An elegant reissue of a timeless collection of Haida myths, with a new preface by Claude Levi-Strauss. Ten masterful, complex drawings by Bill Reid are accompanied by ten episodes from Haida mythology told by Bill Reid and Robert Bringhurst. The result brings Haida art and mythology alive as never before in an English-speaking world. The collection includes, says Reid, "a good selection of bestiality, adultery, violence, thievery and assault, for those who like that sort of thing."
Raven is a "trickster god." These deities are found throughout the world. They represent chaos, a concept that does not translate well to Christian theology. It is not, as some theologians would have it, equivalent to evil. Instead, it simply represents the state of the universe before the creator god organized it. Tricksters are often extremely naive in the way they approach "life." They are usually easily defeated by other characters in the believers' mythos, and often seen as objects of ridicule and humor. It is likely that the concept of the Christian devil began as a trickster before the emphasis on the sufferings of Jesus on behalf of humanity became an important part of the religion. Loki, in Norse mythology, is a trickster, as is Coyote in the Apache mythos.
The back cover of this book further explains:
"The ten delightful Native American stories ... retellings of Haida myths and folktales. They ranger from bawdy tales of how the firt Haida were brought to the Queen Charlotte Islands, to poignant narratives of the complexities of love in a world where animals speak, dreams come alive, and demigods, monsters, and people live side by side.
Have fun reading this book. And remember that chaos is always only a sneeze away.