“The Raven caught up with you and your soul. You have a place in heaven where you don’t have to act, any role .” – Soumojit Dutta
“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…” is the famous line from “The Raven”. It’s a classic poem written by the famous American writer and literary giant Edgar Allan Poe.
“The Raven” is a dark tale of death about a grieving lover who is in the brink of despair and madness. The visit of the raven only added to his misery and grief. This famous classic poem contributed to the bird’s nasty reputation of being a bringer of bad omen.
But what is a raven, and what are the symbolisms associated with this black-feathered bird?
Cultural Depictions of Ravens
The raven is a species of crow that is covered in black plumage. In nature, it sits at the top of the food chain. It is one of the most intelligent bird known to man. But in many pieces of literature, it is used as a symbol for darkness.
In many cultures, ravens have appeared in myths and legends. From ancient to the present day, the raven is a bird full of mystery. To some its been seen as a sign of ill-fortune. To others, the raven is a symbol of wisdom. In some legends, the bird has described in godly terms or even the embodiment of a deity.
Known to be intelligent creatures, even their movement was the subject of divine speculation. The Romans and Greeks believed that omens from birds are worthy of interpretations. Even the direction of where ravens are flying from holds a significant consequence. A raven flying from the east or south was considered a favorable omen.
Raven Symbolism and Meaning
In many literary works, the raven is a messenger of warnings. According to this literature, when you see a raven, expect for something terrible that will come. But it may also mean that you will receive a good fortune. In a stereotype characterization, they are an omen of death. But in general, they are a messenger of the future.
Ravens are also messengers of deities, sages, oracles, and tricksters. They have a powerful knowing of the changes of life, death, and the cycle of life. Ravens have connoted death and supernatural for hundreds of years. On a brighter note, besides signifying bad luck and ill-fortune, ravens are seen optimistically as the representation of eternal life and freedom.
In a very powerful symbolism, the ravens in the Tower of London symbolizes stability and comfort. The British Monarchy who owns the Tower of London takes great precautions to ensure that the ravens remain at the tower. There is even an appointed “Raven Master” whose only job is to care for the tower’s resident ravens. And to make sure that these birds don’t fly too far, their wings are clipped.
Raven Mythology by Culture
To the Inuits, an indigenous tribe inhabiting the Arctic regions, the raven is the principal creator figure. And in their language, they refer to it as the “raven father”.
According to their legend, the raven was born out of the darkness and began life weak and lost. Eventually, it realized who it really was and after gathering all its strength, flew to a new place called earth.
In Norse mythology, a pair of ravens fly all over the world and bring back the information it gathered to the god Odin. Huginn, which in the Old Norse language means “thought”, and Muninn, which means “memory or mind”, are the names of these ravens. They are considered as semi-autonomous beings and are extensions of Odin.
At various points of different European culture and folklore, ravens have been associated with witchcraft. In medieval and early modern periods, it was thought that witches have the ability to shape-shift into ravens. These creatures were known as familiar spirits.
A supernatural entity which is the devil or alter ego of the witch, it is able to assist her in her practice of black magic. An independent life force that remains closely linked to the witch, familiars were said to be able to take the forms of animals such as ravens.
Raven as a Spirit Animal
Ravens are intelligent birds with brains that are big relative to their size. They are crafty, and can even mimic the human voice. The deep black feathers, the eyes that seem to be always watching, and never blink, give the Raven it’s sinister reputation. Add to the fact that they are always around dead things because they are scavengers.
But as a spirit animal, Ravens represent cleansing. This bird clean as they go and as a spirit animal of someone, he or she no longer carry unhealthy thoughts that bring them down. Do you feel that negativity is coming into your life?
If the raven is trying to get your attention, it might be the best time to move forward personally, professionally, and also spiritually. When you work with the raven as a spirit guide, the change in your life will be dynamic.
Raven Totem Animal
If you have the raven as your animal totem, you can see things unfiltered. You see through people for who they truly are. Some of the characteristics of raven as totem animal include:
Ravens also manifest time management in your life. Procrastination is not in a raven’s person’s vocabulary. Every moment matters to a raven person. Life is to be lived and the desire to change for the better is a raven person’s motto.
A raven appearing in your life is a chance to dig deeper into your soul and see your inner strength and beauty.
Raven as a Power Animal
The Raven as a power animal includes personal truth and honoring that in our words, actions, and deeds. The raven is a terrific communicator. This power animal helps you communicate within your circle effectively. It allows you to get groups of people to be on the same page with you with almost no effort.
As this skill develops, you will be amazed at how people easily trust you with their secrets. It’s because they know you are trustworthy. People around you know that you are not superficial. It’s in your heart to accept requests and fulfill all commitment and promises that you’ve made.
Native American Raven Symbolic Meaning
Native Americans trust in raven as a teacher and a magical partner. They regard the raven as a keeper of secret and a protector. Ravens are thought of as trusted messengers able to carry messages and prayers to spirits. nation. They believe that only those perceived to be worthy by the raven are entrusted with its secret knowledge.
In some Native American Indian tribes, they see the raven as a symbol of death to the enemy. They are also regarded as both symbols for the creator of life and a trickster. As the maker of life, the Native Americans regard the raven as a deity. For them, the raven symbolizes the ultimate creator of all things from the beginning. And as a trickster figure, the raven is seen as bringer of mischief and mayhem.
Raven in Astrology and Zodiac Sign
In Native American astrology and zodiac sign, the raven represents the months of 22 Sept. to 22 Oct. as the Raven zodiac sign. The raven symbol is represented with blue and brown colors, and charming and friendly personality traits.
Here Are the Traits Associated with The Raven in Astrology:
- Highly enthusiastic and entrepreneurial
- Idealist and calculating
- Exudes easy energy
- Easy going
Far Eastern Raven Symbolic Meaning
In the Far East, it is the Ravens association with the land of the dead that has given the bird a bad reputation. In the Philippines. the raven is regarded as the omen of death. According to traditional legends, if a raven croaks near one’s home, the death of someone in that household is soon to come. In Japanese Shintoism, an ethnic religion, the raven is considered a messenger of the gods. The Shinto goddess Amaterasu, was said to transform into a raven.
Ravens are not likely to shed its association with the mystical and supernatural. It will always have its reputation of being a messenger of bad omens. Its association with ancient lores and even literary works make it impossible for the raven to escape from this unfair distinction.
In our current scientific understanding of this creature, we know that their brains count among the largest of any bird species. Their intelligence is level with that of dolphins and dogs. And for a creature of this size, it is an amazing and almost impossible trait.
Ravens have been observed to solve puzzles in experiments conducted to test their intelligence. Some were even trained to paint. They mimic human voices and even exhibit complex emotions such as grief.
Whether one believes that the raven deserves its sinister reputation or not, it’s hard to argue that this black-feathered bird is worthy of adulation. Adulation for its intelligence, shrewdness, and adaptability. And whether it’s in captivity or flying high above forests or cities, it’s a bird with lots of history with mankind.