As I continue on my journey, of spiritual awakening, I encounter many signs, portents, omens, and many beings along the way to help and hinder me. For instance, I just left Lindsay Sharp, one of my gurus, who is teaching me about meditation and yoga, both ancient and modern. She also introduced me to a shamaness named Irene, and I’ve begun shamanic training with her. So far I’ve determined that my current spirit guide is the raven, though that is something I’ve known for a while. In my mind the raven is connected with my cousin, William J. Craddock, a brilliant author, as well as Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote a famous poem entitled “The Raven,” and finally, Carlos Castaneda who took on the form of a raven during his shamanic training with the Yacqui Indian Don Juan.
Three authors, all connected to the raven. The raven represents a messenger, and also a magician. The raven can also be a trickster, and as Lindsay remarked, often will find shiny objects and present them to a person. Carlos Castaneda was a trickster for sure, as he ‘lost’ his field notes, and perhaps Don Juan never really existed. I read a book recently by Amy Wallace called Sorcerer’s Apprentice, about her time spent as an acolyte of Carlos. She couldn’t verify the truth of some of his assertions; nevertheless, she felt he had a lot to teach.
Furthermore, I’m now reading Kafka by the Shore, by Haruki Murakami, and the main character has an imaginary friend, the boy named Crow. Now, crows are not the same as ravens, as Irene explained to me — but still it is one more shiny object of synchronicity to present.
Saint Francis used to preach sermons to the birds and animals, and another friend of mine recently wrote a manifesto that he compared to a prayer of St. Francis. That prayer may or may not be actually written by St. Francis, but it is certain that he wrote this prayer, called Canticle of the Sun:
Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honour,
and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendour!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars, in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.
Original text in Umbrian dialect:
Altissimu, omnipotente bon Signore,
Tue so le laude, la gloria e l’honore et onne benedictione.
Ad Te solo, Altissimo, se konfano,
et nullu homo ène dignu te mentouare.
Laudato sie, mi Signore cum tucte le Tue creature,
spetialmente messor lo frate Sole,
lo qual è iorno, et allumini noi per lui.
Et ellu è bellu e radiante cum grande splendore:
de Te, Altissimo, porta significatione.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per sora Luna e le stelle:
in celu l’ài formate clarite et pretiose et belle.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per frate Uento
et per aere et nubilo et sereno et onne tempo,
per lo quale, a le Tue creature dài sustentamento.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per sor’Acqua,
la quale è multo utile et humile et pretiosa et casta.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per frate Focu,
per lo quale ennallumini la nocte:
ed ello è bello et iucundo et robustoso et forte.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per sora nostra matre Terra,
la quale ne sustenta et gouerna,
et produce diuersi fructi con coloriti fior et herba.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per quelli ke perdonano per lo Tuo amore
et sostengono infirmitate et tribulatione.
Beati quelli ke ‘l sosterranno in pace,
ka da Te, Altissimo, sirano incoronati.
Laudato si mi Signore, per sora nostra Morte corporale,
da la quale nullu homo uiuente pò skappare:
guai a quelli ke morrano ne le peccata mortali;
beati quelli ke trouarà ne le Tue sanctissime uoluntati,
ka la morte secunda no ‘l farrà male.
Laudate et benedicete mi Signore et rengratiate
e seruiteli cum grande humilitate.
Notes: so=sono, si=sii (you are), mi=mio, ka=perché, u replaces v, sirano=saranno