Raven Symbolism – Totem, Spiritual Animal And Dream Meaning

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raven Symbolism

Ravens are one of the most important and prevalent symbols in mythology, literature, art, and religion around the world. Their dark feathers often represent death or rebirth while their intelligence is a symbol for knowledge. Ravens have been historically associated with evil omens but also stand as a protector of secrets. In this blog post, we will explore what these ravens mean to you personally and how they can be incorporated into your own life through symbolism.

Noah proved to everyone that he wasn’t crazy when he chose to release a raven from the ark to see if the waters from the great flood have receded. Known to be comparable to chimpanzees and dolphins when it comes to intelligence, they have been associated with dark omens and death due perhaps to their persona being enshrouded with mystery. Unlike their more popular cousins such as the magpie and crows, not a lot is known about these amazing birds which led us to come up with a post about the fascinating raven symbolism.

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”

Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven

Spiritual Meaning of the Raven

The raven is a powerful symbol of the dark side, death, and rebirth. In many cultures across the world, these meanings are found in either rituals or myths about the bird.

Raven symbolism is also tied to the spiritual realm. In many cultures, ravens are seen as keepers of secrets and implementers of change.

The Major Symbolism of the Raven

The Dark Side

The raven symbolism is often intertwined with death or rebirth in a number of ways due to their black feathers that can be so easily interpreted for the color of the night or even shadows themselves. Perhaps this symbology stems from when they were associated with war (they were said to have flown alongside Odin) and would return after battles carrying either victory or defeat on their wings according to Norse mythology.


Ravens also symbolize death because sometimes people see them feeding off human remains while other times they’re found at funerals–especially those where Christian rituals like Holy Communion take place since it’s commonly known scripture.


Ravens are also symbols of wisdom because they are among the few animals that can communicate with humans (most notably in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven”).


The ravens’ black color also symbolizes rebirth, both through their association with death as well as when they’re seen carrying messages from one world to another.


Raven are also symbols of transformation because they were originally considered to be both a creator and destroyer gods.

Ravens are also symbols of creation because their black feathers symbolize the darkness that preceded all light, according to Norse mythology. Read more about the raven feather meaning.


Raven symbolism can represent a change in several ways, primarily through its association with war (as ravens sometimes rouse either victory or defeat on their wings) as well as a rebirth for when the birds return after being absent from places like Scotland for nearly two centuries following James VI’s banishment order against them.

The humble bird has also long been associated with messages from ancestors, warriors delivering news about conquest in battle, wise women who knew how to heal illnesses, and deity figures themselves.

Ravens possess the unique ability to mimic animal noises and birdcalls. Not only that but they are also known to be better than parrots in terms of talking and can amazingly and eerily imitate human speech. Such a display of remarkable brilliance drove many to believe that this bird is a symbol of intellect and wisdom.

Having a raven as your spirit animal signifies that a strong and mysterious force is guiding you since they are a representation of the mystical ways of the universe. Although their presence signifies that you can be both attractive and fearsome to others, ravens often serve as a reminder to listen and understand the messages that they convey to you.

Spiritual Meaning

Like most birds, ravens are perceived to be messengers of God, encouraging us to simply look deep within ourselves when we seek to find answers at times we feel the need for change. Not only do ravens inspire us to meditate and reflect on our possible misgivings in the past, but they also provide us with the strength to heal and experience rebirth and renewal without fear.

Often, possibly due to the blackness of their plume, ravens are perceived to be carriers of bad omens, masked with mysticism. But rather, they stimulate us spiritually to turn the negative into a positive, to find comfort within ourselves, and to serve as the light in life’s darkest moments.

Some people see these large black birds with a deep terrifying gaze as the incarnation of damned souls and exorcized spirits, disguising themselves to deceive the world of its evil. However, heeding to the raven as a spirit animal, one should see them as a guide towards their own spiritual transformations, knowledge, and divination. Read more about the symbolism of the crow here.

What Does Seeing a Raven Mean?

Seeing a Raven can be an exciting moment when it represents that the day has been full of ‘good fortune’. Ravens are often associated with death and rebirth in mythology so seeing one is a symbol of luck.

