Why the Woods? In fairy tales and myths, they're the place where things happen. Evils lurk. Dangers are confronted. Truths are met. Dante’s Divine Comedy begins, “In the mid-path of my life, I woke to find myself in a dark wood.” The forest is the setting for the hero’s journey, the inner quest made manifest. Here abides Riding Hood’s Wolf—and Little Red herself, whatever and whoever she may truly be. It’s the abode of Pan and the nymphs. Every whisper of leaves may conceal—or reveal—a dryad. The greenwood is the place where we experience freedom from civilization’s rules. It’s where Hester sinned with Dimmesdale and Bottom dallied with Titania. It is where we encounter the Other, in all its guises. We meet as equals our animal cousins, even as we greet the animal in ourselves. In the forest Acteaon the hunter blundered upon a goddess in her nakedness and discovered himself a hunted stag. Everyone does not survive the enchanted woods.
Why Ravens? Ravens are crafty, fond of shiny baubles, carrion-eaters. They are one of the few animals capable of mimicking human speech. No wonder they live a greater life haunting our tales and dreams. Often they presage evil. Think of Poe’s enigmatic bird, taunter and tormentor (or merely a projection of the demented narrator). They are symbols of the Celtic goddesses of war and death, such as the Morrigan. But just as often ravens belong to the light. Hugin and Muninn (Thought and Memory), the pets of Odin, Norse father-god but also the god of wisdom and poetry, fly throughout the world and return with their reports. Voyeurs. Tattle-tales. Guardians. In a similar capacity, they are used as messengers by the Night Watch, black-garbed wardens against the mysterious forces of the northern wilderness, in Game of Thrones. In many Native American cultures, Raven is a trickster and shape-changer who brings the Sun to earth or even creates the world. Light-bringer, world-creator, messenger of death, bird of prophesy and poetry and horror, the Raven is all of these.
And so the Ravens’ Wood is the fitting domain for a poet and tale-teller of fantasy, often dark. Welcome. I hope you find some shiny baubles to your liking.
Sandi Leibowitz writes fiction and poetry for adults and children, mostly fantasy, often based on myths and fairy tales.
Her works appear in such places as Liminality, Mythic Delirium, Metaphorosis,
Pantheon, Mithila Review, Luna Station Quarterly and Cricket. Her poem “Loss” was the third-prize winner of the 2016 Dwarf Star award and “Weathering” tied for second place for 2015. Her works have been nominated for the Rhysling Long and Short Poems,
the Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.