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Known simply as "Raven" to friends and family...
For six years this userpage omitted further details beyond the one line. I hoped it needed no more. Then someone who's known me for 35 years, and just spotted one of my edits, had to ask whether I was that Raven. Well, ah, yes. Perhaps my determination not to boast (not to be an Essjay waving credentials around, let us be blunt) has made me overly reserved. So, not to make this a vanity page, just to identify me as which Raven I am among the many on the 'Net:
Yes, Propnomicon fans, I'm the Raven your host kindly mentions now and then, e.g. spotting Cthulhu at the edge of Vincent van Gogh's painting "Starry Night." (No wonder the poor fellow was in an asylum at the time! Il a utilisé tout son points de Santé Mentale!)
Yes, pagan newsgroup readers from decades past, I'm the Raven in the FAQ files of the Druid/Pagan/Wicca alt, alt.moderated, and soc groups, trying to provide a voice of reason from a friendly atheist Humanist. ... Which reminds me, a rant for the season:
- No, Patrick "driving the snakes out" doesn't refer to expelling pagans from Ireland, it's crediting him (too much) for the known absence of fanged and legless reptiles from that lucky island. In fact, Patrick's conversions were peaceful, he was welcomed by Druids (they provided him a home, invited him to help transcribe the Brehonic Laws, among other signs they did not regard him as an enemy), and for centuries the pagan and Christian communities lived side by side without warfare in Ireland, unlike many other places in the world. One possible reason: Patrick himself complained in telling his life that he'd had a poor education; apparently he'd never read his contemporary, Augustine of Hippo, justifying conversion by fire and sword — and so never thought to practice it as it was practiced elsewhere. The much-later tales of Patrick "battling Druids"? Told to appease a critical Roman Church after closer contact was re-established, and defend the long-dead Patrick from suspicions of over-friendliness with pagans, in order to preserve his religious heirs' local primacy. Rome wanted a martial saint, and was given one. (Past Usenet posts to this point at greater length, including documentation:) http://tinyurl.com/patrick-snakes, http://tinyurl.com/patrick-snakes-2.
Yes, SCA folk, I'm the Raven who was (1) the Middle Kingdom's first Royal Calligrapher and founder of its Scribes' Guild; (2) an illustrator/calligrapher for newsletters such as Tournaments Illuminated, e.g. creating English letterforms based on Early Cyrillic to title an article on an early Russian saint, designing the logo for Dragonrunes with a dragon whose body was... runes; (3) the Great Dark Horde's herald (designed its badge) and its newsletters' chief writer of articles about, and calligrapher in, Classical Mongolian — my 1986 resignation as Kheriye Tarkhan was in that language and both the Uighur and 'Phags-pa scripts as well as Urdu, Chinese, Russian (and English, necessarily) in salute to the languages used in the Mongol Empire; (4) the first Chief Bard or Speaker of Northshield's Bardic College. No, no, no kowtows, please. What, you weren't going to anyway? (Now you see why I didn't mention all that? How could it not seem like boasting?)
My blog, recently started: Raven's Song
Samples of my writings visible on the web (perhaps evidencing my biases?):
- "Rules of the Circle" (group ethics concerns)
- "What You Wanted to Know About Witches" (a flyer, offered as public domain)
- "The Dream" and "Initiate" (two poems)
- "Cantrip to Catch Killers" (an outraged impromptu verse and spell, though by intent an ethical one)
- "The Rôle of the God" (a verse of serious though friendly disagreement)
- "Civilisation and Its Discontents" (as told by, not Freud, but a Mongol warrior)
- "Bright-Eyed Bortai" (in memory of Temujin's beloved)
- "Northshield Bardic College Charter" (in verse, of course; would bards do less?)
- "Song at Parting" (as quoted in another's email)
- ... and my Talk:Theban_alphabet comments, showing me at my most wiki-argumentative.
Multiple ongoing language/script interests, including ancient and medieval Near/Central/Far East — a curve from North Africa through regions centered on Iran, Tibet, and Mongolia, to north China and vicinity; e.g. Punic and Tifinagh, South Arabian "musnad," Orkhon script, Khitan scripts — with an outlier for Old European esoterica e.g. runes and Ogham.
... interests historical but also long personal: my mother was born in Irkutsk, Siberia, just north of Mongolia, and grew up in Harbin, Manchuria (including during the Japanese Occupation); English is my second, though now primary language. I really have been at this a while.
But does any of this constitute "credentials"? Not on your life. No educational or employment background has been cited here or elsewhere in my contribs, let alone checkably, which leaves anyone free to presume they don't exist. Friend, I haven't shown credentials to prove that I can read. ... And if I had? How many high school graduates could not read their own diplomas at some times and places in the USA? ... Learn from the Essjay debacle, or the above Talk:Theban_alphabet comments about "secondary sources," and trust your own eyes and reasoning first. If you need to be sure about something, disregard credentials, and go after the facts yourself. – •Raven .talk 21:03, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
Do not go by revelation;
Do not go by tradition;
Do not go by hearsay;
Do not go on the authority of sacred texts;
Do not go on the grounds of pure logic;
Do not go by a view that seems rational;
Do not go by reflecting on mere appearances;
Do not go along with a considered view because you agree with it;
Do not go along on the grounds that the person is competent;
Do not go along because [thinking] "the monk is our teacher."
Kalamas, when you yourselves know: "These things are unwholesome, these things are blameworthy; these things are censured by the wise; and when undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill," abandon them...
Kalamas, when you yourselves know: "These are wholesome; these things are not blameworthy; these things are praised by the wise; and when undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness," then having undertaken them, abide in them.
— Gautama Buddha, Kālāma Sūtra.
What are the facts? Again and again and again — what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” — what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
— Robert A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long.