Thanks for bearing with me, Craig!
As a matter of fact, that is not the actual difference between those two members of the corvid family – but since most people couldn’t say just exactly what distinguishes one from the other, that’s what I latch onto to make the pun work (I’m not proud – certainly nothing to crow about). 😄
Puns, though, do intrigue me. That leap of association, the dynamic that makes punning possible, seems embedded as well in symbolic thinking – which brings us back to your essay (intuiting a relationship between mythic stories and my story), and the example you share from your own life. Had we, unbeknownst to each other, been sitting the other side of the same rock at the exact same moment you had your experience, I might well have turned to indigenous tales of Raven given the setting, influenced by the geography and the myths associated with it; you, on the other hand, recognized a congruence with the material in which you were immersed.
Same three ravens, same geographical context, but different lives, different histories, different circumstances, and a difference in engagement with the same mythic image.
That to me is one of the wonders of mythic symbols. It might be different if we were raised in a cultural where everyone underwent the same initiations, were fed the same myths, participated in the same rituals – but today, when that just isn’t happening, every myth and fairy tale – and, come to think of it, every song, story, painting, and poem – has both a collective and a subjective aspect. The latter speaks specifically to me and my circumstances (assuming that I have “the ears to hear”), just as it does to all the other “me”s who engage the same set of symbols.
That protean, shapeshifting aspect strikes me as very much part of the magic of myth.