Monthly Archives: July 2011


Heather Blakey has had over ten years experience building online communities using web based technologies. She first began to blog in 1999 when she was a columnist for Cathy Atherton’s Prairie Den and went on to demonstrate the potential of blogging. She wrote articles such as Zen and the Art of Team Blogging and worked in schools across Victoria, Australia, promoting the use of blogs to engage students and enable them to meet and be heard by people with similar interests.

The Wild Garden Advent Calendar, created in 2007, explored the use of web based technology and amazingly, much of it is very current. The creative work of women who Heather Blakey has mentored and guided reveals just what can be birthed in this environment.

Perhaps you still don’t know what a blog is. Maybe you don’t know a tweet from a widget or how to link to others. It could be that you simply need the hand of a creative midwife to help you realize your creative potentiality. It so happens that Heather is offering private mentoring for those who want to use blogging for educational, artistic or business purposes. You can work with Heather and become familiar with all those tools people are using. You can learn about

  • Basic blog construction using WordPress
  • Creating digital portfolios
  • Discover diverse, imaginative blog applications to meet individual needs
  • Monetizing Your Blog and promoting business
  • News-gathering and Research Methodology
  • Building niche communities and online groups
  • Link-building Strategies
  • Social Media Optimization
  • And much more…
  • Contact heatherblakey at fastmail dot fm for more information

Raven Mocker

The most dreaded of all Cherokee witches is the Raven Mocker, who robs the dying of their life.  A Raven Mocker can be of either sex, and there is no real way to know one.  They usually look old and withered, because they have added so many lives to their own.

During the night when someone is sick or dying, the Raven Mocker goes there to take the life.  He flies through the air with his arms outstretched like wings.  There will be a wild wind noise around him, and sparks trailing from behind.  Every once in awhile he will dive, and make a sound similar to a raven’s cry.  All those who hear it are afraid, because they know that someone’s life will soon end.  When the Raven Mocker makes it to the dying person’s house, he often finds others of his kind there.  Unless there is an Cherokee Doctor watching out who knows how to drive them off, they will all go inside (they are invisible) and frighten and torment the sick person until they kill him.  Sometimes, those who are attending the sick think the person is just fighting for their breath.

After the witches take the life, they take out his heart and eat it, and by doing this, they add to their own lives as many days or years as they have taken from his.  Nobody who is attending the sick can see them, and there is no scar where they have removed the heart.  Upon further examination, they will find that there is no heart left in the body.

Only a medicine person with the right kind of medicine can recognize a Raven Mocker, and if that medicine person stays in the room with the sick person, the witches will be afraid to come in.  When one of them has been recognized in his right shape, he must die within seven days.  Often, when the friends of a traditional Cherokee know that there is no more hope, they will try to have one of these medicine people stay in the house and guard the body until it is buried.  Witches will not steal the hearts after burial.

Other witches are usually jealous of Raven Mockers and are afraid to enter the same house with one.  When a Raven Mocker finally dies, the other witches sometimes take revenge by digging up the body and abusing it.  Traditional Cherokees also believe that after a person dies, his soul often continues to live as a ghost.  Ghosts are believed to have the ability to materialize where some people can see them, although some can not.

Raven Fools Crow

Is it a Raven or a Crow?

Raven used to live high up in the upper Skagit River country. He was very lazy. In the summer when the other animals were busy gathering food for winter, he would be flying from rock to stump and stump to rock making fun of them. Raven just laughed when Crow (his cousin) urged him to follow Squirrel’s example but Raven never prepared for the cold months, when the snow would drift over the ground and cover all the remaining food.

But now Raven was in trouble. Winter had come and the snows were deep. He was hungry and Raven loved to eat. He had to find someone who would share their food with him.

Raven went to see Squirrel. He had a huge supply of pine nuts and seeds and other food hidden all over the place. Raven poked his head in squirrel’s nest in a old fir tree. Squirrel had lots to eat. Raven politely begged for some food. Squirrel scolded him that was always Squirrel’s way “You refused to work and save for winter and you poked much fun at me, you deserve to starve!”

Raven went looking for Bear. But Bear was sound asleep in his cave and could not be wakened. Raven looked around for some food, but it was all in Bear’s belly. Bear had already eaten it all and was sleeping till spring.

Raven was now very hungry. He thought: “Who can give me something to eat? Everyone is either stingy like Squirrel or sleeping like Bear and Marmot, or they have gone South for winter like the snow birds.” Then he thought of Crow he would be easy to fool!

Raven flew to Crow’s nest. “Cousin Crow, we must talk about your coming potlatch!” Crow answered. “I have not planned a potlatch”

Raven ignored his response. “Crow, everyone is talking about your potlatch will you sing at it?” “Sing?” Crow had not known that anybody really cared for his singing voice, though in those days, Crow’s song was much more like that of Wood Thrush than it is today.

