raven

General - A black bird, somewhat larger than. A crow. This bird appears in the mythologies of various cultures. (1) In Arthurian lore, ravens are the birds of Owain and the birds that fought with warriors in the story of Rhonabwy's dream were ravens. In some versions, it is said that King Arthur's soul resides in this bird but others substitute the chough or the puffin. (2) A popular belief is that Britain will never be invaded while ravens continue to exist at the Tower of London. (3) In China, a three-legged raven is said to live on the moon. (4) To the Greeks, the raven was the messenger of Aesculapius, Apollo, Athena and Cronos and it was said that it was originally white or silver but was turned black by Apollo when it brought the news (5) In Hindu stories, the raven is an incarnation of Brahma. (6) In Irish lore, the goddess of war, Morrigan, often appeared in the form of a raven. (7) The Japanese regard the raven as the messenger of the goddess Amaterasu. (8) Norse mythology has ravens as the birds of Odin, Hugin and Munin, which brought him news of the outside world. Also called raven.

Raven

North American - Servant of the supreme god of the heavens, Sha-Lana. Creator-god and trickster-god of the Haida Indians. He caused the earth to rise from the primaeval ocean, or after the flood, by flapping his wings, made humans from shells and stole fire from the heavens for their use. Some say that he made men from models carved from wood and women from clay. In one story he was the grandson of a fisherman and persuaded the old man to let him play with the moon which he kept in ten boxes, nested one inside another. When he got it, he threw it into its present position in the sky. Another version of this tale says that Raven turned himself into a leaf which was swallowed by the daughter of a chief when she drank. She became pregnant and Raven was re-born with black skin and fiery eyes. To stop him crying, the chief gave him a bag of stars which the child threw into the sky and finally he was given the box in which the chief kept light. Raven then resumed his former shape and flew off, placing the light in the sky in the form of the sun. The Algonquians say that the bird was originally white. It was the only being who knew the whereabouts of Chibiabos, who had been captured by the Underwater Panthers and Manabazho, the brother of the missing man, held the bird over the fire to make him tell the truth with the result that its feathers were black thereafter. Also called Raven.
North American - A creator-spirit of the Tlingit: a light-god. He was created, with Heron, by the deity Nascakiyetl or, some say, was born to this deity's daughter when, on the advice of Heron, she swallowed a pebble. Others say that he was the son of Kitkaositiyika. His first act was to steal the stars and planets from Nascakityetl, who kept them in a box, after which he made the winds and the tribes, stole water from Petrel to irrigate the barren land and caused the tides to rise and fall. He then gave the people fire and, releasing the sun from the box, placed it in the sky. Having introduced the arts of fishing and hunting and propped the earth up with the leg of a beaver, he returned whence he came. Sometimes known as Raven.

Nearby Myths