Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Raven

She saw the large, black bird perched on the arm of the streetlight every morning on her way to work. In the evening, the bird might be there or on a branch of a nearby tree.

“It’s a raven,” she told her friend Emile. “He’s watching me, I can feel his energy.”

“Are you afraid? Because if you are, I can come with you, make him go away.”

Shocked, Mandy gasped. “No, oh never. Can’t you see? He’s my guardian, the visible representation of one of my spirit animals.”

Emile rolled his eyes. “Not the spirit animal thing again. Mandy, you are in charge and there’s no spiritual anything guarding, aiding, directing – nothing.”

Mandy disliked the way Emile wouldn’t even consider what she’d experienced since spending a weekend with a Shaman three weeks ago. It was a group event that included individual interactions. The Shaman had taken her on a spiritual journey to discover her spirit guides. She came home knowing Raven and Wolf were with her, providing clear directions, support and more. But this was her first visible encounter, a sign that Raven was present.

She began interacting with the Raven, first she just lifted her head and smiled, but then she softly called out, “Hello.” A week later, she brought some nuts and cut-up fruit, which she carefully arranged near the base of the lamp. She’d hurried on, but stopped at the sound of the Raven, cawing loudly. When she turned to look back, her Raven remained on the lamppost while others had flown in, gathered near the food she’d left.

After that, she brought food daily and the Raven sometimes followed her home at night. One morning, Raven wasn’t in his usual spots and she grew concerned. She hoped Emile hadn’t done something foolish. A scraping sound caused her to turn, bringing her face-to-face with a hooded man holding a knife.

She screamed. So did the hooded man because at that very moment, a flock of Ravens landed on him, pecking and grabbing at his arms, the hood of his jacket. He swung his arms wildly, dropping the knife and attempting to escape. Though a few Ravens stayed near him for at least a block as he ran off, others gathered around Mandy, some on the ground, a few in the nearby trees. One walked right up to Mandy, stopping at the tips of her shoes.

She smiled, pulled out her bag of nuts and fruits and meat and spoke to her Raven. “Thank you so much.”

Squatting down to lay out the assortment of food items, she carefully reached a hand toward her Raven. He nuzzled her fingers with his beak, let her run her hand over the top of his head and down his back. Then he sounded a loud “CAW,” picked up a nut and flew to his streetlight perch.

His call must have announced the all clear because the other Ravens flew down to grab the food, all being very careful around Mandy. She smiled, said good-bye and thank you to all of them, then headed into work, humming a new song.
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TODAY's Poem --


Sleek black feathers,
sturdy beak, an aerial acrobat,
your wisdom, creativity
project a deep connection
to the ways of life.

Raven, my raven,
guiding light for my path,
no song I sing
could ever match
the beauty of your ways.

I heard his call this morn,
from branches far above;
the sweet, gentle melody
encouraged me to stop,
rest beneath the boughs.

Came to me just then
how confused my life
had been, lost in tangles
of too many lines set
to catch my bounty
of opportunities.

Raven, my raven,
guiding light for my path,
no song I sing
could ever match
the beauty of your ways.

His call, more raucous now,
led me to locate his perch.
When our eyes met,
he flew into the sky, soared
like a hawk, his aerobatics
a delight.

As he flew back toward me,
a vision filled my mind,
and I knew the steps
I would take
to nurture my dreams.

Raven, my raven,
guiding light for my path,
no song I sing
could ever match
the beauty of your ways.

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