Raven continued to talk of Crow’s potlatch. “You are very talented and possess a beautiful voice – everyone will be so disappointed if you don’t sing at your potlatch!”

“What potlatch? …. You really like my singing?”

“We love your singing, Crow,” Raven answered. “The Winter’s cold has chilled the forest and we’re cold and hungry and singing will help us forget our cold feet and empty stomachs. Now you get started fixing the food, looks like you have plenty here and I will go invite the guests to your potlatch. You can practice your songs as you cook!”

Crow’s hesitation now overcome, he began to prepare all the food he had collected for winter, and as he prepared it, he practiced his songs. The more he thought the feast and how everyone wanted to hear him sing, the more excited he got about it.

Meanwhile Raven was offering invitations to all the animals of the forest. (Of course Marmot and Beaver were sleeping like Bear, and Robin and Goose were gone South) To each he said the same thing: “Come to My potlatch! I have worked hard to prepare it. There will be much food at Raven’s potlatch and Crow is helping and will sing for us. There will be fern roots and wild potatoes, dried berries, fish and meat. Come to My potlatch! It will be a great occasion.” Raven did not invite Squirrel however since he had refused to share his food with Raven. But all the rest of the animals were invited to Raven’s Potlatch.

When he returned to Crow – he was busy singing and cooking. Raven told him, “Everyone is coming – be sure and fix all your food, they will be hungry after their journey. And your songs are sounding so good! Crow’s potlatch will be a great feast!”

As the guest arrived, Raven welcomed each one to his potlatch. There was Deer and Mountain Goat and Mouse, Rabbit, Ptarmigan and Jay. The guests were seated and the food was brought out. Crow started to sit and eat, but Raven asked him for a song first. “It’s not good to sing on a full stomach, Crow”.

So Crow began to sing. Every time he would stop to eat – Raven would insist he sing another song. “You can’t sing with your mouth full, Crow!” Encouraged again and again by the guests who were busy stuffing themselves with Crow’s food. Crow sang song after song after song all day until night and Crow’s voice became hoarser and hoarser until all he could do was “Caw – caw”.

As was the custom – the left over food was collected by the guests and taken by them for their homeward journey. Even Raven had taken his share and left as Crow was cleaning up. Crow had nothing left to eat. ” At least,” Crow thought, “I won’t go hungry, I will be invited to their feasts.” For it was the custom that having been entertained, each guest was now obliged to return the favor and invite the host for a return potlatch.

But the invitations never came. Since all the guests thought it was Raven who hosted the feast, Raven was invited to enough dinners to keep his stomach full for several winters and he never went hungry.

But Crow, who had been fooled, had been reduced to starving, and never regained his singing voice either. He was destined to spend his winters begging in the camps of men for scraps of food. And that’s where we find him today, squabbling over scraps in grocery store parking lots.

Interview with Quinn McDonald

Quinn McDonald wanted to be an obedient, dutiful wife and patient mother, but she was born at the wrong time. Meet Quinn and learn about how this artist reinvented herself and authored Raw Art Journaling.

Art of Bill Reid

The art of Bill Reid exquisitely represents the call of the Raven.

I Want One Too

Goddesse, I begin an Art;
Come thou in, with thy best part,
For to make the Texture lye
Each way smooth and civilly:
Now my heart and mind shall be
Offer’d up with Vows to Thee.

I found this gorgeous ring while surfing around, randomly looking for all things Raven. Simply stunning.

Ravens clearly provide inspiration for many artists.

Finishing Touches

Make Prayers to the Raven.
Raven that is,
Raven that was,
Raven that always will be.
Make prayers to the Raven.
Raven, bring us luck.
–from the Koyukon

It will take almost a year to have the house I have bought completely refurbished and extended. It has been quite a process waiting for planning and building permits to be granted. But work has progressed and little by little I am getting closer to being able to move in and add finishing touches like this. I can see some of these lovely creatures hanging from branches of some of my trees.

Even if I had $11000 to spend on the garden I am not sure that I would actually purchase this sculpture but I have to say I do love the work. I am happy to admire the craftsmanship here on my blog and hope that this piece finds a good home.

A Popular Image

The Vikings used a lot the image of the crow. The put a symbol on their sails. Ragnar Lodbrok had a flag called “reaffirmation” and embroidered on it the image of a crow. According to legend, if the flag fluttered in the wind, Lodbrok would win but if the flag hung motionless, they lose the battle.

The Raven is a bird of high intelligence in many mythologies is revered and feared. The legends of this enigmatic bird back centuries, having been immortalized with his sinister presence as a bad omen …

The common raven is between 52 and 69 centimeters in length and its weight varies from 0.69 to 1.7 kilograms.

