The Deep Meaning Behind Raven Symbolism

raven symbolism

The bold symbology of the raven is almost universally understood, whether you see it as an omen of peace or war. He is a protector and a loyal companion, as well as a symbol that strikes fear into the hearts of enemies. The raven is a cunning and intelligent bird that should not be underestimated. The raven’s strong and powerful presence speaks for itself.

Raven Symbolism

Dark, grim and mysterious, in Western culture the raven is often associated with nefarious and infernal messages. Accustomed to feeding on carcasses it directly invokes the image of death and lifeless bodies.

If we study the legends of other peoples, from the Celtic Irish to the American Indians, here the raven evokes powerfully positive and fascinating atmospheres, in stark contrast to the symbolism of Christian Europe.

For American tribes, for example, the raven is in direct contact with the Great Spirit, a powerful conduit between the world of the living and the realm of the dead.

Positive symbol or negative symbol? It depends on how you choose to look at the raven. Behind the same image, in fact, infinite meanings can be hidden, and there are very few animals to which such opposite atmospheres are attributed.

The raven is a complex symbol. Really, the raven is dense with different, opposing interpretations scattered across time and space.

But at the same time, the raven has a simple representation, black, majestic, with a pronounced beak and strong talons, it is extremely beautiful and easy to represent. Regardless of the meaning, you may associate with it, being highly characterized, it is ideal for pendants, icons, and tattoos.

Ravens are resourceful scavengers, and it is believed that this is where some of their negative stigmas stem from. They were frequently found scavenging parts from the fallen in the aftermath of battle.

Given that war is not a location-specific event, it stands to reason that this is a common way for people to encounter the mysterious bird.

The raven’s eccentric habits have earned it a bad reputation as a trickster and thief. Ravens, one of nature’s most notorious collectors, will take shiny objects and food whether or not they belong to someone.

The cunning avian is well-known for stealing chicken eggs and other gleaming items to store in their nests. These cunning creatures truly rival the sly fox’s reputation.


Difference between a Raven and a Crow

It can be difficult to tell whether an ancient story depicts a raven or a crow – or a common ancestor of both species. Both birds are members of the Corvidae, or corvid family.

Magpies, jays, rooks, jackdaws, nutcrackers, treepies, and choughs are also members of this family.

Even though the raven and the crow appear to be very similar, especially with their shiny black feathers, there are differences between the two.

However, whether in large groups or with their significant other, both of these birds are monogamous and thought to mate for life.

raven and crow difference

Raven left Crow right

One of the most noticeable differences is that ravens are typically larger than crows. Furthermore, ravens prefer to hang out in pairs, always with their mate.

Crows, on the other hand, prefer to congregate in large groups. Another difference is that the Ravens have a raspy, throaty call.

Ravens in Greek and Roman Mythology

The raven was closely associated with the god Apollo and goddess Athena among the ancient Greeks and Romans. According to legend, the raven once had snow-white feathers until Apollo sent the raven to spy on his lover Coronis.

When the raven returned with news of Coronis’ infidelity, Apollo threw the bird into a fire, scorching its feathers. This is said to be why ravens have midnight-black feathers.

Ravens in Christian culture

Ravens were considered unclean in the Hebrew/Christian tradition, representing impurity, mortification, destruction, deception, and desolation. Noah cursed ravens for failing to return to the ark with news of the flood’s receding.

However, the Bible also claims that ravens were the prophets’ protectors, feeding Elijah and Paul the Hermit in the wilderness. Ravens also aided St. Cuthbert and St. Bernard.

Ravens represent both the solitude of holy hermits and the souls of wicked priests and witches in contradictory Christian traditions.

Not everyone throughout history believes that the raven’s darkness is an omen of its disobedience and misbehavior. Many cultures regard the raven as a devoted companion who brings light and good news.

Raven Symbolism Native American

Each Native American tribe has its own collection of creation myths and traditions. They all share a reverence for animals and the natural world, however. The raven is regarded as a powerful being in Native American culture.

They are a shapeshifter who can shift from bird to human and back.

The raven was considered the wisest of birds in Native American legends, even having the ability to speak.

Raven symbolism Celtic

The raven was associated with battle for the ancient Celts. Ravens, as carrion-eating birds, were undoubtedly present at battle scenes.

Ravens are associated with the Celtic goddess Morrigan, who was the goddess of war and death.

The Celts believed the ravens helped her defeat her warriors’ foes.

Ravens were associated with the Scottish goddess Cailleach Bheure, who was the goddess of rebirth and fertility.

Furthermore, the Celts associated their sun god Lugh, who was a master of artisans, skills, and warfare, with ravens.

Ravens in Norse Mythology

Ravens were very important birds in Norse mythology, and they held a sacred place. This was primarily due to their close relationship with the mighty Odin, also known as the Raven god.

According to Norse legends, Odin was frequently accompanied by two ravens named Huginn and Muginn. Huginn was said to symbolize the power of thought and the active pursuit of knowledge. Muginn, the other raven, represents the mind and its intuition.

odin with Huginn and Muninn

Odin with Huginn and Muginn

These devoted avian creatures would soar through the skies, gathering information and returning to their master to recount the day’s noteworthy events. Odin is said to have given ravens the ability to speak because of their continued loyalty and companionship.