Seeing an Eagle can be seen as good luck while a Raven might signify bad because they’re considered to be evil omens. Most people believe you will have more opportunities if you see either an Eagle or a Raven but not both at once! However, in other cultures ravens represent knowledge which could mean wisdom and insight into future events. Seeing these birds means your mind is open to new information and ready to take on challenges ahead.

When a raven suddenly flies into your life, it is often an indication that you need utter support and guidance. Behind their extremely playful nature lie spiritual signs or messages that may explain the reason behind the presence of these mischievous and whimsical birds.

Here are a few of the probable reasons why this spirit animal would pay you a visit:

  • The awe-inspiring wisdom that you possess draws people to you. Yet, it is your fortitude and strength in lending them a hand that will have you rewarded.
  • Ravens are attracted to the chosen few that are surrounded by mystical forces. These forces may deem you as intimidating to others, thus the need for you to be mindful of your actions and words.
  • As a spirit guide, they can sense when you are in need of spiritual rebirth or a great transformation. They arrive as agents of change.
  • Though treading the dark does not bother you, ravens instinctively recognize your divine plea for the darkness in your life to be cast, allowing light to shine on the path for your spiritual recovery and healing.
What Does Seeing A Raven Mean

Ravens allow their presence to be known when the call to reflect on your character and life arises. Seeing them, the raven symbolism stands for a strong and mysterious spiritual force that is present and that this energy affects the people around you negatively. Amid such an occurrence, ravens would often show up and play the role of a guide through your soul-searching process.

Raven Totem

For some, the raven’s appearance corresponds to death and a bad omen. As an animal totem though, these birds imply that a spiritual transformation is afoot and that they have arrived to guide you through all of it. Such realizations happen when you have come to a point when you feel that your life is at a standstill.

The Raven People

Ravens are highly spiritual totem animals that indicate that you are a person who has the ability to see through someone else’s eyes. Raven people have an innate sense of curiosity which makes them good at finding new solutions and exploring different avenues that can lead to success.

The raven is seen as both wise and cunning, often using its intelligence for purposes other than what it was intended for — such as when the raven in Aesop’s fable tricked Zeus into revealing his secret plans by bringing him a plucked olive leaf instead of an offering from one of his own trees.

Ravens also represent knowledge because their behavior signifies how they never miss out on anything going around them while staying hidden in plain sight.

The raven totem may also illustrate spiritual cleansing as they bring forth light and happiness to drive the darkness away from your life and spirit. Their manifestation may signify your necessity to stop dawdling and learn that every moment counts, to grasp the importance of acting appropriately and the gravity of saying the right words at the right time.

raven totem

Spirit Animal

The raven spirit animal is an indication of your ability to learn quickly and how you use your creative, crafty, and resourceful traits to overcome challenges and figure out solutions to problems. Ravens encourage you to face your fears and accept defeat with integrity, always finding the good from your setbacks.

Spiritually, ravens imply mythical forces available to you and how they work and affect each aspect of your life. They serve as guides and inspiration, motivating you to bring about success by using your artistry and imagination. Ravens are also fierce reminders of the comfort of solitude and the beauty of embracing life even though you are on your own.

The Raven Symbolism in Different Cultures

In Norse Mythology

In Norse mythology, the Raven was a symbol of both death and rebirth. This is because ravens were often seen as guiding souls into the afterlife, bringing news from the battlefield or forewarning omens to follow.

Many people believe that Odin sends two ravens out at dawn every day: Huginn (“thought”) and Muninn (“mind”) who fly every day over the world reporting back to Odin. These two ravens then come to represent thought and memory in Norse mythology as well as representing thinking about your past or future- which are both things that can be considered important for wisdom.

In Native American Culture

Ravens are a key totem animal for many Native American tribes. They represent the balance of life and death, light and dark, good fortune and bad luck. For example, when ravens fly into your home it may be seen as an omen from either Raven or Coyote depending on which culture you live in.

  • The Haida tribe sees this event as a sign that someone is coming to visit while they prepare themselves with food.
  • In Navajo mythology, if two ravens caw at each other near human habitation then there will soon be pain followed by joy in that space–often interpreted through family relationships or personal journeys within traditional healing ceremonies.
  • The Mowhawk tribe, however, sees the raven’s role as being of a messenger and helper to those who are lost in the wilderness.

