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Raven Symbolism & Meaning

Raven symbolism and meaning is one of the most powerful in the Animal Kingdom, making this animal your guide to unleashing your inner magic. Looking to connect with the spirit world? Want to embark on self discovery? Raven as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal can help! Raven symbolism teaches how to hear messages from the otherworld and the real beauty of your shadow side. Delve deeply in Raven’s meaning and symbolism to find out how this animal spirit guide can uplift, enlighten, and inspire you.

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Raven Table of Contents

Raven Symbolism & Meaning

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When Raven as a spirit animal guide comes cawing loudly into your life, it marks a moment to pause and give serious consideration to the messages coming your way.

Black as midnight, it’s not surprising to discover that, in many cultures, Raven symbolism and meaning is connected with death and the underworld.

At first this meaning may seem dire, but the representation need not be literal. What does a Raven symbolize, if not death, darkness and decay? Raven meanings have deeper spiritual symbolism. On the surface, Raven’s attraction to carrion can make this bird’s symbolism seem morbid.

But things aren’t always what they seem. Instead of interpreting the Raven’s meaning as a dire message of doom, look for the broader significance of this bird’s symbolism.

Raven’s appearance most likely is an omen that something is about to transform your life. Whether positive or negative, total transformation is usually dramatic. And, so, Raven spirit can help guide you safely through the fray.

Remember that Raven consumes the remains of other creatures, giving this bird the additional symbolic value of cleansing.
Perhaps there is something old and unhealthy that you may need to purge?

Raven is a great helpmate for that. Raven is also an excellent teacher, guide, and partner for magical studies and efforts.

Your ability to reverse your associations of death from something to fear to a recognition of a powerful rite of passage completing the circle of life, death and rebirth is also part of Raven’s message. Raven helps us change our perspectives.

Raven’s variety of sizes of feathers as well as iridescent black is symbolic of this bird’s connection to shifting consciousness in many cultures. Raven helps us discover power and wisdom lying in the dark, deep void within our subconscious as well as in the Universe at large.

Because of their association with communication and psychic abilities, Raven is symbolic of the Third Eye Chakra and spiritual awakenings. This interpretation of Raven’s meaning in your life is easy to understand when you consider the Raven’s iridescent color from black to blue. Considering generic bird symbolism associated with communication, you can also connect Raven to the Throat Chakra. The dark coloring of Raven’s wings and connection between this bird and the Earth can also lead you to attribute Raven’s meaning as symbolic of the Root Chakra, reminding you to ground yourself when facing obstacles.

Raven can be an omen of transformation underway, calling you to open your mind to the vast possibilities. Change, transformation and the ability to “shape-shift” are likely when you encounter a Raven.

Let this sage master “call” to the quarters of creation with your intention.

Raven has been called a master of time. Procrastinators out there, get ready.

If Raven wings his way into your awareness you are about to get a lesson in using time wisely. You may be in the right space at the right moment, and Raven encourages that change in movement in your life.

Effectively this animal spirit is one that presages a kind of rebirth or renewal when your life may have seemed stagnant.

What does a Raven symbolize in various cultures?

The ancient Greeks trusted in Raven to carry messages from the Divine, particularly Apollo. This means that while Raven spirit is tied closely to the night, it also has solar qualities.
Working with Raven is a way of boosting your powers of observation and bringing anything that lingers in the shadows into a healthy light.

Ravens have a very distinctive voice and a vast vocabulary. They are among the smartest birds in nature, so don’t be surprised if you start finding that your communication skills improve.
Raven reminds us to stay true to our voice.

You might find yourself feeling a little nervous when Raven decides to speak to your life. That’s natural.

Remember, however, that Raven is a fierce protector sacred to Morrigan. Raven also was the totem to the Queen of the Fairies.

One thing is for certain, with Raven around your life will not want for mystical adventures and spiritual surprises.

Raven Spirit Animal

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Some Native American tribes call the Raven a ‘secret keeper’. When you have a Raven spirit animal you may not give your promises of confidentiality lightly, nor give away information given to you in trust.

