(Corvus corax principalis (sanguis)) A new proving of the blood of a North American Raven
Greg Bedayn, RSHom (NA), Director Kim Baker, Co-Director
Jessica Jackson, LAc, extraction of themes, and rubric selection
This proving is dedicated to the loving memory of my mother, the late Barbara Bedayn, international ornithologist “par excellance.”
-editor, greg bedayn
Few creatures have been elevated to the status of Deity by the human race as has been Raven, whose profound and seemingly divine influence has encircled the globe since the beginnings of time. Considered by ornithologists to be the most intelligent of all birds, Raven’s mischievous exploits are prolific, even legendary. The Bella bella, Kwakiutl, Tlingit, Haida, and Tishman Indian tribes, of the Pacific Northwest coast (to name a few) have countless legends about Raven on subjects from his being responsible for creating the world, to many, many accounts of Raven’s behavior involving every aspect of tribal life. Raven was, for the North American Indian, after all, a God-like creature, and their ancient folklore reflects a rich devotion both to Raven’s colorful personality and to its idiosyncratic behavior.
The Legend of Bran and why the United Kingdom believes that Ravens have successfully protected the entire British empire from attack and devastation for over one-thousand years (as related to me in a telephone conversation with the Queen of England’s own Ravenmaster; a Mr. Cope, on March 14, 1996):
Well, it all started with the legend of Bran. You see, Bran was a Celtic leader who was mortally wounded while fighting the Irish. His men brought him back to Wales where he died in his wife’s arms, Branwyn (for “White Raven” in Welsh) was her name. She soon died of grief. Bran’s followers carried his body to London and buried him on White Hill where White Tower and the Tower of London now stand. He was buried facing the channel towards France. A soothsayer warned the king that as long as Bran lay undisturbed, all would be well with England, but a disaster would strike if ever he was moved (During the ensuing decades, he was repeatedly moved.) Around 1078 the Norman’s invaded and built the White Tower (the oldest of British Royal Palaces, inhabited from 1078 to 1605), over Bran’s burial spot and he has there lain undisturbed in peace ever since, as has the Crown of England. There was rumored to have been a white raven in the flock of ravens that lived atop the tower, that was the reincarnation of Bran’s faithful wife Branwyn, come back to look over him and the sanctity of the British empire.
This tale was related carefully to Charles the second, at the time of his coronation in 1661. When he visited the Tower to see how the preparations for his coronation were coming along, he asked the newly appointed Astronomer- Royal what he was doing around the White Tower. “Getting rid of all the birds around the Tower, Sir, as they are interfering with my star gazing,” replied the astronomer. “Stop at once,” ordered Charles, keeping heed to the grave warning in the legend of Bran. Ever since and to this day, by royal command, six ravens are kept at all times at the Tower of London to “keep an eye on things.” Interesting to note that shortly after his admonishment of the astrologer, and his granting the royal reprieve for Ravens, Charles was attacked by the nefarious Oliver Cromwell. It is said the ravens flew in advance of the raid and warned Charles’ guards in time for them to successfully fight off the attack.
Tower of London’s current raven personalities: “Rhys” lays on his back and juggles cups and sticks. “Hardy” will bark like a dog suddenly in a group of people and seems to be predictably entertained by their alarmed retreat. Currently all of the male Ravens are fighting amongst themselves, vying for mates.
Ravens, Crows, Magpies, and Jays Author, Tony Angell writes:
Many Indian tribes had special names for Raven, including “Real Chief (Haida) and “Great inventor” and “One whose Voice is to be obeyed” (by the Bella Coola). The Kwakiutl offered the afterbirth of a male newborn to ravens to peck so that when the child was grown to manhood he would understand their cries. The interpreter could respond to nearly a dozen raven vocalizations that would tell him of a change in weather, the possibilities of attack from enemies, warriors, an imminent death, or what the hunting prospects would be (Boas 1913-14). Additionally, the Norse God, Odin, sent a pair of Ravens out at dawn to fly worldwide, and they returned at noon to perch on his shoulders and whisper in his ears the secrets they had learned. Other Norse God’s heeded Ravens advice and Viking soldiers followed his banners into battle. Biblical writers described God-sent ravens sustaining the prophet Elijah during his retreat to the desert, and the poet Poe employed the bird as a creative focus for his (tubercularmiasm) inspired mad-lament. These are our North American Corvids. To some they may be the apotheosis of Avian form and a spirit worth of the highest artistic tribute. Others consider them competitors, more to be destroyed than admired. It’s hard to imagine that anyone professing sensitivity would not recognize these birds as a most remarkable consolidation of highly evolved animal social systems, physical apparatus, skills, and beauty. They also demonstrate directly that often the elusive capability to sustain healthy populations within the carrying capacities of their chosen environments. To some degree, perhaps greater than most of us would admit, we find this intelligent family of birds not too unlike ourselves. Their foibles are our own. They squabble within their families and wage battle with those clans that would impinge upon their home ground. Their lives involve a struggle for identity in their social hierarchy and survival in the biologic community of their choosing. Like us, they seem to have fleeting moments of joy when the mate is won, the game is played, the belly is full, and the sun shines on our backs. There is also that intriguing element about corvids that is of the unknown. These birds are more than descriptions by weight, measure, color and distribution, for behind their amber eyes are answers to questions we may never learn to ask.
