Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Raven: Healing and Initiation

Recently, I have been having several dreams featuring ravens. This painting represents an image from one of those dreams. This was one of the only images that I could paint as a representational image as the rest of the dreams are very abstract. I am working on attempting a painting exploring the more abstract dream imagery.

After doing research into Raven mythology, I found I had gathered enough information to create a lifetime of paintings! There are so many wonderful stories from many many cultures dealing with the Raven. You can be sure that you will be seeing much more of the Raven from me in the future. In the meantime, here is a description of just the small bit of info that I have worked into this painting.

The Raven symbolizes the dark and difficult aspects of life, which is a part of life we often misunderstand and rarely effectively deal with. The dark aspects are not bad or evil, as it is necessary to go through a process of darkness in order to emerge in the light. Dark comes before light, healing is preceded by illness, the storm eventually transforms to calm and so on. The Raven reminds us of the need for this balance, and that without accepting the full integration of the cycle of dark and light, we cannot truly heal.

The Raven is also a messenger between two worlds: the living world and the twilit Otherworld or spirit world. By connecting these two worlds, the Raven initiates us into a new way of being. The Raven travels from this world to the next; accessing the darkest regions bringing back visions and instructions for the seeker and the healer. Often, before advancing in any spiritual growth, one must sacrifice or let go of old ways of being. The Raven gives us insight into what old patterns must die in order to make way for the new.

In this painting, the Raven flies at twilight, the time when the veil between the two worlds is at its thinnest. It flies over an ancient megalithic mound, where one can access the Otherworld. I didn't paint the Raven feathers simply black, but are actually made of layers of blues, violets and greens. I did this to symbolize that all possibilities exist within the void of darkness, just waiting to emerge. In Eastern and Celtic traditions the Raven is a solar symbol. In my dream the Raven flew beneath a full moon, which I have interpreted here as the night sun, illuminating the landscape. But, traces of the setting sun are still visible in the horizon and limning the edge of the mound and distant trees and hills.

I am by no means and authority on the Raven mythos. Feel free to interpret your own meanings, and, please share them here if you like. It is always fascinating to hear how others interpret such powerful archetypes.


(The Raven: Healing and Initiation, 5 x 7", ink on textured clayboard)


Stacy Alexander said...

Your painting is incredible.

I, too, have been having raven dreams...only my ravens have been white.

Go figure!


Antony Galbraith said...

Thank you very much for the nice compliment Stacy!

Actually, it is interesting you mention white ravens. I am working on a painting now representing Eriu, goddess of Ireland, who could transform into a white crow or raven.

I wonder, have you noticed any of the Emerald Isle in your dreams? :)

Pet said...

Yay! I have been waiting for this one!

Just breathtaking. I took the mound to be a peat house before I read the description.


Anonymous said...

You've captured the power and wide vision of raven on paper! Nice work, beautiful potent energy. I also like the technique.

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