There’s something magical about birds.
What other creature can fly so high? No wonder they’ve always been a symbol of spiritual communication. It’s believed this air travel makes them divine messengers.
Every bird brings a unique message, but few are as significant as the raven. Some view them as bad omens. Others see them as symbols of rebirth. The real meaning of a raven depends on you.
Are you seeing ravens around you or dreaming about them? Read on to discover raven symbolism and spiritual meanings.
What Does Raven Symbolize?
For centuries raven symbolism has existed in literature, religion, folklore, and mythology. These blackbirds get seen as a bad omen, partially due to their exceptional intelligence, dark feathers, and habit of eating meat when available, especially on a battlefield.
However, ravens are common birds throughout the northern hemisphere, embodying different meanings to different cultures.
Ravens have impressive cognitive skills and follow a social order. They can mimic the calls of other birds and can even learn to fetch. Their natural intelligence makes them a symbol of wisdom but also betrayal.
To some, the symbolism in the raven is divine intervention and rebirth. To others, viewing a raven could be a warning sign of betrayal in your life.
Ravens in Different Mythologies and Cultures
Ravens are frequently in folklore from cultures around the world. However, a raven embodies different meanings depending on the culture. Learn more about raven symbolism in various mythologies and cultures below.
Norse mythology praises the raven as a symbol of protection and wisdom. Why? Because the raven is one of the few animals that can fly in the sky and commune with the Norse god Odin.
In Nordic mythology, Odin sacrificed one of his eyes for wisdom. To compensate for his partial blindness, Odin had his pet ravens, Huginn and Muninn, be his eyes as protectors and watchers of the world.
Instead of an omen of death, Nordic mythology sees ravens on a battlefield as a positive sign that Odin is watching.
In Celtic mythology, ravens symbolize war, darkness, prophecies from the gods, and sometimes death. Ravens are prominent throughout Celtic myths, with various Celtic goddesses who are associated with the raven. Most notably, the goddess Morrigan takes the shape of a raven in Celtic folklore.
In some Celtic tales, ravens appear as messengers from the gods with prophecies about who’ll be victorious in upcoming battles.
The name of a prominent Welsh god, Bran the Blessed, is commonly depicted as a raven since Bran in Welsh translates to raven.
Yatagarasu is the most famous raven from Japanese mythology. This three-legged raven symbolizes divine intervention because the Japanese myth shares how Yatagarasu led an emperor from one place to another before a great victory.
The raven is commonly depicted in many Japanese prints and is regarded as a symbol of rebirth and rejuvenation.
Native American Culture
While Native American folklore differs depending on the tribe, there are exciting stories from tribes along the Northwestern coasts that depict the raven as a trickster.
The raven has a place in Native American culture as a creator of light. However, the raven uses treachery to convince a man hiding the light to unbox it. As soon as the man lets out the light, the raven, disguised as a man, reveals his raven form, steals the light, and flies away. Only after an eagle scares does the raven drop some and create partial darkness or nighttime.
In Christianity, ravens represent perseverance, patience, divine intervention, and overcoming adversity through faith.
The book of Genesis shares the story of Noah and the Ark and makes the raven the first animal named in the Bible. Noah releases a raven to scout for land to signal that the flood is over and dry land is near. However, the raven only flies back and forth, symbolizing that Noah must have patience and faith.
In the book of 1 Kings, God tells Elijah he’ll provide him with food through ravens. In the story, the ravens bring Elijah bread and meat every morning and night, making these black birds a Christian symbol of God’s provision.
Are Ravens a Bad Omen?
In many cultures, seeing a raven is a bad omen that can signify loss, death, or betrayal. The term for a flock of ravens is called an unkindness of ravens.
Ravens are seen as bad omens or symbols of death because many cultures associate the raven with the spoils of war.
However, in other cultures, ravens are revered as wise creatures who can intervene on behalf of the divine. Instead of seeing ravens as bad omen, some view this bird’s presence as a symbol of nearby mystical forces, spiritual rebirth, healing, or great transformation.
Meaning of Frequent Raven Sighting
Raven symbolism differs based on what perspective you’re viewing the omen from. A raven can symbolize significant changes often from turbulent times or challenging conversations.
It can seem like a bad thing to spot ravens frequently. However, the symbolism in the raven calls onlookers to investigate the meaning behind why ravens are around you so often.
If you view ravens from a negative perspective, you’ll focus on the significant shifts about to happen and the challenges you may soon face. If you view it positively, you’ll see raven symbolism as a sign of growth, wisdom, and perseverance.
You’re About to Experience Big Change
If you frequently see ravens, it might be a sign that you’re about to experience a big change in your life. Ravens symbolize rebirth because they feast on the spoils of war so that they can grow strong.
However, remember the treacherous and wise nature of these birds. Significant changes can come from challenges, so it’s easy to view ravens as bad omens. That said, ravens use hardship and their intelligence to persevere, so viewing ravens should be seen as a sign of mysterious forces nearby urging you to continue striving.
You Have to Pay Attention How You Treat Others
If you’ve noticed ravens following you when you walk, perching near your home, or soaring into your dreams, paying attention to how you’re treating others might be a warning.
Ravens are intelligent and social creatures, but they can be mischievous. If your personality is like a raven, seeing them often indicates that you need to be more forthcoming and stop tricking or messing with people.
You’re In a Stressful Relationship
When ravens show up often, it could symbolize that you’re in a stressful relationship. Ravens symbolize divine intervention while also viewed as a bad omen and a sign of betrayal. If you’re not the one who’s being mischievous, the ravens circling overhead are likely calling attention to betrayal in your own life.
Are you lying to yourself about being happy in the relationship? Or the other member of the relationship is keeping something from you. Seeing ravens should alert you that you and your friend, family member, or partner must have a serious conversation.
What if You Dream About Raven?
Ravens can take shape in your dreamscape as a flying raven, a raven totem, black feathers, or even talking ravens. So, what does raven symbolism mean in dreams? Ravens in your dreams can mean different things depending on your life situation.
A talking raven could signify that you’re about to have or need a meaningful and life-changing conversation. Ravens are intelligent birds that can mimic sounds and other bird calls. Having a talking raven in a dream may mean that you need to speak up or that someone in your life isn’t being fully honest with their words.
The symbolism in the raven totem, flying ravens, or even black feathers in your dreams can reveal a shift about to take place, a message of caution from the divine, or a signal that wisdom is coming your way in the form of a lesson.
If you’ve seen ravens more often than usual, it’s essential to question the symbolism in the raven sightings.
These black birds get negative attention with some interpretations of raven symbolism calling them tricksters, bringers of death, or even bad omens. In contrast, others view raven symbolism as a sign from the divine that the presence of god is near, that more caution is needed in your life, or that a mighty change is in the air.
Want to learn more about omens and the meanings of your dreams? Contact a spiritual advisor to help you interpret your dreams and find meaning in the symbols that frequent your life.