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Raven by Jessica Sanchez Originally published in Druids Progress 11 As Samhain draws near we must explore the dark side of the season Commonly known as Halloween this is the time when the souls of the dead roam the earth and bring mischief and death to the living As with most holidays symbolism plays a big role in celebrating the season One animal that plays a role in representing Samhain is the raven In most cultures the raven is represented as the messenger of death There are a few cultures however where the raven is seen as the Creator of the Earth and man in these cultures it is respected and considered to be sacred The Vikings thought of the raven as a bird of war because of its raucous cawing and its feeding on the bodies of the slain It is also said however that Odin the father of the gods kept a pair of ravens Hugin thought and Munin memory perched on his shoulders At dawn the ravens were released to explore the earth and return at night to whisper the secrets they had discovered into Odins ear In Alaska the Koyukon see the raven as the Creator of the Earth moon stars people and sun Oral history relates that the raven first made people from rocks but they proved to be too strong so the raven destroyed the people and recreated them with sand instead The Koyukon also described the raven as a trickster They say that the raven put mosquitoes on the earth to plague the people because at the time their way of life had no difficulties They also say that water once flowed in two directions at the same time but again the raven believed that it made life too easy for people so he made the water flow only downstream Because of these beliefs the Koyukon consider the raven
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