a trickster and a benevolent transformer who helps people and shapes their world for them. Certainly, Raven has always been there for me when I needed her most.

Best yet, I know Raven is not here just for me but to rescue all us two-legged ones from the Old Man who has conquered our world again, pretending this time to be our savior when, in fact, he is the agent of colonialism, patriarchy, and capitalism.

The reality of our situation resides in myth: the Old Man is still the greedy thief, stealing the Sun, plunging the people back into oppression and darkness. Luckily, Raven is here to return the sun back to the sky and to we, the People, who have been in the dark for too long.

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