Water Spirit

Little frog,
little frog, 
snugly sleeping in the bog.

So petite,
with flippered feet,
catching tasty bugs to eat.
'Water Spirit' a Traditional Pacific Northwest Native Frog Design by Sechelt Artist Charlie Craigan.

Charles J. Craigan’s Water Spirit design is a celebration of the spiritual and physical relationship between the frog and fresh waterways. The Frog is symbolic as spiritual keepers of fresh water and waterways and it is a reminder of that we must show appreciation for these brilliant creatures and the water’s they protect.

  • Leaves on a forest pond taken with Olympus Evolt E-300 by Coastal Salish Photographer TS Ni hUiginn
  • A forest pond taken with Olympus Evolt E-300 by Coastal Salish Photographer TS Ni hUiginn
  • Mountain Lake taken with Olympus Evolt E-300 by Coastal Salish Photographer TS Ni hUiginn
  • A fishing Heron taken with Olympus Evolt E-300 by Coastal Salish Photographer TS Ni hUiginn
  • A fishing Heron taken with Olympus Evolt E-300 by Coastal Salish Photographer TS Ni hUiginn

We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.

Mao Zedong

Frogs are important creatures, they are culturally significant and powerful to some, whereas others have far less respect for them. Some associate frogs with being unattractive or stupid but I have always found those comparisons unfounded. Frogs have proven themselves to be clever, resourceful and capable of survival when may of us would be challenged to do likewise. They are also a tasty treat for some although not to my personal taste, the heron however is far more fond of them than I. It won’t be long now until their beautiful voices rise in unison again announcing spring’s arrival once again, and spring without them would be unthinkably sad and lonely.

That is the way it is done, the way it has always been done. Frogs have every right to expect it will always be done that way.

John Steinbeck

Exalted Raven: Master of the Skies, Spiritual Messenger, Cultural Beacon, Protector of Life or Common Vermin.


The raven once in snowy plumes was drest,
White as the whitest dove’s unsullied breast,
Fair as the guardian of the Capitol,
Soft as the swan; a large and lovely fowl
His tongue, his prating tongue had changed him quite
To sooty blackness from the purest white.

  • Raven Perched on Fir Tree pecking at a chicken bone.
  • Raven Perched on Fir Tree pecking at a chicken bone.
  • Raven Perched on Fir Tree pecking at a chicken bone.

People hold a long of different opinions about the Raven but whether you love or loathe this beautiful and intelligent creature may depend on your livelihood. Bards, poets and artists have long revered the Raven, it is often our muse, our master and our inspiration; whereas farmers have a far more dimmer view than we do and that is somewhat understandable. It did not escape my notice when once photographing a Raven that it was happily consuming a Rhode Island Red that it had acquired from a nearby newly established free range egg farm. They tell me that business is cut throat and predatory by nature and this fact also includes nature, or did in this case because the Raven’s got the spoils from that venture for sure.

‘It suits my own attitude toward the world and its people to believe that the Raven is this completely self-centered, uninvolved bringer of change, through inadvertence and accident, and so on… It’s a version of the Raven myth for today, not for the time when it was created.’

Bill reid
Raven Design by Salish Artist Charles J Craigan
Raven Design by Salish Artist Charles J Craigan

Charlie Craigan’s Raven painting, in traditional Salish Native style, is a trickster, playful and clever spiritual guide and his intimate relationship with humans is illustrated by the figure in Raven’s wing. Culturally, historically and presently the Raven has and will continue to be an important creature and symbol to people of all cultures globally. Like with this design they are commonly seen as spiritual messengers and protectors, and stories of Ravens and their relationship with people are as normal and natural as life itself it seems. It is easy to see why they are admired by us as we observe their beautiful blackness, unique intelligence, romantic natures, amazing flight capabilities as well as the incredible courage and daring they demonstrate.

‘In the battlefield men grapple each other and die;
The horses of the vanquished utter lamentable cries to heaven,
While ravens and kites peck at human entrails,
Carry them up in their flight, and hang them on the branches of dead trees.

Li Bai
  • Flying Ravens
  • Three Ravens in Flight

They are associated with violence and death, of ill omen and fate and a flock of Raven’s is called a unkindness in the English language. Juvenile flocks of Ravens are very common and like most gangs of youth they can and do create havoc at times so this negative association may have some foundation. Ravens, like the Eagles and other creatures, survive by consuming carrion be it dead salmon by the spawning stream or dead warriors on the edge of a battlefield and it is this reality that unsettles us so much but is not evidence of Raven’s being evil in either scenario.

‘He that visits the sick in hopes of a legacy, but is never so friendly in all other cases, I look upon him as being no better than a raven that watches a weak sheep only to peck out its eyes.’

