During my latest day-dream I jumped with great joy in the basket of a hot-air balloon covered with blue-white stripes, put on the fire under the balloon and very quickly blasted off from mother earth like a lift in a skyscraper. The far-away landscape under me now looked smaller and stranger like an impressionist picture, and the wind really thought that my hot-air balloon must be some kind of post-modern freshly invented cloud system. After some minutes a swarm of hooded crows followed my balloon because it was late afternoon, and they were returning back to their sleeping location. One of these birds approached me and finally landed on the basket of my balloon, and it appeared that we would already know each other from another occasion. So the crow then began talking to me emphatically in ravish language without much success. Finally and with great gesture the crow pointed the head and beak down to earth as a clear indication to land there near a little wood named by everybody as raven’s domain.
Mayoreak Ashoona, Raven’s Domain, Stonecut, Nunavut, 1995 (1) (2)
The land of the Inuit is called Nunavut and is written in Inuit like this ᓄᓇᕗᑦ – this means simply our home-land which stretches over a big arctic territory in the North of Canada. In the old Inuit mythology the raven was seen as creator of the entire world and all living beings with beats of his wings. He also had the power of both a man and a bird, and could change easily from one to the other simply by pulling his beak over his head as one lifts a mask. It is also interesting that the first human being was born from a pea-pod plant, because the raven also filled the land with growing pea-pod plants, and when after some time one of the pea-pods burst open, out popped a fully grown human being, the first to walk around raven’s earth.
I bought the above nice artwork made by Mayoreak Ashoona at the gift shop of the Museum of Inuit Art situated in Toronto, Canada, via the global internet, and this is really quite practical today. Creating such stonecut printings means a contemporary expression of Inuit culture and vision starting in the 50s of the 20th century in order to make some money while facing a difficult economic situation after the tribal nomadic Inuit life was destroyed by white hunters, adventurers, priests, missionaries and government authorities of Canada. Traditionally such visual art and symbolism was part of daily life on clothes and textiles handmade by Inuit women while the men were often longtime out of home for hunting. Our actual world would be very poor without such kind of originary viewing of man and nature.
Root network of an old tree in forest soil
At around 500 A.C. Christian missionaries came also to my country of the Germans, a term invented by the Romans nearly a 2000 years ago and which is only badly describing a region of diverse native cultures and autonomous living tribes. At 785 A.C. the emperor Charlemagne, King of the Franks, finalized this Christian mission here in the middle of Europe in form of a fierce crusade with deadly violence, fire and sword against all those who resisted to follow the Christian view of the world and philosophy. But some native relicts from ancient times could survive till today, such as for instance the Eastern habit to make big fires or the mythological rabbit bringing nice coloured eggs for the children and families during Eastern sunday’s morning.
Now spring has begun not only in the arctic region with days becoming longer, breaking ice and birds coming back from their winter domiciles in warmer regions. Only the raven is usually no migrant at all and stays at its traditional location also in the cold and icy winter season here on the northern part of the globe. The raven is normally demonized nowadays in the Western world, only on the island of Iceland the old North-European mythological view of honouring the raven is still present – a highly intelligent, sometimes provoking and spiritual messenger cruising in the air and loafing around in the cosy neighbourhood of men whenever appropriate.
A lot of stories are existing about the raven all over the world, but one of these is truly astonishing as either the Babylonian and as well the Wiking sailors used the rabbit as a guide to find their difficult cruising course on the ocean – the widely unknown raven’s domain, but this is another story.
(1) Published with kind authorization of Dorset Fine Arts, Nunavut, Canada
(2) Artist info: http://dorsetfinearts.com/images/downloads/artist/mayoreak_ashoona.pdf
© transmutation.me (2015)