Raven has no patience for two-faced dishonesty and calls those with whom it interacts to rise to new levels of honor. Raven is symbolic of trickster energy and can be mischievous but also has great empathy and is considered a healer.

People walking the path of the Mysteries are often sought out by Raven spirit. This being prefers to share its knowledge with someone who appreciates the depth and breadth of the Adept, including the challenges that await along that Path.

In the sunlight the color of Raven isn’t simply black, but appears to transform into various shades of blue. Raven can also mimic the sounds of other birds. This means that seekers interested in learning the art of shape shifting would do well to seek out Raven for his teachings.

No matter what, if Raven is your Spirit animal, you can always listen to her warnings respectfully. She is there to protect and guide.

Raven Totem Animal

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People drawn to the Raven as a totem have a naturally inventive and mischievous air about them. You may never be afraid of darkness… in fact you embrace it with a passion. You can walk, swim, or fly while remaining totally quiet, which is also the time during which you really connect with the Divine and Higher Self.

A Raven totem means that you are often the human version of Mercury, delivering information to others. This may be something mundane like guidance in their protection or something deeply spiritual. Raven people often walk the line between the worlds, acting as a bridge.

There is no doubt that you can dabble with magic when you walk with Raven. You’ll also find your ability to transform your life in meaningful ways expanding.

Raven spirit challenges you, however, to look honestly at yourself and ask “Never more?” – what hides in the shadows of your being that’s holding you back?

Bring that negativity into the light and cry with the Raven, NEVER MORE.

Raven totem is often found among healers and those who are charged with the sacred duty of helping others initiate into deeper mysteries. You may be a leader who is responsible for protecting others and facilitating healing and growth during times of darkness.

First, however, you may need to heal yourself and embrace your own higher wisdom. Raven totem can reveal your true power and potential as your intuition is sharpened by challenging circumstances. You may go through a difficult path that leads you to be reborn in a significant way when Raven is your totem.

If you have a connection to Raven, meaning this bird has chosen you to share their medicine, take this sacred bond seriously. You’ll have a powerful impact on others, but also have great responsibilities.

Raven Power Animal

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Having the Raven as a power animal is one way to begin learning the language of animals. Raven knows how to change his song, and by listening you can learn much about Nature’s symbols and signs.

Raven Spirit asks for your respect, not your fear. This Being awakens your inner Shaman, and helps stimulate karmic memories. As these memories emerge they will help you deal with something important in the real world or on your spiritual path.

When you walk with raven anticipate change and new perspectives. Be ready to delve into the realms of the unconscious and reaching for your true Be-ing. This is a hard process, but it brings long-lasting healing in mind, body and soul. This is your moment of rebirth.

Raven is intelligent and more communicative than the Parrot. You can learn to adapt to the language of those around you if you work with Raven to listen deeply. Through your intuition and senses, you can come to understand deeper mysteries as well.

When Raven is working with you, you can gain a broader view and even have a spiritual or psychic awakening. Big things are on the horizon and Raven helps you to prepare. Learning to adapt, speak up for yourself and fight back when you have to are all lessons that are part of Raven symbolism.

Raven can also help you take back what is yours. Known for their tendencies to steal shiny objects, Raven symbolism is also about being attracted to what holds value for you. Don’t be afraid to reclaim what is yours. Often this comes in the form of healing past traumas or healing your Inner Child.

Native American Raven Symbolic Meanings

What do Ravens symbolize to Native Americans?

Various Native American tribes tell stories of Raven as the creator of the world including the Inuit and Salish tribes. Nonetheless, Raven is also a trickster who paired humans together and acted as a protector and provider.

In some stories it is Raven that steals and releases the sun similarly to Prometheus. In Native American symbolism, Raven is considered a powerful totem whose presence aided in rituals. In some Native traditions, the Raven’s song was symbolic of sexual power and temptation.

Native American symbolism for Raven includes connection to your ability to shift your states of consciousness. Changing your awareness and embracing the power of mystery and secrets are all part of Raven’s symbolic meaning.