In Greek Culture

In ancient Greece, ravens were seen as not only intelligent but also benevolent. One of the most famous raven stories is that of Apollo’s choice between a crow and a raven to decide who would be his assistant. The Raven won by virtue of its beauty, intelligence, and ability to speak in human language while crows are ugly with raucous voices and know nothing besides making noise all day long. As time went on Greek mythology turned darker when the gods became mortal men through death or catastrophe. Ravens then took their place in representing evil omens such as predicting battles or scaring away an army before victory could be achieved.

In Christian Culture

For Christians, the Raven is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The raven was the only bird in Noah’s Ark that brought no warning to humans about an upcoming flood, and this has been seen as a sign from God for Christians who feel they are being swept away by life’s floods (i.e., temptation).

In Christian art, the Raven also symbolizes death or resurrection because it can be found guarding both tombs and holy sites; carrying messages from Heaven to Earth; announcing divine judgment, or revealing hidden secrets– all symbols that point towards its interpretation as a manifestation of Christ himself. It may come as little surprise then, that many medieval churches were adorned with raven sculptures perched high on their spires before later becoming popular roosting places for real-life birds!

2 ravens

The Meaning of Raven in Dreams

When you dream of ravens it is often interpreted as a symbol of death, but this may not be the case for everyone. In dreams, ravens are usually associated with secrets and knowledge that you have yet to learn about yourself.

Raven Meaning in Native American Culture: When encountered from an individual’s perspective in native American culture, raven symbolism stands at being the keeper of wisdom and mystery. The owl also shares these qualities because they both signify immersion into darkness or ignorance- which can represent spirituality or enlightenment respectively depending on how your value those things within yourself.

The raven may be present in a dream to signify the death of someone close, but it could also represent secrets or knowledge that you have yet to learn about yourself. The raven is usually associated with evil omens and dark magic when not being seen as a protector of those who wish for secrecy. There are many interpretations for these birds so if you wake up from one remember that this doesn’t mean your family member is going to die- only time will tell!

“Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven

Raven Tattoo Meaning

Birds are a great choice for a tattoo since they can be both stunning and packed with symbolism. Not exactly a popular choice, but a raven that is brimming with meanings and is hands down one of the coolest designs around. Typically seen as a representation of mystery, darkness, and death raven symbolism also stands for the good within a person.

As an indication of the balance between the negative and the positive, ravens depict the afterlife as well as protection, vision, and secrecy. Their personification of our good and bad qualities perfectly embodies our imperfections; our nature to be human. Raven tattoos are a creative expression of knowledge, intuition, and wisdom, allowing its bearer a path to higher intelligence and better control over the future.

meaning in dreams

How to Incorporate the Symbolism of Ravens into Your Life Today

The Raven Symbolism can help you in your daily life by giving you the courage to take on challenges, instilling knowledge and self-esteem.

The Raven can also represent protection of secrets as they are known for their intelligence and ability to keep a secret if necessary.

To incorporate raven symbolism into your life try incorporating these symbols in various ways such as wearing jewelry that has ravens engraved on it or adding them to an art project like embroidery or needlepoint. Make sure when using this symbol throughout your day that you do not overuse them because they may lose meaning!

Raven Symbolism is one way that we can connect with more elements of ourselves and nature around us through symbolism. The power could be used for good luck, bad luck, wisdom, fearlessness–whatever fits best at your current life stage.

Also, the raven made it on our list: symbolism for pain – check it out!

Raven Symbolism – Conclusion

Ravens bring a higher awareness of our identity. They are known to carry with them omens and bad tidings, but wisdom, strength, and change as well. The mythology that defines these birds is aplenty, but good or not, they have the ability to arrive at the time when you need them most. Still, it all depends on how we receive the raven symbolism since all it aims for is to uncover the trait that we feel best.

Video: The Symbolism of Ravens

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Author: Cynthia Demers
Cynthia is dealing with animals' symbolism and all things spiritual for many years. She wants to help readers achieve balance in physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband.

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