Raven Spirit Symbols:
Chinese- In Chinese myth ravens represented the sun and its cycles.
Egyptians- Ravens were seen as harbingers of destruction and battle.
Greek- The god Apollo had a raven as a messenger
Celtic- Ravens were symbols of battle and destruction, but also of difficult change.
Many birds are seen as messengers between heaven and earth, and the raven totem no exception. In addition to carrying messages back and forth from a higher plane, raven spirits also bring meaning from a darker place, within. If a raven guide has appeared in your life and spoken to you, turn your focus inward, it is time for a change. Though as people, we often fear change, the changes raven totems bring are often meaningful and revelatory. The message of change is often difficult, but it is through overcoming obstacles and difficulties that we grow the most. Instead of becoming fearful or uncomfortable when confronted with the challenge, instead anticipate the end result. Ravens are incredibly perceptive; meaning, that if you’ve fallen under the scrutiny of this bird, that which needs to be changed should be revealed. If you’re having difficulty realizing what should change, then change the way you’re looking at yourself or a problem.
Ravens are also considered powerful teachers of the mysteries, or magic. Consider the truth and inner wisdom we each hold within. Just as a raven spirit can mimic the calls of many birds and animals so can you learn to understand the meaning buried in the symbols and messages that surround us. Raven totems teach magic, or reveals the magic within, not hocus pocus magic, but how the energy of your will can be used to shape and create the environment around you. This ties into the message of change, not only can you change internally, but you can change the external. Again, people often dread the raven guide and his message because developing strong willpower, changing, or exercising your intention, takes dedication and persistence.
While many people say that no evil or malevolent creatures were created, the raven spirit has accumulated a wealth of different meanings, many of them not so good. They are commonly associated with bringing bad omens, tidings of death, sorrow, and destruction. A great deal of ancient symbolism associated with this bird is positive, but it is still important to consider that the collective thoughts or feelings of a person or society do create some truth or meaning. So if everyone believes that the Raven totem is a bad omen, in some sense it transforms into one. It is up to you when seeing or encountering a raven spirit, to perceive the feeling and circumstance of the experience.
Raven guide flies to us with the message of heightened perception and greater awareness of our conscious and subconscious minds. Just as a raven is often a silent observer, you may wish to observe your environment, the people in it, and your own behavior. Your behavior is motivated by a deep and complex tapestry woven over the expanse of your entire lifetime. The Raven totem is a gatekeeper of knowledge, a keeper of secrets, and a protector of truth. An interesting note about this protection is that the raven guide often protects us from difficult truths, or inner demons. When the Raven totem is faced with a challenge it will persist, it will approach the problem from many angles, it will use tools, all just to get to that juicy morsel at the center of the problem. Don’t expect change to come overnight, face your own inner challenges, it takes time to untangle the knots you’ve spent years making. The knots are like blocks, untangle them, follow the threads, and great inner truths will be revealed.
Consider the raven spirit’s consumption of carrion, or dead animals, this is a message that within death is life. When changing, do not simply cast off your old self, but consume and incorporate those parts which give you strength. Learn from your mistakes, and the mistakes of others, and give new wings to thoughts and behaviors that were previously stopped from taking flight.
Ravens are not easily intimidated by other birds, they are persistent, monogamous, intelligent, foresighted (they store or cache food for the future), problem solvers, tool users, and opportunistic.
Raven in Dreams:
If you’ve had a dream about a raven spirit its meaning is likely that big changes are coming your way or it may symbolize an end to a phase or habit in your life.
As ravens eat carrion, or will steal food from others, seeing one in a dream may symbolize or mean that someone is taking advantage of your misfortune.
Raven totem is a guardian or keeper of our fears, to see one in a dream can be seen as a message to examine these fears. Raven will guide you in revealing these inner secrets and to see your demons for what they are.
Raven Cultural Symbolism:
Middle Eastern- The raven is often considered an unclean animal, this is due to its consumption of carrion.
Biblical- Similar to the above, ravens are forbidden food in bible. Ravens are shamed when Noah sends one to search for land and it fails to return. A positive note for ravens in the bible, comes when a raven feeds the prophet Elijah when he is in hiding from King Ahab.
Nordic- The one eyed god Odin had two ravens as messengers, they were named thought and memory.
Native American- Many Native American tribes honor the raven for bringing light to mankind, there are also many stories of them being tricksters, and seekers of truth.