Monday, October 09, 2006


They slept until the black raven,
the blithe hearted
proclaimed the joy of heaven
- Beowulf

This is the painting I have been working on and it is called Riot.

Ravens have flown into my mind recently and taken up residence. I keep seeing their iridescent black forms soaring into my paintings and imagination. They are landing in my life as well. There are three that have moved into my back yard to feast on the worms in our new flower beads.

Ravens have a unique ability to capture our imaginations as is evidenced by their appearance in so many folk tales, mythology and stories. In the hopes of understanding their presence in my life I decided to do a little research into their lives, symbology and folklore. Here is some of what I learned:

About their lives
Ravens enjoy playful flight patterns, such as soaring, tumbling and rolling. Their longer wings make them quite agile aerial acrobats. I thought this was interesting as I generally think of them as serious and even ominous. I was glad to learn that they are playful and intelligent. They are “tool makers” (bending wire into the shape of a hook to assist in retrieving food) proving an advanced intelligence. A wild raven can live more than thirty years, I was shocked that they can live that long!

About their folklore
In Native American tradition, Raven is the guardian of both ceremonial magic and healing circles. I thought this was serendipitous as I will be involved in healing circles next month. I hope the Raven spirit sticks around for them. ☺

According to the book Medicine Cards (which accompanies a beautiful tarot-like deck of animal cards), Raven's medicine is magic. She is the great mystery of the Void, the place where all that which is not yet formed resides. The book says that you will fear Raven only if you need learn about your inner fears or self-created demons, uh-hemm. It also says that if Raven appears to you, you are about to experience a change in consciousness. That magic is in the air and I am not to try to understand it, the power of the unknown is at work and something special is about to happen. It is up to me to recognize it when it comes and make the most of the opportunity.

In many cultures Raven represents deep magic, the mystery of the unknown, death and transformation, creation, healing, wisdom, protection, and prophecy.

I am ready to spend a little time with Raven’s spirit. I welcome her into my mind and will enjoy her company for as long as she decides to fly with me.


Blogger Deborah said...

Wow - this painting is so powerful. I love the ravens and the way you painted the background, and just shaded the figure.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

oh my god, L, this painting is amazing - i can't stop staring at it! i can't wait to see the finished version..... i have those Medicine Cards too. here's hoping the ravens keep circling in November, bringing their magic :-) x

2:38 AM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

first of all, this painting is absolutely fabulous...truly it is...i think the wild heart in every woman will immediately recognize themself in it

i think raven is a great companion spirit for you right now since you are moving into so many places that haven't formed yet...she's there to love you and help you...

...and, i'm ready to sit under their circling shadows...

11:24 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

So funny that you should talk about raven, and these medicine cards. Myself and Sue were using them a few weeks back and this was one of the key cards in my reading. Raven is an interesting fellow... And wow, your painting is mind blowing Letha. I am seriously impressed and would love to see more! You are a seriously talented lady.... Thank you, Natalie

2:12 PM  
Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

i could have a whole wall of these paintings. i would sit and stare and imagine ravens flying all around me.

your talents are beyond amazing. i love seeing you birth new styles of expressing yourself through your oil paints.

keep doing...

love you.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Goddess of Leonie said...

I've been wondering when the day would come that I would connect with you Letha. :) I found you through Deni's website, and have been watching your art on and off for a few months.

I too listen to the medicine of animals. I have been travelling with the buffalos for over a year now, but have been feeling like another animal may be calling me the last few weeks: the raven.

I have wondered what lessons it is here to teach, and here you are sharing of your hearing of them.

Bless you medicine woman on your walk,
love and light,

5:55 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

I love ravens, and Riot is absolutely gorgeous.

10:37 PM  
Blogger b/sistersshoes said...

This is nothing like I is sooooo much better

just beautiful Letha


7:54 PM  
Blogger megg said...

what an incredible painting - wow.

I have another bit of Raven lore for you. There are Ravens at the Tower of London in England. There have ALWAYS been Ravens there. They have a raven graveyard with their names and everything. The legend is that when the Ravens leave the Tower, England will fall. Magic.

P.S. I have those cards (but they are in Canada) I LOVE THEM.

12:05 PM  
Blogger liz elayne said...

goodness my friend. this is gorgeous. i love the visible wood. i recognize you will probably paint over it but there is something about thinking about this woman as part of the wood in this way, it is as though the birds see her as part of nature this way...hmmm...

i love the idea of these ravens...i want to hear more.

perhaps they are your spirit animal?

11:03 PM  
Blogger Neers said...

i love the art here...!!

6:16 AM  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

Oh this reminds me of an old fashion mag - it is so elegant and wonderful. You are so talented.

The ravens are speaking to you-they arrive with the change you speak of in the next post.

I have had some flying messages myself lately:)

I truly love your work and can't wait to see it in person.

Love to you

7:53 PM  
Blogger maureen said...

I love that painting of the ravens and young woman. And that you have let Raven into your inner life. I have lived with Raven as my guide for most of my 50+ years ... she will teach you many lessons if you stay open to her presence. Lessons both welcome and painful .... humorous and serious. I'm glad to have come back to read more of your blog .. it's familiar because I stumbled across your writing a few months back, but haven't been spending much time reading other people's blogs lately. I found you again through Liz in Seattle. Glad I did!
Maureen (MontanaRaven on flickr)

10:07 AM  
Blogger pinkcoyote said...

letha, i have heard boho mention you in her blog many times, but somehow i have managed to me missing out on wonderful YOU! so glad i stopped by. your painting is breathtaking and i want to see more more of your work-now now. grateful for you on my screen today! xoxo

9:12 AM  

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