Native Americans revere Raven as a Messenger. Of all the Native American animals sacred to ritual and lore, Raven is symbolic of the power of magic and important messages carried across time and space.

Raven’s black color has symbolic meaning. This is the color of the void from which all things originated and to which all things will return. Specific Raven meanings can vary from tribe to tribe, but one thing is universal, when considering bird symbolism, Raven is one of the most powerful creatures you may work with.

Raven Christianity Symbolism

Raven symbolism in Christianity is often associated with the story of Noah’s Ark. It is said that the Ravens feasted on the bodies of those who did not survive the flood. In Christianity, this is often interpreted as a rebuke of God’s will.

Ravens, it is said, were banished from the Ark and have come to be symbolic of defiance of God. Other stories depict Raven trying to bargain with Noah for entry to the Ark, but Noah refusing. Thus, the symbolism of Ravens as tricksters is inherent in this version of the story.

Some Christians go as far as to associate Raven’s symbolic meaning with evil or the Devil. This may in part be because of the bird’s pre-Christian associations with death and the afterlife. It could also be symbolism derived from the Raven’s attraction to the dead and dying, providing sustenance for the bird.

St. Augustine associated Raven symbolism as indicating impurity and procrastination, yet they are also protective and empowering, helping us awaken to our larger vision. As their powerful spirit is here to remind us, it’s all in how you look at it.

When you have a positive and balanced outlook toward death as a natural part of the evolution of the Soul, Raven symbolism need not be seen in such an ominous light.

We can also see Raven as doing an important job of cleansing and cleaning by disposing of the dead. Raven’s link to death and the afterlife can help us see Raven as a special intermediary between the worlds.

Indeed, Raven is also portrayed favorably elsewhere in the Bible. After his death, St. Vincent of Saragossa was protected by Ravens who guarded his body until internment at what would later become his shrine. Saint Benedict of Nursia was saved by the intervention of a Raven who ate poisoned bread, sparing the Saint’s life.

In the book of Luke, Jesus makes a positive example of the symbolic meaning of Ravens. His reference to Ravens was given as an illustration of God’s bounty. By pointing out that Ravens neither sow nor reap yet are provided for by God, Jesus aligns the Raven as symbolic of abundance and faith.

As you work with Raven, you may be called to examine your deeper, subconscious (Raven territory!) beliefs about mysteries, secrets, darkness, death, purity and holiness.

As you do, you may find that some things you once feared are actually sources of great power and protection. This is part of the lesson Raven symbolism teaches.

Bird symbolism abounds in Christian beliefs, and while Raven meaning can be controversial, it’s best to consider a broad array of perspectives, seeing the light and shadow side of Raven symbolism and meaning.

Raven as a Celtic Animal Symbol

Celtic tradition associated the Raven with numerous bigger-than-life figures including the goddess Morriigan, Bran the Blessed (who was thought to have the power to protect a whole city), and the sun god Lugh, just to name a few. Throughout the Celtic regions Raven represented war and death as well as magical mysteries and prophetic abilities.

Raven’s symbolic meanings, like that of other specific birds, is that of messenger. Often, stories and lore involve Raven doing the work of the Deities and acting as a messenger or intermediary.

Raven is symbolic of battle, protection and fighting for what you believe in. This is partly due to the symbolism of the Warrior Goddess the Morrigan, whose favor would determine the outcome on the battlefield. The Morrigan was said to shapeshift into the form of a Raven, and in this guise was known as Badb.

Thus, to have Raven working with you could give you advanced insight into your adversary’s battle strategy and could also help you know what moves to make to win the battle.

Even if you’re not fighting on a battlefield today, Raven as a Power Animal can still lend the energy and focus you may need in order to outwit an adversary. Raven can help you fight back and stand your ground in the midst of a challenging situation.

Celtic culture spanned across a broad region and variations on symbolic meanings can be found in different areas. To the Welsh, Bran, also known as Bran the Blessed, whose name means Raven, represents the protective qualities of this bird.

It is said that Bran’s head was buried outside the city walls as a talisman of protection. There is also a belief that having a child drink from the skull of a Raven would bring blessings and protection as well.

