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

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

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

Desk of contents

Raven symbolism and that means

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

The intelligence of ravens is extensively reported, however what chances are you’ll not know is that the raven’s cognitive talents are sometimes on par with nice apes. Capable of remedy puzzles, memorize issues, work together with objects, and grasp duties shortly, on an array of intelligence assessments ravens carried out at about the identical degree as an grownup chimpanzee. Moreover, ravens outperformed younger human youngsters in some areas. (4) So, ravens could symbolize 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 signifies that ravens are sometimes linked with magic and witchcraft. Ravens should not unusual Halloween decorations and they’re fairly prevalent in gothic imagery. This side of raven symbolism can’t be talked about with out acknowledging the huge recognition of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, The Raven, which contains eerie themes of demise 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 hen 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 stated, “artwork positive no craven, Ghastly grim and historical Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—Inform me what thy lordly title is on the Evening’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 wishes. Whereas the raven is taken into account to be heroic and intelligent, it is usually regarded as grasping, hasty, and susceptible to foolishness. (6)

In some traditions, the raven is credited with restoring gentle to the world after a interval of darkness. In keeping with one model of this story, a human chief managed to seize the solar and moon and he saved them locked up in his house for his household alone to take pleasure in. The world was darkish with neither the solar nor moon to gentle it. Sooner or later the raven, who missed the solar, remodeled himself right into a tiny fish and jumped into the consuming cup of the chief’s daughter. When the woman drank the fish, the raven remodeled himself right into a child inside her. When that child was born, he was the chief’s beloved grandchild. Sooner or later, the human toddler raven started to cry to his grandfather that he wished to play with the solar and moon. To cease his crying, the chief allowed the kid to take the solar and moon exterior. Victory at hand, the raven threw the solar and moon again into the sky, revealed his true kind, and flew away. (7)

In lots of traditions, a terrific 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 in regards to 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 as a consequence of a famine. On this story, the raven earns the chief’s daughter as his spouse, however she can’t stand the carrion odor that he offers off and she or he flees from him. He takes one other woman to be his spouse and brings house a terrific whale for everybody to eat. In the long run, the raven’s whale causes the deaths of everybody within the village apart from the raven, his grandmother, and his new spouse. (10)

Raven Christianity symbolism

Ravens seem various occasions within the Bible and appear to serve totally different symbolic functions relying upon the context. In Job, for instance, the raven is used for instance 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
 once 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 keeping with Genesis, the very first hen 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 saved 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 bored with fulfilling his obligation.

Raven Celtic symbolism

Ravens characteristic prominently all through many alternative Celtic traditions. In lots of instances, ravens symbolize chaos and demise in addition to the energy of a warrior. Many historical 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 title means “sacred white raven” follows her and her brother Bran by way of a battle that tears Wales and Eire aside. In keeping with legend, Bran was a terrific large and the king of Wales. He selected to have his sister Branwen marry the king of Eire in an effort to be a 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 she or he is compelled to coach a hen to ship a message to Bran to rescue her. Bran walks throughout the ocean to avoid wasting his sister. In the long run, although, Bran is killed and his head is buried beneath the place that may change into 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 among 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 flexibility to be benevolent in direction of these whom she favors. In lots of tales, the Morrigan’s favor decides the victor in necessary conflicts. (15)

Raven in desires

Dreaming of a raven could point out anxiousness. Since so many individuals see ravens as omens of misfortune, a raven dream may point out that you’re anxious in regards to the future or that you just sense a catastrophe on the horizon.

Thankfully, superstitions surrounding ravens don’t overshadow their optimistic meanings. Dreaming of a raven may point out that the issue that you just’re going through requires some advanced and artistic pondering. The raven can point out puzzles and curiosity in addition to artistic 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 expounded to their mysterious attract and darkish coloration. Confront the unknown head on and also you’ll discover that issues that appear obscure or scary should not so difficult as they seem as soon as confronted instantly. (16

Raven encounters and omens

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

So, what else can a raven encounter symbolize? Properly, ravens are present in so many human environments as a result of they’re resourceful and able to making one of the best out of just about any scenario. So, a raven encounter may symbolize perseverance, resilience, or craftiness. Look at whether or not you may conquer the conditions that you just face by profiting from the sources that you’ve got at your disposal.

two ravens

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

Raven mythology and folklore

In mythology around the globe, the raven is a outstanding character who’s related to a broad vary of character sorts. Frequent motifs related to ravens embody trickery, cleverness, magic, malice, knowledge, and therapeutic.

As talked about above, ravens are related to each royalty and chaos in Celtic myths. They convey victory however also can 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 necessary to Odin that he’s sometimes called the raven god. Thus, ravens should not solely related along with his two helpers but in addition with one in every of Norse mythology’s most necessary god. Hugin and Munin are liable for flying out and observing the world after which reporting their findings to Odin. In a manner, these two ravens act as his eyes around the globe. As in Celtic mythology, Odin’s affiliation with ravens in all probability has one thing to do along 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 various tales and normally signifies steerage and divine intervention. (20)

In Nice Britain, it’s stated that if the ravens depart the Tower of London, it’s going to fall and so will the Crown of England. (21)

Raven spirit animal

If the raven is your spirit animal then you’re possible an clever, curious, artistic, and sociable character. 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 have to work on the methods through which 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 however it’s very well worth the effort! (22)  

Raven totem animal

If the raven is your totem animal, then because of this you’re gifted in the case of perception. Folks with the raven totem are nice at digging beneath the floor and studying in regards to the hidden meanings that lie beneath on a regular basis conditions. The raven totem could be very intuitive and sometimes senses depths beneath issues that different folks fail to spot.


From the skin, folks may see the raven totem as fortunate, as a result of they have an inclination to decide on essentially the most fortuitous attainable path. What folks don’t see, although, is the advanced evaluation that goes into every determination. Folks with the raven as their totem suppose by way of every determination very fastidiously and infrequently make choices blindly. The raven totem is much from impulsive. (23)

Raven energy animal

The raven energy animal brings options. When pondering your manner by way of a troublesome drawback, name upon the raven energy animal that will help you acquire some perspective and see your concern from a model special approach. The raven energy animal is nice at zooming out and gaining a “hen’s eye view” of inauspicious conditions.


Once you really feel trapped, name upon the raven energy animal to indicate you the best way. The raven energy animal brings steerage. (24)

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

Raven tattoo that means

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

A raven tattoo may 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 workforce! A Japanese raven tattoo could symbolize divine steerage.


Hopefully, even in case you are somebody who’s unnerved by ravens usually, the tales that we now have shared with you may have modified your notion a bit. Ravens are nothing to worry. In reality, 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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