Raven (mythology)

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Raven (mythology)

Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 2:12 am

Raven (mythology)


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.



Raven, the spirit of the raven bird, is a trickster god in the mythology of various native peoples of northwest North America, including the Haida, Kwakiutl and Tsimshian.
Notable stories tell of him creating the human world, stealing and releasing the sun, and of him tempting the first humans out of a clam shell.
Not to be confused with Kwakwakalanooksiwae in Kwakiutl mythology.[edit]


Raven Creates the World


A raven story from the Puget Sound region describes the Raven as having originally lived in the land of spirits (literally bird land) that existed before the world of humans. One day the Raven became so bored with bird land that he flew away, carrying a stone in his beak. When the Raven became tired of carrying the stone and dropped it, the stone fell into the ocean and expanded until it formed the world which humans now live in.
In the creator role, and in the Raven's role as the totem and ancestor of one of the four northwest clan houses, the Raven is often addressed as Grandfather Raven. It is not clear whether this form of address is intended to refer to a creator Raven who is different from the trickster Raven, or if it is just a vain attempt to encourage the trickster spirit to act respectably.[edit]


Raven Steals the Sun


This is an ancient story told on Puget Sound and includes how Raven helped to bring the Sun, Moon, Stars, Fresh Water, and Fire to the world.
Long ago, near the beginning of the world, Gray Eagle was the guardian of the sun and moon and stars, of fresh water, and of fire. Gray Eagle hated people so much that he kept these things hidden. People lived in darkness, without fire and without fresh water.
Gray Eagle had a beautiful daughter, and Raven fell in love with her. At that time Raven was a handsome young man. He changed himself into a snow-white bird, and as a snow-white bird he pleased Gray Eagles daughter. She invited him to her fathers longhouse.
When Raven saw the sun and the moon and the stars and fresh water hanging on the sides of Eagles lodge, he knew what he should do. He watched for his chance to seize them when no one was looking. He stole all of them, and a brand of fire also, and flew out of the longhouse through the smoke hole.
As soon as Raven got outside he hung the sun up in the sky. It made so much light that he was able to fly far out to an island in the middle of the ocean. When the sun set, he fastened the moon up in the sky and hung the stars around in different places. By this new light he kept on flying, carrying with him the fresh water and the brand of fire he had stolen.
He flew back over the land. When he had reached the right place, he dropped all the water he had stolen. It fell to the ground and there became the source of all the fresh-water streams and lakes in the world.
Then Raven flew on, holding the brand of fire in his bill. The smoke from the fire blew back over his white feathers and made them black. When his bill began to burn, he had to drop the firebrand. It struck rocks and went into the rocks. That is why, if you strike two stone together, fire will drop out.
Ravens feathers never became white again after they were blackened by the smoke from the firebrand. That is why Raven is now a black bird.

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