A Human-Raven Affinity: On Merging Nature and the Human Psyche

Jodi Boos-Blaszyk (2010)

Humans and ravens Corvus corax share a rich cultural history based in co-evolution, interdependence, and survival. This theoretical paper intertwines natural, metaphysical, and psychoanalytic theory with the raven as mediator and metaphor for humankinds' psychological and evolutionary ties to the past. Philosophy and research from Konrad Lorenz are critical points of reference and the paper's origin. In concept, a human-raven affinity links the human psyche to the natural world through meaningful raven relating. A human-raven affinity includes telescoping human time lines, which span from early humankind to the future. Surveys of raven biology, behavior, myth, and literature reveal the raven as an intelligent, multivalent bird with symbolic implications. At the paper's center are stories of humanencounters with ravens. Prominent themes from interviews with raven researchers provide impetus to consider the ravens' object relational import on the human psyche. Ideas from prominent psychoanalytic authors provide a backdrop for the speculation of the psychological aspects of a human-raven affinity. Additionalaffinity determinants include, anthropomorphism, ravens as lost objects, and in one case, as an intervention symbol in human illness. The application of ethological principles in psychiatric clinical interviewing, diagnosis, and treatment are briefly discussed. Finally, speculation of an atrophied human-raven communication potential born from both biological and cultural agents gives rise to the consideration of phylogenetic regression.