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Quoth the Raven: My Spirit Animal Comes Calling

June 22nd, 2019 by Michael Dyet

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,

“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,

Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—

Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”

            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

~ Edgar Alan Poe: The Raven

Hmmm, how strange that my spirit animal found me so close to home after all these years.

I was out for a lunchtime walk earlier this week. Being an avid birdwatcher, my eye caught activity high above. A large blackbird, which I originally took to be a Crow, was chasing and harassing a Red-tailed Hawk. This in itself is not unusual. Blackbirds often chase hawks as they are a threat to newly fledged birds.

But even from a distance I made out the distinctive crrruck crrruck crrruck call and realized it was in fact a Raven. Ravens are not generally found in urban areas, although in recent years they have been sighted more often.

I watched the scene play out for several minutes. It took on the appearance of an aerial dogfight with the Raven chasing and the hawk evading. Hawks have the ability to glide on wind thermals which gave the Red-tailed a distinct advantage.

A Raven would not actually attack a Red-tailed as the hawk is larger. But this Raven was determined to banish the hawk from its territory. As I observed the encounter, it seemed as though the hawk was enjoying the encounter – gracefully gliding and banking with apparent ease. The Raven eventually gave up the chase.

As I continued on my walk, I was surprised to hear the call of another Raven much closer. In the parking lot of the building where I work, another Raven – perhaps the mate of the one harassing the hawk – was perched on a light pole. Two Ravens in the same area raise the distinct possibility of a nest nearby.

These sightings brought to mind the famous Edgar Alan Poe poem The Raven which I quoted at the head of this post. I have always loved this classic poem both for its elegant use of language and the depth of symbolism.

Ravens have symbolic importance in many cultures. In Native America lore, the Raven is a creature of metamorphosis, symbolizes transformation and in some tribes is considered a trickster because of its transforming attributes.

Some cultures view the Raven as a spirit animal – a reflection of the universe’s mystical ways. When your life is full of raven symbolism, it signifies that you have a strong and mysterious force surrounding you.

I have never given thought until now to what my spirit animal would be. It seems obvious that it must be the Raven. I am the trickster, the weaver of metaphors, the mysterious one wandering from the nightly shore. Quoth the Raven “Nevermore”.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com.

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