I have had a life-long fascination with Raven, and once, having taken months to nurse a young road-accident victim, “Juaquin,” back to airborne-health in the1980’s, when I lived on Puget Sound’s Salmon Beach, I developed a firsthand knowledge and appreciation of this creature of globalfascination and lore. It was during Lou Klein’s Master Clinician course in Berkeley in 1996, that I first decided to organize, then direct, a proving on Raven’s blood (Corvus corax principalis sanguis). On March 17, 1996 I asked my friend and colleague, Kim Baker, to assist me in the proving. The proving went well and the final provers’ meeting, weeks later, in my office at The Center for International Medicine, became more and more fascinating. As the evening wore on, mischievous-Raven finally revealed itself in its it’s medicinal form.
I remember how the eight provers, one-by-one, got into the “hot-seat” and reported their individual experiences to the assembled throng, and how most reported what became a similarly-hilarious experience for all. Each prover basically told his/her story of how their appetites had GREATLY increased during the proving-one prover had even developed the habit of standing in front of his open refrigerator, methodically eating his way through it’s contents, unable to stop until the last kernel of leftover rice casserole (etc.) was gone. It wasn’t actually funny until about the second or third prover confirmed that same symptom and the proversgroup howled with laughter over the peculiar similarity- and then the next prover confirmed it again, and so on. The next day I was driving into Berkeley, deep in thought over what the similarity of increased appetites could mean, when I suddenly realized the rubric was ravenous appetite and I nearly drove off the road when I just as suddenly realized the source of the word: ravenous! I later decided I was too close to the remedy-source to be fully objective during the extraction process so I asked my colleague and fellowgraduate from the Hahnemann College of Homeopathy, Jessica Jackson, to develop the theme and rubric-extraction sections. An objective extraction is a difficult thing to be performed by any account. I feel the high quality of Jessica’s work speaks for itself.
Jessica Jackson writes:
While doing the extraction on Raven’s blood, I realized this was not a simple remedy. There’s a complexity and intensity to it that I am in awe of. Spending time at the Grand Canyon over the holidays with my boyfriend, we saw many, many ravens there. Now their countenance and manners are indelible with me.
These quotes were my guiding lights during the Raven proving:
“Each individual symptom must be considered. Every symptom must be examined to see what relation it sustains to and what position it fills in the totality in order that we may know its value, whether it is a common symptom, a particular symptom, or whether peculiarly a characteristic symptom.”
-J. T. Kent
“When a person presents a peculiar symptom, a dream, a modality, or an experience, clearly, intensely and spontaneously:
-find it directly in the materia medica or repertory.
-see the feeling it creates and connect it with the overall case.
-it is directly connected to the source of the remedy. Any marked thing can be understood in this way.”
-Dr. Rajan Sankaran
This special albino Raven was hatched in the spring of 1996 at Port Clements in western Canada’s Queen Charlotte Islands, to black raven parents. It was the only baby in the nest. Human companionship and feeding seemed important to “Lucy” and her survival.
Lucy’s habit of frequent highway-walking caused “White Raven Crossing” signs to be erected on both sides of the town. It seems that crows used him as a meal-ticket and were with him when he flew into a transformer on November 30, 1997. He died instantly.
The Haida peoples tell us that in the beginning all ravens were white. Lucy was very tame and gave islanders and visitors much pleasure!
Raven themes and chronology
Corvus corax principalis, A Proving of Raven’s Blood (30c Quinn)
Extraction by Jessica Jackson, LAc
(Corvus corax principalis (sanguis)) A new proving of the blood of a North American Raven