Raven enjoys a wide variety of habitats from the far northern icepacks, to the shimmering dunes of the Sahara and the forbidding peaks of the Himalayas. It can imitate and mimic many different sounds, including the human voice. Solitary, raven looks like a crow – in flight like a buzzard – soars like an eagle – eats carrion like a vulture – strides and thinks like a human. Raven is totem to Allfather, the Norse god Odin; to the Greek gods Apollo, God of Healing, Athene, Goddess of Wisdom and Hekate Goddess of the Unconscious; to Shekinah, the Hebrew Goddess of the Hearth; and to the Morrigan, the Irish chooser of the slain. Raven is a trickster like Fox and a messenger like Wolf. To the Amerindians of the Pacific North Coast, Raven is demiurge; like Prometheus, a bringer of fire – the fire of the soaring intellect and the creative genius.
Raven is an archetype of many aspects and many faces – it is a shapeshifter – an archetype for all seasons and of great shamanic power – a walker-between-worlds – commanding the divide between the conscious and unconscious minds – the interface where the conflict between expression and repression is waged in the human psyche.
To have Raven Knowledge is an Irish proverb meaning – to see all and to know all – to observe, to perceive and to unravel matters beyond the comprehension of the ordinary mind. The Raven archetype will often be recognised in singularly gifted figures who bring ‘special gifts from the gods’ to humanity in the form of wisdom, knowledge, literature, art, music and creative craftmanship.
As apex Avian archetype, Raven presides over all diasporas, as it did those of the Jewish and Irish tribes. In this new work, David Lilley traces the lives of two outstanding sons of these gifted peoples: Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Rebbe, and Edgar Allan Poe, the Irish American genius of Gothic literature.