Why I have a raven to represent Apollon Agyieus

At my front entrance, beside the Herm I have a handcarved wooden raven (not carved by me, and apparently the artist isn’t doing them anymore. He is not very small, though not as big as a real raven (I love my winged monsters, aka ravens, that I grew up with…my mother never understood why I was so attracted to them hehehe) he is more the size of a live crow and his appearance is not quite as fluffed up as an Alaskan raven. I have considered that my native ravens are perhaps the biggest poofy version of ravens that exist but everything is bigger and poofier the further north you go, so perhaps he may be true to size of a southern raven (I think the artist hailed from the south-west). So this beady-eyed ravens is settled near the Herm, looking into the interior of the house, since he can not be set outside to look around the exterior of the house (largely for the same reasons that I do not set my herm outside) …not only is he not weather proofed but I don’t trust people to leave him alone and not break him.

I know from research that historically the representation of Apollon Agyieus was a big black stone on which libations were poured that sat opposite of the herm just outside the entrance, but I have had to modify this for several reasons. 1. I don’t have a huge black phallicy-shaped stone and don’t see any reason to sculpt this and paint it black, if I ever get a natural stone that can be shaped then I would probably put that there with the raven. So instead I have a big black bird, a heraldic animal of Apollon. Now getting the background information I will go into *why* I put the raven there to specifically represent Apollon Agyieus.

The primary reason is that the raven itself represents most accurately Apollon of the boundaries/portal (much like the hawk to me represents the quick darting nature of the god, growing up in a state plentiful with hawks and falcons (and keeping an eye on my mother’s chihuahuas whenever they went outside) I am quite familiar too with this heraldic symbol. And the swan with the beauty of the light, and the growing season. The swan heralding in Apollon’s return in the spring and the god being drawn away in the autumn in a swan chariot, they represent immortality and life. So then among the winged creatures heraldic of the god we have the raven, the dark feathered bird of the god at his oracle. The all-seeing bird (as he was the one who saw the affair of Coronis and got blackened for his trouble) is appropriate for a god who resides at any boundary, a god who can see into and perceive all things, a god who protects the prosperity of the household and the soul. In my book I very briefly discussed the raven in my chapter about Apollon Agyieus which thus inspired me to set the raven there upon recieving him again in a box of my stuff. His black feathers more or less align him with the unseen and a warding against evil as well as a token of continuance and prosperity. These latter points seem to supported particularly by the ravens which were said to surround the Pagasean altar of Apollon at Pherae, the very place were Apollon was said to have servd as a slave for Admetus. These ravens were said to flock in considerable numbers around the temple of the god in his extensive grove perserving the precinct. This when reading instantly brought to mind the legend of the ravens at the tower of london whose presence was said to safeguard the country. That London orginated as a Roman settlement (granted the the tower itself is not from that period) I can’t help but to wonder if it is pure coincidence or if there was something originating out of the cultic tie between Apollon and the raven.

Therefore this perspetive bird, the bird of the oracular god, the god who vaniquishes illness and evil, the carrion-eater (which aside from its coloring also suggests a link to the boundary between the living and the dead), seems to be the perfect representation of the god who resides at the domestic boundary, protecting its inhabitants, and the god who resides at the periferial edges of the soul protecting it from evil. So in short that is why I have a raven to represent Apollon Agyieus.


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