The Welsh story from the book The Dreams of Rhonabwy in which Owain mab Urien is playing chess with King Arthur. Owain pleads with King Arthur to make his people stop tormenting his Ravens. Arthur refuses and the Ravens seek revenge by killing many of Arthur’s attendants.

In this story, the Ravens are able to fend for themselves and seek revenge against their abusers, they also form their own battle as Owain and Arthur play a strategic war game. The symbolism here may be the twofold aspects of battle, immediate defense and carefully plotted strategy.

Raven symbolism is also associated with divination and prophecy. The Norse God Odin, also called Wotan, was said to be gifted with the Runes and prophecy by Raven as he hung suspended from Yggdrasil.

In exchange, Raven plucked out one of Odin’s eyes. Raven symbolism in this case has to do with sacrifice and giving up one way of seeing in exchange for broader psychic vision.

Raven Dreams

What does a Raven symbolize when you encounter this bird in your dreams?

Dreams about Ravens symbolize transformation and dreaming of a Raven or Ravens is letting you know that change is right around the corner – particularly in your perspectives.

Raven may be calling to you to take your magic to new levels, or reminding you of an important lesson. In either case, there’s about to be a LOT of activity in your life, so prepare accordingly.

Raven symbolism in dreams, contrary to what some believe, doesn’t indicate someone close to you is close to dying. Rather, Ravens can portend a journey, transformation, the need to change your consciousness or perception, or a symbolic death and rebirth.

Raven can also present a link to your departed loved ones or Ancestors when this powerful bird appears in your dreams.

Some people associate dreams about Raven as symbolic of a quest or hunt. To catch a Raven or to be in the process of stalking a Raven, then is symbolic of your progress toward your goal.

Some believe that Ravens appearing in dreams represent arrogance or interactions with an arrogant person. Other symbolic meanings in dream lore have to do with Raven being symbolic of criminal activity, committing a crime in order to prosper, for example. Some believe Ravens are a bad omen when they appear in dreams, predicting some negative event to come.

However, keep in mind that Raven has often gotten a bad rap. Some of the lore and associations with Raven and negative events can stem from cultures in which death, change, power, magic and mysteries are feared rather than seen as part of the cycle of life.

The exact dream symbolism will depend largely on your individual culture and cultural view of the Raven, as dreams are communication from your own subconscious mind.

Learn more about Raven Spirit by reading What Do Dreams About Raven Mean? on WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com!

Raven in Astrology & Zodiac Signs

Raven is one of the 12 Native American Zodiac Signs.

People born under the sign of the Raven have high energy levels and a passion for success. Raven people will not give up easily. You are here to beat the odds turning disadvantages into benefits.

The Raven corresponds to the Western Astrological sign of Scorpio and the Monkey in the Chinese Astrological calendar. In these associations we see the playfulness inherent in Raven as well as the “fire” of the Scorpio.

When Raven souls manifest their personal power its quite a spectacle to behold. Their quick minds and cunning rarely let them down. However, in their youth Ravens must learn how to respect their animal traits and not use them for harm or selfishness.

Far Eastern Raven Symbolic Meanings

China, Japan and Korea have overlapping imagery for Raven and Crow, with stories referring to a solar creature that moved the sun, cleansed the land after terrible battles, and acted as a guide for sacred journeys. In this respect, if you are pondering a pilgrimage call upon Raven for company and advice.

There is a Hindu tradition of offering a departed loved one’s favorite meal to the Crows or Ravens. They believe that if the bird partakes of the offering, it is a positive omen, showing that your loved one is at peace and happy in the Spirit realm.

The sound of Raven’s cawing in the Hindu culture is associated with grief and suffering. Thus, the offering of food is symbolic of an act of nurturing and appeasement. By tending to the calling Raven, those grieving the loss of a loved one are also nourishing the Spirit and helping to facilitate the mourning process.

To the Chinese, Ravens appearing were considered an omen of bad weather approaching. In this regard, the Raven’s symbolism echoes the role of messenger or portend of coming changes.