Generally live 10 to 15 but some individuals have reached 40 years. Part of their success is due to their omnivorous diet, the Common Raven is extremely opportunistic, feeding on carrion, insects, food waste, grains, berries, fruits and small animals.

In some places large numbers and amazing adaptation to almost any habitat they have forged a reputation as a “plague.” The Common Raven has one of the largest brains of all species of birds. It has been reported that crows are at other animals to work for them, for example by calling the wolves and coyotes to the place of a carcass.

The presence of crows in wars, death scenes, with his appetite scavenger have promoted black bird as a harbinger of death. In many cultures there is mention of this bird in its legends:

– In Norse mythology the image of the god Odin has a raven on each shoulder, Huginn represents the thought, while Muninn is memory. Odin sent his birds to travel the world to observe what happens, the old god fearing for the death of both. Their fear is that of the elders at the loss of the ability to think and remember.

The Vikings used a lot the image of the crow. The put a symbol on their sails. Ragnar Lodbrok had a flag called “reaffirmation” and embroidered on it the image of a crow. According to legend, if the flag fluttered in the wind, Lodbrok would win but if the flag hung motionless, they lose the battle.

– In Greek mythology, Apollo, the god of the sun sent a white crow to protect Corinis, a mortal of the sun god who fell in love. When she was unfaithful in a neglect of the raven, the bird flew to the heavens and said what happened to Apollo. God burned the crow and the feathers were black, and since then this bird is associated with bad news. If you hear it squawking warns of approaching death, if a house fly, this will have bad luck. The peasants who saw a crow fly over his flock know that one of the animals perish soon.

– In the fable of King Arthur, reported that he did not die and magically transformed into a raven. According to legend, if ever all ravens of the Tower of London disappeared, the British Empire would fall away in the absence of their guardians. This myth was born in the nineteenth century, a period in which the ravens of the tower is fed from the eyes of the criminals executed by the Empire.

– In the Hebrew stories there is a strange connection between the raven and dove, birds important to the image of God, the crow guides man in the darkness, is the sentinel of the Moon. While the pigeon goes to the man in the light, the sun and life. Noah sent two birds in search of dry land. The raven did not return to find abundant food, while the dove brought hope. This fable shows the raven and the dove as wisdom and knowledge.

– In Buddhism Dharma protector Mahakal is represented by a crow, because of its association with soil and worms. Figure in the first reincarnated Dalai Lama, who according to legend, during his birth home was attacked by thieves, forcing parents to flee. Fearing the worst when they returned they were surprised to see the Dalai Lama lives, surrounded by crows. Since then, the Dalai Lama are protected by crows, and birds are mentioned in Tibetan Buddhism and disciplines.

Occult circles talk about the participation of the crow as a guide the souls of the dead to the underworld. However, there are occasions where the deceased died unjustly or was not his time to die. In these rare cases, Native American legends, in which the soul can not rest and must return to repair the damage suffered. The author James O’Barr wrote the popular comic “The Crow, the Crow in 1989, it was to be able to cope with the loss of his fiancee at the hands of a drunk driver.

Later in 1994 the story was made into a movie where Brandon Lee immortalized Eric Draven, a young musician who returns from the dead to quench their thirst for revenge. The raven is the source of power and gives invunerabilidad, strength and vision of all you can see the black bird. Sagas of the film later overshadowed a classic film which unfortunately Brandon Lee was killed in an unfortunate accident.

The most intelligent bird

Crows have shown high levels of recursion and memory. Being the most intelligent birds, they can learn words and short sentences even better than a parrot, its ability to mimic is truly amazing. Talking crow.

Can count on a different scale, ie if three humans enter a room with crows, and leave two visitors, the birds know that there is still a person. They have also shown some attraction to small, bright objects, which they steal and conceal. Cuervo using a wire as a hook to get food.

Show planning and communication skills with individuals, some species such as Corvus moneduloides learn to use tools to get your food. It is well known for crows have learned to use the vehicle traffic on a road to crack open nuts, nuts open using car Ravens on the road.

Surprisingly these birds respect their elders, who bring food, according to research that shows that the species are familiar with the concept of respecting their elders. Despite having much intelligence crows are not good pets, as well the saying goes “Raise ravens and they will peck out your eyes.”

The Soul Rests Eternal

“… the landscape that emerges through my music is rather like the misty dawn of a new day; a day not yet ripened by the sun, but one that shows the promise of a warmer future – a way through the emotional morass.”

Take the time to read the delightful new interview in the Salon du Muse at the Soul Food Cafe. Heather Blakey, web mistress of Soul Food, takes the time to interview British composer, Mike Sheppard. This interview explores spirit and soul and shines some light on the path for those suffering from bereavement.