Good symbolism of Ravens

The Misunderstood Raven

Darkness or the light

Black or White

Bad or Good

 

Despair and Death

As they take their final breath

A Guide

To all those who died

 

Or an Omen of tomorrow

Not sorrow

For prophecy

Cras, Cras, Cras

A creator

Not devastator

A messenger for the gods

Or maybe even a god

 

Not darkness just the light

Outside black yet inside white

Not all bad but instead good

 

Look beyond what you see

As does a raven

Muttering cras cras cras

Muttering tomorrow

Look tomorrow and be hopeful

For the raven is a symbol of many

 

raven syctheThrough many cultures we see a raven as a harbinger of death, and a creature of ill will. Often times a raven is portrayed as a trickster.

 

white raven

 

This isn’t like that in every culture or in certain mythologies. In many mythologies and religions also there are stories of why the raven that is black like death now was before a beautiful white bird.

 

GREEK

The once beautiful raven was a messenger for the Greek god Apollo. Some believe that the raven was the talisman for which Apollo derived power for his prophecies and in some stories people believe that Apollo would take on the form of a raven. Then the raven faltered, so Apollo cursed it causing its feathers to turn black for the rest of the ravens existence.

VIKINGS

The vikings revered the ravens. They put them on their banners and their crests. When one roosted on their house they thought that it was good luck. They put so much belief into the power of ravens because of their association with the Norse Gods, both Odin’s Hugin and Munin and the Valkryie.

NORSE

hugin muninThe most common association that ravens have with Norse mythology is the two that are shown sitting on Odin’s shoulders; Hugin (thought) and Munin (mind/memory). For Odin these two ravens would set out everyday and scour the world for information to bring back to Odin every evening. The two ravens      were also the reason for Odin’s ability to predict the future.

Another way that ravens are associated with Norse mythology is through the Valkyrie, Odin’s daughters. Who would work with the ravens to decide the fate of warriors and bring them back to Valhalla. Some even believed that the Valkyrie could even take the form of the raven.

CATHOLICISM/CHRISTIANITY

In christianity and most religions we hear of their selfishness associated with the great flood and Noah’s Ark. They were the first bird sent off to try to find land and to bring back proof to Noah, but they never returned due to their greed; they were too busy feeding off the flesh of all of the drowned/dead animals. Due to their greed they were cursed to having all of their food procured with great difficulty. However they were also sometimes commanded by God. Such as when God commanded the ravens to help Paul or when he commanded ravens to bring Elijah “bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening.” (1 Kings 17:3-6) or when Jesus was being crucified on the mount God commanded them to peck the eyes out of the one thief. However their association with evil they also were associated with some good, such as St. Vincent whose symbol was a raven. In religion they are a contradiction they represent greed but also can represent the holy hermits.

IRISH CELTIC

In the Irish Celtic ravens had a strong underlying meaning of death but they also prophecy. Both the goddess Babd and the goddess Morrigan who both were connected to the raven had the gift of prophecy.  

HAIDA

In Haida myth there is a raven that is a cunning trickster, but this raven is also a creator raven because he was the reason that all the light was brought to the world. The raven may have been a creator but did so in a trickster way. However, nonetheless the raven is responsible for the light in the world.

KORYAKS

An indigenous group of russians that lived on the peninsula Kamchatka. They believed in a raven god, Kutkh. They believe that Kutkh is the creator of everything. They put so much power into Kutkh that some of them believe that land was created by his feces and water from his excreted waters.

ASIAN

yatagarusuYatagarasu, a three legged raven associated with divinity. Is a solar symbol that represented the three stages of the sun, when it was rising, at noon, and when it was setting. This was partly stemmed off of that a raven’s feathers can glisten with different colors throughout the stages for example, when the sun is setting the feathers can have a silver/gray glisten.  Yatagarasu was also a guide to one of their revered emperors.

There was also the Shintu goddess, Amaterasu that would transform into a raven.

 

Throughout multiple different cultures and mythologies ravens have represented good aspects of being. They represent clairvoyance, telepathy, and are guides for those lost and the departed. They can even be gods that are responsible for creation. In Irish Celtic mythology there is a saying “to have a raven’s knowledge” which means to have the ability of a seer. Ravens can be representations of wisdom, and healing. They are looked upon as one of the oldest and wisest of the animal kingdom. In a once popular tv show, One Tree Hill, a character Lucas Scott said, “Some people believe that ravens guide travelers to their destinations. Others believe that the sight of a solitary raven is considered good luck while more than one raven together predicts trouble ahead.”

 

Ravens have multiple meanings, both good and bad. They are a smart bird that can even be taught how to speak. Yet ravens are often are looked down upon because of a couple of reasons, they feed on carrion, and they are black. Looking beyond the myths one can see the cleverness and the intelligence that ravens possess.

 

 

CITATIONS

Fleming, Samantha. “Raven in Mythology.” Raven in Mythology. 1998. Web. 26 Apr. 2016.

Kelly, Debra. “10 Crows And Ravens From World Religion – Listverse.” Listverse. 01 Nov. 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2016.

“Kutkh.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 2 Nov. 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2016.
“Ravens and Crows in Mythology, Folklore and Religion.” :: Perspectives. 10 Oct. 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2016.

VIenneau, Larry. “Raven Artwork , Raven, Crow, Three Legged Crow, Etching 5 Inch X 7 Inch 2011.” Etsy. 28 Dec. 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2016.

 

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2 thoughts on “Good symbolism of Ravens

  1. I really like the organization of your research into raven myths. It’s easy to follow and having the global perspective ties everything together really well. I can see this being a real bonus for museum visitors who come from outside the States.
    Your final sentence, “They are a smart bird that can even be taught to speak,” is a cool factoid but it doesn’t really fit the earlier parts of what you were writing. It’s ending on new information, and that can be disconcerting to a reader – in the, “And then what? What? You’re done?” sort of way. I think if you moved it up a sentence or two and concluded with speaking about the myths, it would smooth out the flow of the reading.
    All in all – very educational post. Good job!

    Like

  2. I’m glad that you guys also focused on the symbolism of good that ravens used to represent. I know that not a lot of people know that they used to represent good, but you guys really made it easy to understand about how ravens were viewed upon in different cultures. I know nowadays, people mainly look at ravens as bad omens or pests (like my grandparents do since they own a farm and ravens are constantly eating the chicken feed) but it’s interesting to see how people react when they learn ravens used to not be all that bad. All in all, I want to say good job on your project and I hope you guys got a good grade.

    Like

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