There is no exact definition for any symbol;
each symbol is open to
interpretation and birds are no exception to this. Their symbolism can
vary greatly depending on different cultures and religion. The Raven is
generally thought to be a symbol of sadness, loss and death in most
European countries. However, the Raven bird has a completely
different symbolic meaning in other cultures; the ancient Greeks
believed that the raven was a messenger bird of the god Apollo and
the Inuit's (Eskimo's) have a creator god called the Raven Father.
The Raven is large black bird with a straight bill and long
wedge-shaped tail. They are scavengers and often feed off the eggs
in other birds nests. Ravens are opportunistic feeders and will live
near roads in order to feed off road kill and discarded food.
The raven is
mentioned several times in the bible and the following
quotes come from the Easton Bible Dictionary and relate to the
Raven: It is derived from Heb. 'orebh, from a root meaning "to be
black" (comp. Cant. 5:11); first mentioned as "sent forth" by Noah
from the ark (Gen. 8:7)
"Every raven after his kind" was forbidden as food
(Lev. 11:15; Deut. 14:14).
Ravens feed mostly on carrion, and hence their food is procured with
(Job 38:41; Ps. 147:9).
When they attack kids or lambs or weak animals, it is said that they
first pick out the eyes of their victims
When Elijah was concealed by the brook Cherith, God commanded the
ravens to bring him "bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and
flesh in the evening"
(1 Kings 17:3-6)
Raven Symbol - Eskimo Fairy Tale
The following short story 'The Raven and the Goose' is taken from
the book, Eskimo Folk Tales, by Knud Rasmussen which was published
The Raven and The Goose
Do you know why the raven is so black, so dull and black in colour?
It is all because of its own obstinacy. Now listen.
It happened in the days when all the birds were getting their
colours and the pattern in their coats. And the raven and the goose
happened to meet, and they agreed to paint each other.
The raven began, and painted the other black, with a nice white
pattern showing between.
The goose thought that very fine indeed, and began to do the same
by the raven, painting it a coat exactly like its own.
But then the raven fell into a rage, and declared the pattern was
frightfully ugly, and the goose, offended at all the fuss, simply
splashed it black all over.
And now you know why the raven is black.
Raven Symbol -
Native Americans consider the Raven to be a magical symbol. Native American
mythology tells us that the earth was created by a raven that
dropped stones into the sea which created the islands
In Africa, the Raven is considered to be a guide
In China and Japan, the raven is a symbol of the sun and is also
seen as a messenger of the gods
The raven is featured in the folklore of the Isle of Man and it
features as a symbol on their coat of arms
The Inuits are an indigenous people who inhabit the Arctic
regions of Greenland, Canada, the United States as well as
eastern Siberia worship a god called the Raven Father, they
believe that killing a raven will bring bad weather
Native Aborigines believed that birds carried stories
The raven is the state bird of the Kingdom of Bhutan which is
boarded to the north by China and to the south, east and west by
It is believed by some cultures to be a symbol of
impending death! It is believed to be able to smell death
before it occurs
Although ravens are always portrayed as being black in color,
there are white ravens but they are extremely rare
Saint Benedict of Nursia (480–547) is the Christian patron saint
of students and Europe and is worshipped by both the Anglican
and Catholic Church St Benedict is believed to have been saved
by a raven who stole bread just before he could eat it. The
bread had been blessed by him but poisoned by monks who were
trying to kill him
In Norse folklore, the god Odin is followed by two ravens
The name of the Irish mythical god Lugh is derived from the
Celtic word for raven
One of Edgar Allen Poe's most famous works, 'The Raven' was
first published in 1845 and is considered by some to be the best
poem of all time! It is about a talking raven's visit to an
Ravens have resided in the Tower of London for centuries.
English legend tells us that the Kingdom of England will fall if
the ravens are removed from the tower
Christians believe that the raven is a symbol of Satan and the
bearer of bad luck
The Raven was sacred to the Greek god Apollo
It is the largest perching bird and can kill animals as
large as a rabbit, more often however they prefer to scavenge on
Raven Symbol -
It is considered very unlucky to dream of a Raven!
Seeing a raven in your dream, is a symbol of betrayal,
disharmony, misfortune, and death
- Significance of Bird Symbol
explanation of dreams involving birds in general is taken from the book entitled 'Dream
Dictionary (10,000 Dreams Interpreted - by Gustavus Hindman Miller)':
It is a favorable symbol in a dream to see birds of beautiful plumage. A
wealthy and happy partner is near if a woman has dreams of this
Moulting and song less birds, could denote merciless and inhuman
treatment of the outcast and fallen by people of wealth
To see a wounded bird, is a symbol of fateful of deep sadness caused by
To see flying birds, is a symbol of prosperity to the dreamer. All
disagreeable environments will vanish before the wave of
To catch birds, is not at all bad. To hear them speak, is owning
one's inability to perform tasks that demand great clearness of