Category Archives: Raven Guides

A Raven Crown

The hereditary monarchy of the Wangchuk dynasty in the independent Himalayan State of Bhutan was established in 1907. The first king of the Wangchuk dynasty, Sir Ugyen Wangchuck (1862–1926), was a charismatic figure who came to power against a turbulent background of incessant and complex feuding in that chaotic warrior state. He adopted as the unique symbol of his authority a crown surmounted by the head of a raven. The bird represents a form of “Mahakala“, Bhutan’s guardian deity. The prototype of the founding monarch’s Raven Crown had first been devised as a battle helmet for his father, Jigme Namgyel (1825–81). Known as the Black Regent, he had worn it in bloody struggles against his many rivals within the country and against the British who tried, unsuccessfully, to subdue him.

The story of the Wangchuck dynasty’s rise and triumph moves from a picture of turmoil and chaos to one of relative peace and stability. The heredity monarchy is fairly recent and the Wangchuck dynasty was established in 1907.

Raven Crown today is the official crown worn by the Kings of Bhutan. The Raven is the national bird of Bhutan. The raven is known locally as Jaroq. One time was a capital crime to kill a raven in Bhutan.

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Can I Have What He’s Had?

The Common Raven is an acrobatic flier, often doing rolls and somersaults in the air. One bird was seen flying upside down for more than a half-mile. Young birds are fond of playing games with sticks, repeatedly dropping them, then diving to catch them in midair.

RavenJig

Tree and I were not sure what had made this Raven happy enough to be jigging about, but we were only just saying that we thought we would like some of what he has had.

BabaReturns_0001

Then we heard what sounded like a jet arriving and  we realized that Baba had returned to Lemuria in her mortar. No wonder Raven is dancing a jig.

When Baba makes a come back everyone has a reaction.

Meanwhle, this aged Raven who has clearly seen it all before, is far from impressed.

RavenAged

Huginn and Munin

And so, the raven once known as Munin, or Memory, one of the pair of legendary ravens of the  Norse god Odin, spent his last few hours on this earth in a barn in a green plastic milk crate, guarded by a yellow retriever and fed on homely hamburger, unable to remember anything except the name of his lost brother Hugin, or Thought, for whom he called all the way to the end.

Read the full story of the A Boy and A Crow by Jane Wolfinbarger

Artist: Unknown

Sleek Black Birds

Raven Cauldron

Common ravens are actually rather remarkable animals. These sleek, black birds are excellent and acrobatic fliers on par with falcons and hawks. Such aerial skills are on display during breeding season, when exciting mating rituals include an elaborate dance of chases, dives, and rolls.

These intelligent birds were honored by Native Americans and often portrayed as sly pranksters for their playful nature.

Known as scavengers, ravens are also effective hunters that sometimes use cooperative techniques. Teams of ravens have been known to hunt down game too large for a single bird. They also prey on eggs and nestlings of other birds, such as coastal seabirds, as well as rodents, grains, worms, and insects. Ravens do dine on carrion and sometimes on human garbage.

In winter, common ravens may gather in flocks to forage during the day and to roost at night. During the rest of the year, they are often coupled, or in small groups. Ravens are believed to mate for life. They build large, stick nests in which females lay three to seven eggs each spring. Both parents care for their young, which remain dependent for several months.

Common ravens typically vocalize with a croaking sound, but they boast a wider repertoire of calls.

A Need for Magic

Ravens are keepers of secrets and they will escort you into the void where the mysteries are contained or they will bring you messages from the spirits of darkness with knowledge to impart.

Seven Ravens by Arthur Rackham

Since the dawn of time mankind has struggled to come to terms with the world around him. The teaching of rational thinkers such as Descartes have, unfortunately, resulted in us burying knowledge that has lain deep within our soul.

As children, our animistic minds told us that because a stone can roll down a hill, it is alive. Likewise many of us believed that because a stream gurgled over stones it breathed life. We could hear it talking as it made its way to the sea so of course it was a living thing.

Many cultures believed, believe still, that the sun, trees, winged ones, stones and water were inhabited by spirits in much the same way that people are inhabited by spirits.

Despite the advances of scientific, rational thinking, we are actually no closer to answering the eternal questions of ‘Who am I?’ ‘How ought I deal with life’s problems?’ ‘What must I become?’

We are no closer to unraveling the mysteries.

It is when we find ourselves in situations where there is no convincing explanation, that we turn back to some of the fantastical that has been presented so eloquently in Fairy stories. It is no wonder that at such times we gain some comfort and direction from tales that remind us what we know to be so.

Take the story of the Seven Ravens for example.

At a time when I am still grieving the loss of seven significant others scientifically correct answers and loss and grief theory only leave me baffled. Science does nothing to comfort me or alleviate the sense of loss. It provides no answers to the questions I have and offers no means for me to fill the void I face.

I would just as gladly turn for help from the sun, the moon or the morning star. I would happily listen to the north wind and go where she beckons.