The Japanese lore, the mystical figures called Karasu Tengu, also known as Raven Tengu, are creatures who are half man, half bird. They are synonymous with Raven, Crow and Black Birds in general. Not quite deities, these beings live in the forests.

It is said that they revealed the mysteries of the Martial Arts to mankind. Thus, as in Celtic symbolism, here again the Raven is associated with the blending of spiritual paths and combat or self-defense.

In Eastern cultures, Crow and Raven don’t have the negative connotations often associated with this bird’s symbolism in modern western cultures. The Crow is the symbol used for the Japanese National Soccer Team and Raven is often depicted on Shinto shrines, for example.

Raven Tattoo Meaning

As you can see, the symbolism and meaning associated with Raven can vary widely depending on where you are in the world or what religion or cultural practices you follow. Raven’s powerful symbolism has permeated into modern pop culture as well.

But what do Ravens symbolize as a tattoo?

Raven meaning can be specific to the individual whose body is adorned with the image of this powerful bird.

When you see a Raven tattoo, it could mean someone is dedicated to the Goddess Morrigan. It could mean they just really like Edgar Allen Poe.

In Japan, the Raven Tattoo may symbolize Yatagarasu, the Raven who led the Emperor Jimmu to Nara.

Although many cultures revere the Raven for different reasons, the common themes are found when you simply study this bird’s habits. Ravens, across the board, are considered special. Linked to death, rebirth, initiation and the afterlife. Ravens are intelligent, cunning, resourceful and communicative both verbally and nonverbally. They are associated with death, rebirth, wisdom, psychic connection and magic.

When you decide to get a Raven tattoo, you are adorning your body with an image symbolic of all of the above traits. Are you calling these traits to you, or finally acknowledging the power that has been latent within you this whole time?

Raven Spiritual Meaning

Raven’s spiritual significance has to do with initiation, rebirth and the powerful wisdom and insights that come from these initiations. Heeding important messages from the Divine, awakening your higher consciousness and releasing what is keeping you from seeing the full picture.

Regardless of your specific religious or cultural path, the larger spiritual connection to Raven is all about being flexible, adaptable, and finding the wisdom in battles you may face. Raven meaning can vary from an omen of initiation to a need to adapt and use your magic and medicine in the world.

Raven is a trickster and thus reminds you that you have the ability to outwit others when you may need to. Raven is also a healer, reminding you to not use your cunning to harm but for the good of the collective.

Raven can help guide you as you navigate difficult life circumstances, yet even as you face the Dark Night of the Soul, Raven helps you find your voice and learn to see what is unseen.

75 thoughts on “Raven Symbolism & Meaning

  1. Jael says:

    I have lived in my apartment for 7 years and only recently a raven has perched utop the light post in front of my door. I went outside for some air on a particularly spiritual night for me. There he was, sitting above me, looking at me and making rattling sounds that I ave never heard a raven make. I bowed my head to him, acknowledging him as a spirit animal and he bowed back at me and made a soft rattling sound after every time I spoke to this awesome bird. He now does this often, and other ravens have joined in. I can always pick him out of the crowd however, because he is the biggest, blackest, most gorgeous raven i have ever seen. He often flies beside our vehicle when we drive down our road, and perches right above my window ledge to the roof. When he comes in for the land, I can really appreciate how big he really is, blocking out a good portion of the light when he flies up above my large bay windows. He is always leading the other ravens. There are five. Most of the time he brings just one other with him. All he represents makes sense in my life at this particular time and I find it fascinating. I began to look for meanings of this as we live on Native American (originally) land, and in a place named by Native Americans. I have been in awe of what I have read here and on other sites about the appearance of these intelligent and magical messengers.

  2. Lynn says:

    Thank you for your information I like reading and understanding more about Ravens and Crows their behaviors are very interesting

    • Jennifer Walston says:

      I was just praying out loud buy myself and a raven showed up in front of my window so I threw bread out thinking he was hungry but he never came back I was just wondering what would that mean

      • Jennifer Walston says:

        I’m sorry I meant to respond on your comment

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