The Raven and the First Men

During my visit to Canada I was fascinated by the Haida people and their story of creation. The Haida are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. Their main territory is the archipelago of Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) in northern British Columbia.

Sculpture in the Bill Reid gallery in Vancouver

From the Bill Reid foundation website: “The sculpture of The Raven and the First Men depicts the story of human creation. According to Haida legend, the Raven found himself alone one day on Haida Gwaii. He saw an extraordinary clamshell and protruding from it were a number of small human beings. The Raven coaxed them to leave the shell to join him in his wonderful world. Some of the humans were hesitant at first, but they were overcome by curiosity and eventually emerged from the partly open giant clamshell to become the first Haida.

In Haida culture, the Raven is the most powerful of mythical creatures. His appetites include lust, curiosity, and an irrepressible desire to interfere and change things, and to play tricks on the world and its creatures.”

In Greek mythology ravens are associated with Apollo, the god of prophecy. They are said to be a symbol of good luck, and were the god’s messengers in the mortal world.

In other mythology and mysticism the raven is symbolic of rebirth and renewal or for direction – showing a way through a difficult time in you life.

On a more ornithological note – the Raven is in the crow family Corvidae (corvids) which also includes crows, magpies, jays, choughs, rooks, and nutcrackers. Crows and ravens are considered to be the most intelligent of birds – even fashioning tools.

Quiet Earth sponsored audio: Where the Raven Lands

Categories: Culture, Spirituality

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