Recalling the Ravens in Vancouver and in Pacific Northwest Mythology

I must admit that crows are not my favorite backyard birds. They tend to hog the birdbath and their call is not melodious, and yet, something about crows intrigues me. Ravens intrigue me even more. I recently traveled to Vancouver BC, and before I left The US, I determined that I wanted to watch the ravens in their natural habitat. I also wanted to see the ways that the indigenous people of Canada have depicted them in their art, and before I left the states for Canada, I knew that when I returned from my trip, I would paint a raven.

Raven: Shadow from Vancouver – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

I love the raven’s blue-black coloring, and I love its night-like mysteriousness. For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed being in partially illuminated places. I prefer the ambiance of a lamp’s light to that of a bright overhead light, and one of my very favorite places to be is in front of a flickering, low-light campfire.  For some reason, I associate ravens and crows with that quality of partial and mystifying illumination, and I believe that others feel the same way.

There are several groups of native peoples around Vancouver and the raven myths vary, according to the various cultures. Many legends, however, associate the raven with darkness and how the mythic bird conquered darkness by bringing light to the world.

“One famous legend is the trickster Raven, who steals the sun from Sky Chief and brings the sun, moon and stars to humans.” See More Here


While I was in Vancouver, I visited Stanley Park, and I saw the above raven carving on one of the totem poles.

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