There is a collection of poems in the 13th century Poetic Edda that discuss ravens in terms of Odin’s two pet ravens.

Other writers mention the birds alongside Valkyries, beautiful female creatures tasked with guiding the souls of fallen warriors to Valhalla.

A discussion between a Valkyrie and a raven about the life and exploits of the first King of Norway, Harald Fairhair, is recounted in the 9th-century poem Hrafnsmál.

Raven Symbolism during the Viking Age

Many Vikings revered and worshiped Odin as the most powerful Norse deity. As a result, it is understandable that they regarded ravens as sacred birds. Keeping this in mind, the first and most obvious symbolism is that ravens represented Odin.

This is based on numerous depictions of Odin with Huginn and Muninn. As a result, the Vikings believed that they were a symbol of his presence and used them to worship Odin.

If a raven happened to fly overhead them during a battle, they took it as a sign that they were in Odin’s favor and would win. Aside from their association with Odin, ravens played an important role in the Vikings’ daily lives.

The first role was that of survival. In addition to being seafarers, Vikings were hunters and gatherers at some point.. As a carrion feeder, the raven would follow a hunter looking for a game and then invite itself to eat.

Ravens that circled a specific area where there was ready game aided Viking hunters in the same way.

Because they needed each other to survive, they formed a strong bond. Even during their sea voyages, the ravens proved useful.

The Vikings knew that seeing a raven in the sky meant that land was close by; all they had to do was follow it. Vikings interpreted it as Odin guiding them through the sea to safety.

However, the reasoning was also that ravens rarely flew so far away from shore.


Ravens in Hindu tradition

During the Hindu tradition of Sradda, or ancestor worship, it is common to see people offering food to ravens, which are thought to be reincarnations of one’s ancestors.

Caring for and feeding ravens is regarded as a sign of respect in many parts of the world. Similar customs have been observed among Native North American tribes who revere the raven as a powerful deity.

Raven In Chinese Mythology

In Chinese mythology, ravens are considered a solar symbol. The three-legged raven lives in the sun and represents the three phases of the sun: rising, noon, and setting. When the sun shines just right on their glossy black feathers, they appear to turn silver.

Raven as a spirit guide

The raven spirit animal can be a helpful guide as you travel the path of your soul. According to Native American beliefs, you do not choose your spirit animal; rather, they choose you.

You can also have more than one. A spirit animal will choose you when you are on a vision quest or another powerful experience that affects the course of your life, according to Native Americans.

Take note if a raven catches your eye, whether in person or through art, media, or elsewhere. There are no accidents. Your spirit animal acts as a guide, bringing you messages from the Universe to help you on your journey to enlightenment.

If the raven is your spirit animal, you have the ability to see things that others may not see. When you have this level of awareness, including psychic abilities, it is critical that you use your abilities to be a force for good in the world.

The raven is revered as a spirit of change, creation, and new life by many Native American tribes. There are many different versions of the raven’s creation story.

Some say he stole the sun, moon, and stars from a powerful chief who wanted to keep them for himself. He threw light into the sky and created the world.

Some believe that the world began with nothing more than darkness, water, and a raven carrying a satchel. The raven grew tired of circling the darkness and wished for a place to rest. He dropped a stone from his beak’s satchel into the water below, forming an island.

The mystical creature found the new land to be too barren when it arrived. Trees, plants, and all land and sea animals were extracted from the satchel and dispersed throughout the world.

Regardless of which story is told, the raven is clearly regarded as a powerful being. It is believed that these creatures appear to people in times of need to offer guidance and advice.

A raven is frequently depicted on totem poles and other spiritual artifacts.

The appearance of ravens in dreams is interpreted as a sign from a higher power sending a spirit guide to assist with difficult decisions.

Edgar Allan Poe and the raven

Edgar Allan Poe is the most commonly associated with the enigmatic creature. His infamous poem The Raven is one of the most debated works of literature to this day.

People all over the world are still fascinated by Poe’s embrace of the macabre raven. With its sorrowful and grief-stricken symbolism, this timeless work has enchanted generations and given rise to the mention of ravens in modern culture.

The raven is initially disturbing in Edgar Alan Poe’s poem The Raven, which was inspired by another work of literature – Charles Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty.

In both stories, the raven raises the consciousness of the main characters.

Buy Raven Jewelry

Without a doubt, and the story speaks for itself, the raven is not only a fascinating animal, but also full of symbolism and meaning. That is why more and more people even celebrities are wearing necklaces symbolizing this enigmatic animal.


For these reasons, the demand for raven jewelry has increased significantly in recent years. Wearing raven-themed clothing and jewelry is a great way to show your admiration for the astute bird.

Finding the ideal raven jewelry piece can be challenging and time-consuming, especially if you lack inspiration or don’t know where to look.

Surflegacy, has you covered. We have a wide range of jewelry in various styles, shapes, colors, and materials.

Unisex Raven Skull Pendant on leather

Whatever you wear, you’ll find the perfect trendy piece to complement your wardrobe. Our jewelry is designed to be worn every day, no matter where you go or what season it is. Are you ready to step up your wardrobe game?

Mjolnir Raven Skull Necklace

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