Also known as CHULYEN, HEMASKAS, GUGUYNI, NANKIL'SLAS, KWEKWAXA'WE, KWEKWAXAWE, TXAMSEM, WE-GYET, YHEL
Infamous Creative Trickster God of North America
There is more to RAVEN than meets the eye. And how many of you have met the eye of a raven? He is known by many tribes under many names. Ravens have always been associated with Godliness. Few people know that the first bird out of NOAH's ark was a raven. It just didn't return. It didn't feel the need. ODIN relies on his two ravens to fly round the world every day and keep him informed. Edgar Allan Poe's raven shrieked 'Nevermore' but what that has to do with anything only Poe knows.
In the beginning, RAVEN
was first and foremost a Creator and Trickster God — especially of the Haida tribe, who claim he discovered the first humans hiding in a clam shell and brought them berries and salmon.
A bit of a tricky God himself, he's also the long-suffering victim of arch-rival in trickery, COYOTE. His brother LOGOBOLA is also a bit of a tricky customer, but, despite what you may have heard, absolutely no frogs are involved.
Stories about him abound. Here's one handed down by the Tsimshian tribe...
Once upon a time, the only light in the world was hoarded by a mean old Chief who was not disposed to share it. RAVEN, bored of fluttering around in the dark, decided this would not do. So he turned himself into a cedar leaf and sneakily fluttered into the chief's dwelling.
The Chief's daughter was sipping a drink and RAVEN fluttered into the cup as she raised it to her lips. Swallowing him down, she immediately became pregnant and gave birth. Which caused no end of confusion.
The baby had raven-black hair, dark glowing eyes, and was very temperamental. Whenever it was bored, it shrieked. The Chief, trying to be a doting grandpa, said: "Give the baby what it wants". So they gave the baby a bag of shining stars. It played merrily with these, until one day in gurgling excitement it threw them through the smoke hole in the ceiling and they scattered up into the sky.
Oh dear. The baby is bored again. It's bawling. It wants another bag. It's driving the household crazy. It must be pacified. So they give it a bag containing the Moon and soon the baby is happy again, bouncing the Moon all over the place. You'll never guess what happens next. Whoooosh! — up through the smoke hole goes the Moon. (Pause for gasp of astonishment from the audience).
Deprived of another toy, the baby becomes really disruptive. The Chief is tearing his hair out. The whole household is muttering. Find something, anything, to keep the baby quiet! The baby rejects all homemade playthings and points to the last bag. Uh-oh. They give it to the baby but with dire warnings. "Don't untie it because it contains Light — and that leaks like nobody's business."
Now you think you know what's going to happen. But you don't. What happened is that the baby turned back into RAVEN, cried "Ka very much" and flew through the smoke hole carrying the bag in his beak. He'd stolen the Sun.
RAVEN spread light throughout the world and so the Chief's daylight saving scheme came to an end. He was very disgruntled. His recorded comments contain very strong language in the Tsimshian dialect.
And that's the end of the story. But there's plenty more. Remind us to tell you the one about RAVEN and COYOTE. It's a corker.
Article last updated on 05 March 2013
Authors: Peter J Allen and Chas Saunders
References: Coming soon.
COPYRIGHT © 1999-2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Please mention Godchecker.com when praying to deities.
Godchecker's article on Raven is based on material from ancient texts, original references and our own research. We strive for accuracy and update regularly with new information. If you spot a mistake please contact us
and we'll try to fix it.
Suggested further reading...
ABOUT RAVEN : FACTS AND FIGURES
Name : RAVEN
Location : North America
Gender : Male
Type : Deity
Celebration or Feast Day : Unknown at present
Pronunciation : Coming soon
Alternative names : CHULYEN, HEMASKAS, GUGUYNI, NANKIL'SLAS, KWEKWAXA'WE, KWEKWAXAWE, TXAMSEM, WE-GYET, YHEL
Popularity index : 27053
Join the Godchecker mailing list
Stay in the loop with Godchecker updates. You can unsubscribe at any time.
We are often asked about merchandise. Can we supply the latest Raven graphic novel, book or comic? Not to mention role-playing games (RPG), video games, Raven movies on DVD, BluRay and so on. To purchase such goodies we suggest you search for a dedicated mythology-based online store - or try Amazon, Ebay or other reputable websites. We offer a wide range of our own merchandise in our online GodShop, but we don't currently sell third party items. Yet!
Visitors often email us asking about Raven statues, sculptures or carved figurines of Raven. We regret we cannot assist with identifying such items.
PRESS or MEDIA enquiries? Contact us here.
This site is copyright and all rights are reserved. If you wish to use our material in your essay, book, article or project, please consult our permissions information page
SUPPORT THE GODS.
Found this site useful? Consider donating a few pennies to the Godchecker Temple Roof Fund
The Gods told us to do it.