Raven Symbolism & That means (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)

Ravens, together with different members of the corvid household are sometimes considered among the smartest birds round. Regardless of this, many cultures connect a powerful destructive affiliation to the raven. Maybe attributable to their reference to unhealthy luck, sick omens, and negativity, a big group of ravens is known as an “unpleasantness” of ravens. (1)

Despite the spooky status that ravens have a tendency to carry, they’ve truly had loads of optimistic cultural roles as effectively. Essential to Norse mythology, Japanese mythology, and lots of Native American cultures, ravens even maintain optimistic meanings in lots of biblical contexts. For individuals who concern or distrust ravens, studying a little bit of the raven’s cultural historical past can shed some mild onto the distinctive virtues of this beautiful fowl.

Desk of contents

Raven symbolism and which means

Ravens are widespread birds which have a tendency to carry numerous symbolism for the cultures which work together with them. Whereas plenty of traditions see ravens as an sick omen, they’re sacred and vital in lots of cultures as effectively. (2) Ravens are resilient and are sometimes present in city environments. They are usually considerably fearless round people and are comfortable to dwell close to human communities in quest of scraps. Their tendency to eat carrion has lengthy related these birds with dying, decay, and bloodshed. Regardless of this, their resourcefulness additionally connects ravens to concepts like adaptability and wit. (3)

The intelligence of ravens is broadly reported, however what chances are you’ll not know is that the raven’s cognitive talents are sometimes on par with nice apes. In a position to resolve puzzles, memorize issues, work together with objects, and grasp duties shortly, on an array of intelligence checks ravens carried out at about the identical degree as an grownup chimpanzee. Moreover, ravens outperformed younger human kids in some areas. (4) So, ravens might characterize intelligence, problem-solving, creativity, or genius.

ravens roosting

The darkish coloration of the raven in addition to many cultural traditions which connect mystical significance to those birds implies that ravens are sometimes related with magic and witchcraft. Ravens will not be unusual Halloween decorations and they’re fairly prevalent in gothic imagery. This facet of raven symbolism can’t be talked about with out acknowledging the large recognition of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, The Raven, which includes eerie themes of dying and finality with this corvid.

“Open right here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; However, with mien of lord or woman, perched above my chamber door—Perched upon a bust of Pallas simply above my chamber door—Perched, and sat, and nothing extra. Then this ebony fowl beguiling my unhappy fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, “Although thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I mentioned, “artwork certain no craven, Ghastly grim and historic Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—Inform me what thy lordly identify is on the Night time’s Plutonian shore!” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.””

Excerpt from The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe (5)

Raven Native American symbolism

In Native American cultures, the raven is each a heroic determine which shapes and creates actuality, in addition to a trickster determine which may wreak havoc when it so needs. Whereas the raven is taken into account to be heroic and intelligent, it’s also considered grasping, hasty, and susceptible to foolishness. (6)

In some traditions, the raven is credited with restoring mild to the world after a interval of darkness. In line with one model of this story, a human chief managed to seize the solar and moon and he stored them locked up in his residence for his household alone to take pleasure in. The world was darkish with neither the solar nor moon to mild it. At some point the raven, who missed the solar, remodeled himself right into a tiny fish and jumped into the ingesting cup of the chief’s daughter. When the woman drank the fish, the raven remodeled himself right into a child within her. When that child was born, he was the chief’s beloved grandchild. At some point, the human toddler raven started to cry to his grandfather that he needed to play with the solar and moon. To cease his crying, the chief allowed the kid to take the solar and moon outdoors. Victory at hand, the raven threw the solar and moon again into the sky, revealed his true type, and flew away. (7)

In lots of traditions, an awesome raven is credited with creating the world itself. Because of this, some Native American cultures maintain the raven to be a sacred animal. (8)(9)

native american silhouette

Some tales concerning the raven are extra fearsome than others. One legend from the Northwest describes the raven as a conniving creature who feeds off of carrion while his village starves attributable to a famine. On this story, the raven earns the chief’s daughter as his spouse, however she can’t stand the carrion scent that he provides off and he or she flees from him. He takes one other woman to be his spouse and brings residence an awesome whale for everybody to eat. In the long run, the raven’s whale causes the deaths of everybody within the village aside from the raven, his grandmother, and his new spouse. (10)

Raven Christianity symbolism

Ravens seem quite a lot of instances within the Bible and appear to serve totally different symbolic functions relying upon the context. In Job, for instance, the raven is used for example of one of many many animals whom God alone offers for on earth. The raven is symbolic of God’s function because the creator and supplier of all issues.

“Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
    and fulfill the starvation of the lions
 after they crouch of their dens
    or lie in wait in a thicket?
 Who offers meals for the raven
    when its younger cry out to God
    and wander about for lack of meals?”

— Job 38:39-41 (11)


In line with Genesis, the very first fowl which Noah despatched out to seek for land after the catastrophic flood was a raven. (12)

“After forty days Noah opened a window he had made within the ark  and despatched out a raven, and it stored flying backwards and forwards till the water had dried up from the earth. Then he despatched out a dove to see if the water had receded from the floor of the bottom.”

— Genesis 8:6-9

On this context, it may be understood that the raven is, at finest, unreliable and incapable of fulfilling the duty set earlier than it by Noah. At worst, the raven is a treacherous animal who’s distracted from his quest or is in any other case tired of fulfilling his obligation.

Raven Celtic symbolism

Ravens function prominently all through many alternative Celtic traditions. In lots of instances, ravens characterize chaos and dying in addition to the energy of a warrior. Many historic Celtic poems reward the strongest warriors for his or her means to “feed ravens” on the our bodies of their enemies. (13)

In Welsh mythology, the story of Branwen involves thoughts. “Bran” means “raven.” The story of Branwen, whose identify means “sacred white raven” follows her and her brother Bran by a battle that tears Wales and Eire aside. In line with legend, Bran was an awesome large and the king of Wales. He selected to have his sister Branwen marry the king of Eire to be able to be part of the 2 nations. When the married couple produces a son, although, their evil youthful brother slays the kid. Disgusted, the king of Eire locks Branwen away and he or she is pressured to coach a fowl to ship a message to Bran to rescue her. Bran walks throughout the ocean to save lots of his sister. In the long run, although, Bran is killed and his head is buried beneath the place that will grow to be town of London. On the finish of the story, solely a handful of individuals from Wales and Eire survive. (14)

celtic cross

In Irish myths, the raven is without doubt one of the symbols of the Morrigan. The Morrigan is a goddess of chaos who seems in lots of varieties all through Irish mythology. She is a battle goddess, however she has the power to be benevolent in the direction of these whom she favors. In lots of tales, the Morrigan’s favor decides the victor in vital conflicts. (15)

Raven in desires

Dreaming of a raven might point out nervousness. Since so many individuals see ravens as omens of misfortune, a raven dream would possibly point out that you’re nervous concerning the future or that you simply sense a catastrophe on the horizon.

Luckily, superstitions surrounding ravens don’t overshadow their optimistic meanings. Dreaming of a raven would possibly point out that the issue that you simply’re going through requires some advanced and artistic pondering. The raven can point out puzzles and curiosity in addition to inventive options.


Dreaming of the raven can point out one thing unknown or mysterious. An enormous a part of the superstitious notion of the raven is said to their mysterious attract and darkish coloration. Confront the unknown head on and also you’ll discover that issues that appear obscure or scary will not be so tough as they seem as soon as confronted immediately. (16

Raven encounters and omens

Historically, encountering a raven is an omen of dying. That is due, largely, to the truth that ravens are carrion birds which feed on the lifeless and are thus present in shut proximity to dying. In fact, not each raven encounter may actually foretell dying, as these birds are widespread and widespread. Encountering ravens could be a each day expertise relying upon one’s location and routines. (17

So, what else can a raven encounter characterize? Properly, ravens are present in so many human environments as a result of they’re resourceful and able to making the very best out of just about any state of affairs. So, a raven encounter would possibly characterize perseverance, resilience, or craftiness. Study whether or not you’ll be able to overcome the conditions that you simply face by profiting from the assets that you’ve at your disposal.

two ravens

A raven encounter may additionally characterize relationships. Ravens have advanced social constructions which contain versatile social teams that develop and cut up and alter repeatedly. Encountering a bunch of ravens could also be an indication to prioritize empathy in future decision-making. (18)

Raven mythology and folklore

In mythology world wide, the raven is a outstanding character who’s related to a broad vary of persona varieties. Widespread motifs related to ravens embrace trickery, cleverness, magic, malice, knowledge, and therapeutic.

