Much like its smaller cousin, the Crow, the Raven has long been associated with magic, mystery, and even death.
But, does only dark symbolism surround the Raven, or can it also be the bringer of good news?
Here, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about Raven Symbolism.
We’ll explore their place in mythology, folklore, different cultures, dreams, and more. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly what it means if you’ve seen a Raven, whether on this plane or not.
What Does It Mean If You See A Raven?
Seeing a raven is often associated with mystery, magic, and secrets in many cultures and literary traditions.
The raven is also a symbol of wisdom, prophecy, and the mysterious unknown.
In some cultures, ravens are believed to be shape-shifters, able to take on human form, and they are often seen as a symbol of transformation and change.
The raven is also sometimes seen as a symbol of death or the afterlife in some cultures.
However, it is important to remember that the meanings and interpretations associated with ravens can vary depending on the culture and context.
Keep reading to learn more about the symbolism of Ravens in different cultures.
Raven Symbolism In Greek Mythology
In Greek mythology, the raven was associated with the god Apollo. Apollo was known for his ability to predict the future and was considered the god of divination and prophecy.
The raven was considered to be his sacred bird, and it was believed that the raven would bring messages from the gods to the prophet or seer.
One story in Greek mythology tells of a white raven, who was once a beautiful boy named Coronis.
The boy, who was loved by Apollo, was unfaithful to him, and as punishment, Apollo turned the raven black as a symbol of his betrayal and sorrow.
Another story from Greek mythology says that, once a raven told Apollo that his lover, Coronis, was being unfaithful to him.
Heartbroken, Apollo turned the raven black as a symbol of the bad news it brought, and an apology for not being able to keep his love’s fidelity.
In both of the mentioned stories, the raven serves as a symbol of prophecy and messenger, even if the message brought was not a happy one.
Ravens are also thought to have been associated with the god of death and the underworld, Hades, as they were seen as birds of ill omen, able to foretell death, and were often present at battlefields and places of execution.
In Greek mythology, ravens are often seen as symbols of wisdom and prophecy, but also as symbols of death and betrayal.
Raven Symbolism In Christianity
In Christianity, the raven is often associated with sin and evil.
The bird is mentioned in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, where it is said that during the flood, a raven was released from the ark as a sign that the waters were receding, but it “did not return until the waters had dried up from the earth.”
This story is often interpreted as the raven being a symbol of sin, as it is the first bird to leave the ark, and it does not return until the earth has been cleansed of sin.
Also, in the New Testament, in Luke 12:24 Jesus said “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.
And how much more valuable you are than birds!”
This is thought to be a teaching of God’s providence, that He will take care of his children in the same way as he takes care of animals, also could be
seen as a hint to not be concerned on the material things in life, but on the spiritual.
In the Middle Ages and in the early Christian era, the raven was also associated with Saint Paul the Hermit and Saint Benedict of Nursia.
The raven is said to have brought them food during their time of exile and fasting in the desert, and as a result, the raven came to be seen as a symbol of the provision and care of God for those who trust in Him.
Overall, in Christianity, the raven is a complex symbol that can have both negative and positive connotations.
It is often seen as a symbol of sin, evil, and death, but it can also be seen as a symbol of God’s providence and care for those who trust in Him.
Raven Symbolism In Native American Culture
In Native American culture, the raven is often seen as a powerful and important symbol. It is often associated with the creation of the world, and is believed to have played a role in shaping the world as it is today.
The raven is often seen as a trickster figure too, known for its intelligence, cunning, and ability to transform.
Many Native American tribes have stories and legends that feature the raven as a central character.
In some of these stories, the raven is portrayed as a clever and resourceful bird that uses its wit and intelligence to outsmart other animals and to help humans.
In many tribes, the raven is associated with the afterlife and is believed to be able to guide souls to the spirit world.
As such, it is often considered to be a messenger of the gods and is believed to bring messages from the spirit world to the living.
In some tribes, the raven is also associated with the creation of the world and is believed to have brought light to the world, while In some of the tribes the Raven is a culture hero.