Seneca the Younger
  • Two Ravens Flying together.
  • Two Ravens Flying together.
  • Two Ravens in Flight

It is however it is something found in the eye of the beholder, more than that of the creature itself that is behind their meanings and the stories. Or behind the human culture itself because it is unfortunate that many see the misery, war, illness and even death of other people as an opportunity to profit and nothing more. Those carrion consumers illustrate the darker and unpleasant side of the human reality that we are often discouraged to explore or if we do is often snubbed or ignored for lighter fair. For the truth is Raven, or what cultures and artists project onto them is reflective of who we are as individuals, communities and societies than it has anything to do with them. Ravens, you see, are competent and content doing their Raven thing and would be fine without our presences, but we are obsessed with them which is why they are always at the top of our favourite muses and subjects to explore. And how we respect or abuse them is a fairly accurate measure for how we treat the rest of the world as well.

‘I have created the Raven in my own image over the years and insist that mine is the version of this personality that is correct – well, at least it is correct as far as I am concerned.’

Bill reid
  • Croaking Raven Perched on Fir Tree
  • An Adult Raven supervising its flying Chick from a branch
  • Raven Perched on Branch
  • Raven Perched on Fir Tree

This version of Raven is one of Charles Craigan’s first paintings. Raven has a human figure in the wing signifying the spiritual connection between human, the inner child, the need to keep an open mind and a Raven that is universal and significant to many cultures. Charles’ Raven is a positive figure and this is meant to be worn or displayed in honour of that relationship by any or all people who also adore this beautiful creature.

Anyone who wishes to support Charles J Craigan by purchasing some of his art his designs are available at T Spring, the images link to his store.


Human beings come in all shapes, shades and sizes but despite these differences everyone of us possess a spirit and this design by Charles J Craigan is dedicated to this uniting feature we all share.

For it is the Human Spirit that fills us with rapture and joy, or sorrow and grief and despite our external differences internally we are all equipped with a spirit and all that that accompanies. It is our spirit that motivates us, that inspires us and aids us in reaching our full potential and that is true for all humans. Therefore it is essential for us to take care of and nurture our spiritual selves just as it is important to nurture and care for our physical selves. It is also important for us to be respectful of other’s and their spirits, and to be aware of how our actions can effect the rest of our communities.

Clicking on any of the Images to check out Spirit Merchandise Collections!

It is the Human Spirit which every human being possess which is intrinsic to who we are and what we achieve, not what we look like or what we wear. Human spirits are withing every person and with that in mind please be good to each other and respect all of our differences!

Charles J Craigan Bio

Welcome to the University of East Hastings

Welcome to the University of East Hastings, not a formal institution but more a school of thought and experience, it is a state of being human that we intend to celebrate with you.

  • Pen and Ink Illustration of black bears catching salmon created by T S Ni hUiggin
  • Still Image from Heron Hustle short Animation by T S Ni hUiggin
  • Still Image from Hummingbird Shuffle short Animation by T S Ni hUiggin

We are not elitist’s, our artist’s are part of the workers collective and our work for the most part is seen and heard but goes unacknowledged, like many people’s efforts these days. Our work is seen on people’s clothing, on their signage, their electricity boxes and banners. It is seen and heard in advertisements and promotions, in our pubs and eateries, even on the street outside the liquor stores and on special occasions you will find us in books and on albums. Sometimes we prosper, sometimes we go without and have to take on extra menial work to take care of our loved ones. Despite the hardship still we go on because as human beings struggling to overcome our obstacles and better ourselves is perfectly natural and healthy.

In truth though we must take a look around and see what is for ourselves and discover the complex reality we all exist and are meant to participate fully in together.

It is the education we receive from success and failure, from love and rejection, from the very act of caring about your community or not caring that defines us all individual and collectively.

Our education comes from the day to day toil and struggle to put food on our tables and keep roofs over our families heads. From navigating the streets and communities, from interacting with others and learning through experience and with courage, sometimes we fail, sometimes we are knocked to our knees but we always pull ourselves up again and struggle on.

If anything catches your eye clicking the image will take you to our store.

We are artificially disenfranchised from each other on a daily bases for ridiculous superficial and sometimes fictional reasons created by spin doctors of the lowest order. They pathetically bully and torment people constantly into feeling ashamed of the very skin that we were born into in order to boost themselves economically with no concern for the people they are effecting or the harm they are causing to others. However in reality for the majority of us we are all individual units that work together in incredibly brilliant ways as part of our highly sophisticated and functioning societies.

To be made to feel inferior or wrong because of who you are and how you were born is the great wrong, for we are all utterly amazing and incredible creatures with so much potential, much like our ancestors were. We would not exist if they did not, and they were amongst the survivors of the masses who did not make it. Be proud of your ancestors, and believe in yourself again for the work you do, for the entertainment you love, for being yourself, for being a normal human being and comfortable with who you are, and stand with the  ancestors who created you.