As talked about above, ravens are related to each royalty and chaos in Celtic myths. They create victory however may symbolize the brutality of the battlefield.

In Norse mythology, Odin is assisted by a pair of ravens named Hugin and Munin. Hugin and Munin are so vital to Odin that he’s also known as the raven god. Thus, ravens will not be solely related together with his two helpers but additionally with one among Norse mythology’s most vital god. Hugin and Munin are answerable for flying out and observing the world after which reporting their findings to Odin. In a manner, these two ravens act as his eyes world wide. As in Celtic mythology, Odin’s affiliation with ravens most likely has one thing to do together with his function because the decider of who lives and who dies on the battlefield. When warriors die in battle, Odin “feeds” ravens. (19)


In Japanese mythology, the “Yatagurasu” is a serious image of each the realm of the divine and of Japan itself. The Yatagurasu is normally portrayed as a crow or raven with three legs. In some tales, the Yatagurasu has the traditional two legs however is eight ft lengthy. This legendary creature seems in quite a lot of tales and normally signifies steerage and divine intervention. (20)

In Nice Britain, it’s mentioned that if the ravens go away the Tower of London, it would fall and so will the Crown of England. (21)

Raven spirit animal

If the raven is your spirit animal then you might be seemingly an clever, curious, inventive, and sociable persona. The raven spirit animal is usually present in folks with a deep-seated love for studying. Although they take pleasure in socializing, folks with the raven spirit animal can seem eccentric or odd due to their intense fascination with the issues that curiosity them.

In case your spirit animal is the raven, then chances are you’ll must work on the methods wherein you talk with others. The raven spirit animal tends to be each very curious and really adept at seeing uncommon options to issues. Studying to speak your distinctive worldview may be powerful but it surely’s very well worth the effort! (22)  

Raven totem animal

If the raven is your totem animal, then because of this you might be gifted relating to perception. Folks with the raven totem are nice at digging beneath the floor and studying concerning the hidden meanings that lie beneath on a regular basis conditions. The raven totem may be very intuitive and sometimes senses depths beneath issues that different folks miss out on.


From the surface, folks would possibly see the raven totem as fortunate, as a result of they have an inclination to decide on probably the most fortuitous doable path. What folks don’t see, although, is the advanced evaluation that goes into every choice. Folks with the raven as their totem assume by every choice very rigorously and infrequently make choices blindly. The raven totem is way from impulsive. (23)

Raven energy animal

The raven energy animal brings options. When pondering your manner by a troublesome drawback, name upon the raven energy animal that can assist you achieve some perspective and see your difficulty from a model unique approach. The raven energy animal is nice at zooming out and gaining a “fowl’s eye view” of inauspicious conditions.


Whenever you really feel trapped, name upon the raven energy animal to point out you the way in which. The raven energy animal brings steerage. (24)

The raven energy animal is resourceful. It typically reminds us to be thankful for what we have now and to make use of all of our assets to our benefit. When issues appear hopeless, the raven energy animal reminds us that we have now a lot extra going for us than we’d notice.

Raven tattoo which means

Raven tattoos are normally chosen at the side of gothic imagery. In these cases, the raven could also be a “memento mori,” a reminder that dying is inevitable.

A raven tattoo may additionally symbolize curiosity, intelligence, and magic.

woman getting a tattoo

Within the West, crows or raven symbolism could also be destructive, however in Japan, the crow or raven is depicted in Rising-Solar type and even seen in Shinto shrines. The crow is even the image of the Japanese nationwide soccer group! A Japanese raven tattoo might characterize divine steerage.


Hopefully, even if you’re somebody who’s unnerved by ravens usually, the tales that we have now shared with you’ve got modified your notion a bit. Ravens are nothing to concern. In truth, all through the world, ravens are sometimes admired and beloved animals. It’s solely correct that we should always revere them since they rival primates with their spectacular mind!


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