Moments before my mother took her last breath she sat bolt upright and had a look of, what can only be described as joyous disbelief, on her face. No doubt there is a perfectly logical, scientific explanation for her final movements but I like to think that, like the maiden in the Seven Ravens, my mother heard and saw her loved ones, in shapes she had not previously associated them as having, wishing that she might finally be with them.

The call to leave her pain body and be led by the hand to a better place was too good an offer to refuse. A moment later my son and I knew that she had willingly gone home with someone very dear to her.

When the young raven came to communicate with me recently I felt that the bird had come, in just the way in which animal guides have come to guide the heroes and heroines of the fairy stories I have always loved.

Call me primitive but I am happy to retain the childlike belief that not only can animals think and feel as we do, but they can carry the spirits of those we love to be with us again. Moreover I do believe that if we are prepared to listen they can escort us into the void where the mysteries are revealed.

I am happy to believe that when my turn comes that those I have loved will come, collectively, to fetch me; that on that day I will know that one of their number had been with me, one autumn day in 2011, in the form of a beautiful black bird.

At that moment, I will know, just as my mother finally knew, that none of them had ever really gone, never actually abandoned me.

Raven Words

Come to rest.
Glide slowly down to earth
arrive – and let it go

Adventurers have been slipping through the portal, arriving in Lemuria. Near the portal is a tree, filled with ravens who are watching, with interest, as they arrive.

The raven is also frequently linked with prophecy. Not only was it a messenger of the gods, both as an informant and as a guide, but it also was thought to be the most prophetic of all birds. People are still referred to as having “the foresight of ravens”.

With this in mind, Raven advice to come to rest, glide slowly to earth, arrive and let go seem particularly timely.

For now it  is enough to have arrived. For now  I am happy to let go and rest within the walls of the Lemurian Abbey.

Thought and Memory

Huginn and Muninn (‘thought’ and ‘memory’) are characters from Norse mythology. Two ravens rested on the shoulders of the Norse god Odin: Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory. The ravens circled the sky, often during battle, and returned in the evening to Odin. It was considered apocalyptic if only one of the ravens should return, the consequences being a society governed by memory without thought, or thought without memory.

Having gathered my bearings it is evident that Raven is not with me in Lemuria in the capacity of Muse alone. She sits on my shoulder, by my side, to aid thought and Memory. As we bask in the autumnal surroundings, watching drifts of brightly colored leaves forming crunchy golden carpets, a host of memories of days roaming Lemurian roads waft back.

We smile and nod as the memories pass by.

There are so many moments that I could recall but it is Mnemosyne, whose name means memory who springs to mind. She was the mother of the muses. When I worked with Mnemosyne we sat by Mnemosyne’s stream and recanted so many memories.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I chose to share it with the Lemurian Hermit sharing memories of times when our mothers were alive. Some simple buttered biscuits, topped with fresh tomato, bought back memories of afternoon tea with my mother. My mother always had a cache of food that she could produce at a moments notice. A favorite standby of hers, ready for when the unexpected visitor appeared, was  to produce dry biscuits, butter them and then top them with cheese and tomato. She served them on bone china and poured copious amounts of tea from her bone china teapot into an eclectic collection of cups with matching saucers and plates.

Remembering Mum I buttered some biscuits, added some tomato and took them, along with some freshly made cake, to share with the Hermit.

A visit to the Hermitage is always restorative. Fond memories of my mother soothed me. It was my first Mother’s Day without  her.

Perhaps while we are here in Lemuria Raven and I will wander back in time and marvel at the richness of hours spent in this peaceful world, far removed from shattering world events.

As One

Halloween09-3Eldorado

We are as one
Raven and I
We will never part
We trust that being together
Is enough!

A Creation Myth

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Metaphor Seeds Imagination

From the formless void
Motes, particles, miniscule molecules of matter
Slowly began to stir
Drawn by an invisible procreative,
Primordial force
They gravitated
Clinging together tenaciously
Swelling into a giant cluster
A sensual shape with
Dark raven wings

Inflaming, arousing desire, Raven
Spread her wings
Dancing, gyrating provocatively
Upon Wind’s fingertips
Wind and raven’s coming together
Borne of frenzied passion
Was a union, an act of love?
From which was birthed
An exquisite silver, moon egg
Swollen with life.

Curled within the silver womb
Amid deep silence
Lay the Goddess of Love,
Goddess of erotic love, fertility
Wrapped in the very wings
Upon which would ride, ravenous
Procreative inspiration
The all powerful
Creative energy
That fuels the universe

Nigredo

Sibyl the Shaman

Raven carried her ball of light into the sky,
so we no longer live in darkness.

The old self image must die
Death must precede the
Psychological revolution that is welling
the creative reorganization demanding to
Unblock the flow of psychic energy and
Give life new meaning

Into the cauldron Raven
Beautiful soul maiden gently places
Black seeds from my shadow
Black wormseed from my ego
to incubate, regenerate and
Facilitate rebirth

A beginning, the end
Dying to the senses, withdrawing
Voluntarily entering the dark inner world of the soul
at home in the darkness of suffering
Only in death is a greater thing born
Only within the darkness lie germs of recovery