My last post was about following the signs and symbols and included a pair of ravens. Before going further (like about what made me laugh out loud in the journal entry), I thought it might be best to explore the symbolism of the bird.
As a bird, it is seen as a spiritual messenger, passing messages between the occupants of the earth and that which dwells in the heavens. It has a rich mythology as companion to other mythological entities and a varied history in Universal, Cultural, and even Personal Myth.
The raven has often been depicted (in paintings and photos) as a scavenger of the battlefield. It is a scavenger that feeds on carrion, but that depiction has created a symbolism that views it as a harbinger of death (something to be feared), and associates it with death and dying, especially the more violent kind.
On the other hand, in many Native American Tribes and other cultures, the raven is revered as a symbol of the Shamanic experience of Life/Death and Rebirth to a higher state of consciousness, the ability to shift the shape of understanding and knowing, and even the ability to sometimes foretell the future. It often caws in a deep and rumbling voice. The caws sound like the Latin word cars, repeated over and over again. That Latin word means tomorrow.
Because of its intelligence the raven, on occasion, has been taught to speak. That, in turn, has altered the scavenger symbolism to one of the raven visiting the aftermath of battle to accompany and whisper to those valiant fallen, the directions to Valhalla.
Carl Jung saw the raven as a symbol of the shadow side of the human psyche and the darker parts of our personality. The parts we may have rejected, or would rather not know about. But Jung also thought that we might never find wholeness until we explore and get to know that aspect of our being. To do so, is once again, to raise the level of our consciousness, and also allows us to more readily know and accept others around us.
I told you the mythology and symbolism are rich and varied. So, how do I interpret the encounter we had with those two guardian guides? I see a bit of all of it in that one incident.
1. There were two ravens, one for each of us in that rented minivan. We were two very different individuals from very different backgrounds. She was younger than I by just over twenty years. Was an incest victim in need of a safe place, so I brought her home and she lived with myself and my two youngest daughters for almost ten years.
2. I had already created my own Personal Mythology, peopled with wild creatures that interacted with me, and represented pieces and parts of my own personality. In turn, that Mythology led us together, about a year and a half into our friendship, to discover that she suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder, now defined as DID: Dissociative Identity Disorder. It was the bond that allowed both of us to accept and trust one another in ways that were both new and constantly rich in growing knowledge for each of us.
3. Neither one of us had explored, in any depth, the shadow sides of our own psyches. When we did, it exploded the bond, and four years later, the friendship ended in deep personal pain (feeling much like death and loss) for both us and almost ten years of total silence between us.
4. Yes, the ravens showed us the way out of the place we were in, but the path they took us down was winding and led us through a very rocky hillside terrain before bringing us back to the Interstate.
5. A few years back, I answered the phone to hear a very familiar voice say, “Hey, Elizabeth, do you remember when we…” We have a long distance relationship now, but we never tire of the conversation, the memories, and the bond that outlived those ten years of utter silence.
All of which leads me to believe that we took part in all of the symbolism those two ravens had to offer.
Note: Both images came from the Internet.