It is often credited with bringing fire to the people, teaching them how to fish and hunt and even giving them the gift of speech.
Overall, in Native American culture, the raven is a powerful and important symbol that is associated with creation, wisdom, and the spirit world.
It is often seen as a trickster figure, known for its intelligence, cunning and ability to transform.
Raven Symbolism In Celtic Mythology
In Celtic mythology, the raven is associated with the goddess Morrigan, who is often depicted as a raven or as a woman with ravens flying around her.
Morrigan is a goddess of fate, death, and war is a fierce and powerful figure who has the ability to predict the outcome of battles.
In some stories, Morrigan also appears as a shape-shifter, taking on the form of a raven in order to flee an enemy or to intimidate.
In other stories, Morrigan is often depicted as a goddess of sovereignty, associated with the sovereignty of the land, and she would appear as a raven perched on the shoulder of a king, this would be an indication that he was a true king, chosen by the goddess.
Ravens were also seen as protectors and omens of death in Celtic Mythology.
In fact, the Celts believed that the appearance of a raven near a battlefield meant that death was near, and they were also believed to accompany warriors in battle to guide their souls to the afterlife.
Raven Symbolism In Norse Mythology
The Raven also holds a place in North mythology, where it is seen as a protector and helpful guide, as well as a symbol of death and destruction.
The most famous symbolism of Ravens in North mythology is in the story of Ragnarok. In this tale, two Ravens named Muninn and Huginn, sit on each of Odin’s shoulders.
Munnin and Huginn represent thought and memory, and Odin is said to often send them out to gather information for him.
However, tales of Muninn and Huginn feeding on the bodies of fallen warriors amidst the battlefield are also told. So, not only are they symbolic of guides but also of death.
Raven Dream Symbolism
Dreams featuring ravens can have a variety of meanings and interpretations.
However, as with all dreams, the symbolism of seeing a Raven in your dreams ultimately depends on the context and the actions of the raven in the dream.
For example, seeing a raven in a dream can symbolize magic, mystery, and secrets, indicating that there may be something in your waking life that you have yet to uncover or understand.
However, seeing a raven in a dream can also be a symbol of wisdom and prophecy, indicating that you may have an important message or insight that you need to heed.
Likewise, if the raven in your dream is speaking, it could be a message that you need to pay attention to your intuition and inner wisdom.
But what about color? Well, if the raven is black, it may symbolize something negative such as death, loss, or the end of something.
However, if the raven is white, it could symbolize purity, renewal, or a new beginning.
The behavior of the Raven in your dream can also mean different things.
If a raven appears in your dream as a menacing or aggressive creature, it may indicate that you are feeling threatened or that you are facing some kind of challenge in your waking life.
The Raven As A Spirit Animal
Despite being so heavily associated with death and destruction, as a spirit animal the Raven holds an entirely different symbolism.
If you feel as though the Raven is calling out to you as your spirit animal, it’s bringing with it knowledge and wisdom.
It is also guiding and protecting you throughout your life.
The Raven can also be a symbol of change as your spirit animal. This doesn’t necessarily mean a huge, drastic change in your day-to-day life, but simply offering you new ways of viewing things and helping you change your perspective.
This, along with its power as a guide and its infinite wisdom, also means that your Raven spirit animal can ensure you make excellent decisions and trust your instincts when you most need to!
How Can You Bring Raven Energy Into Your Life?
If you feel connected to the Raven’s symbolism and want to really bring its energy into your life, there are some simple things you can do. The first is to wear black clothing or black jewelry.
This will honor the Raven and is a direct line to channeling its energy.
You can also bring symbols of the Raven into your home in the form of sculptures or paintings.
And, of course, if you’re looking for a permanent ode to the Raven and a way to be constantly connected to its energy, a Raven tattoo is a great way to do this.
All in all, the Raven’s symbolism isn’t always as bad as you might think. Sure, they are famously associated with death and destruction.
But, they are also wise protectors who can help guide you through life, make the best decisions, and offer guidance.