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Ravensong: A Natural And Fabulous History Of…

Ravensong: A Natural And Fabulous History Of Ravens And Crows (edition 2005)

by Catharine Feher-Elston

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901134,128 (3.5)1
Title:Ravensong: A Natural And Fabulous History Of Ravens And Crows
Authors:Catharine Feher-Elston
Info:Tarcher (2005), Paperback, 224 pages
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Ravensong: A Natural And Fabulous History Of Ravens And Crows by Catharine Feher-Elston



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I was a little nervous after I started reading the introduction because I was worried that it was going to turn into a bunch of New Age corvid worship spiritualism. The book, the introduction said, was the first in a series of books on totem animals.

Fortunately, Ravensong turned out to be a pretty good read for someone like myself who is interested in corvids and wants to know a little more about some of the cultural aspects of crows and ravens. The format of the book: covering myth, science, and culture; was well separated, and I appreciated that there was hard science in the book, not just an anthropomorphism of birds.

I thought that the myth section was a little bit too Native American centric, and I would have liked to have seen some more myth and culture from around the world. There is a point made in the book that corvids are found on every continent and in nearly every climate zone in the world; they are almost as adaptable as humans. But, even with such ubiquity, the book only covers feelings about corvids in North America. I guess the author says that it is about "totem" animals, but I typically take that term generally... maybe it is my own fault... I think that the myth section, at least, would have been better rounded with a myth story of Odin's "Thought" and "Memory." Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven really only gets mention because the author says that she would be remiss not to mention it.

Overall, though, a good read. It is thoughtful and insightful, and the scientific information is taken almost directly from Lawrence Kilham's work The American Crow and Common Raven, which is a great source for corvid behavior.
  grady.cameron | Mar 9, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0873585275, Paperback)

From the raven's role as trickster in Native American religion to its capacity to captivate ornithologists and biologists, the raven is an archetype in myth, dream, song, and ritual.

In this beautifully illustrated study, Catherine Feher-Elston looks at ravens and crows in the contexts of Native American folklore, history, and science. Through interviews with Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest and other native peoples, and drawing on the most recent ornithological research, Feher-Elston offers a well-rounded consideration of this enigmatic species, bringing to light its roles as messenger, symbol, harbinger, and totem.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:23 -0400)

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