In the beginning there was no fire, and the world was cold, until the Thunders (Ani’-Hyûñ’tïkwälâ’skï), who lived up in Gälûñ’lätï, sent their lightning and put fire into the bottom of a hollow sycamore tree which grew on an island. The animals knew it was there, because they could see the smoke coming out at the top, but they could not get to it on account of the water, so they held a council to decide what to do. This was a long time ago.
The raven, the largest bird in the Crow family, also carries the largest brain in the bird world. It has captured the imagination of all cultures in all times and has become an integral part of folklore. Perhaps it’s the raven’s eyes—so human looking, so inquisitive, so devious. Perhaps it is the raven’s association with carcasses and death that contributes to the fear and often revulsion we have for them. Perhaps it is the cleverness of this highly intelligent creature. It is hard to rate the intelligence of non-linqual creatures. But those who have studied Corvids place them at the top of the bird world, on a par with coyotes and wolves, and many other intelligent mammals.
It seems that in ancient cultures and all around the world, the raven has played an important role in their lore. It is the largest of the Crow family and has the largest brain of any bird. It is renown for its cunning and problem-solving ability. In this series, I want to explore this amazing bird and the place it holds in cultures.