Raven Animal Totem Symbolism
Raven is symbolic in many shamanistic traditions, and are deeply relevant in many faiths throughout the world. There were many places in the Americas that Raven was recognized as an totem animal, and focused heavily on the abilities of shape-shifting.
Speaking from a animal totem standpoint, shape shifting involved taking on different forms for travel in the spirit realm, and embodying the elements of that form. Raven in particular was associated with this due to his trickster aspects, where lessons were taught through guile.
Raven Associated Traits
Renewal through destruction, spiritual mysteries, exploration of the unknown, contemplation of the inner self, shape-shifting, occult wisdom
Symbolic Meaning Of Raven
Raven in the Pacific Northwest is actually a symbolism of being responsible for the land that humans live on. He brought a stone from the land of the spirits, and dropped it into the ocean, forming this first landmass. In other areas, he is known for bringing the stars, moon, water, and fire to the earth, and his encounter with fire, where he stole it from the sun, resulted in his feathers being blackened from their original white. They have never turned white again.
“Hunin and Munin fly each day
over the spacious earth.
I fear for Hunin, that he come not back,
yet more anxious am I for Munin.”
In Norse Mythology, Odin had two Ravens that travelled with him, known as Hunin and Munin. Their names meant thought and memory, and were relevant to revelations of experience, and the memory of the wisdom of our ancestors. They can fly anywhere in the world and bring information and inspiration to those they touch.
The poem above references that while thought may be lost, far worse is it to lose our memory, for our memory tells us who we were, and by that, who we are. It is often thought that Hunin and Munin represent Odin’s ability to send his thought and memory into a shamanic trance state, and thereby traverse the world.
In Celtic Animal Mythology, Ravens are known to serve the Morrigan, and are carrion birds that appear before and above the fields of great battles. They have arrived as messengers, carrying important messages to those at war, and have also been known as heralds of death for those doomed to die in battle. They are also responsible for carrying the spirits of the dead away from the place they’d fallen to their enemies.
As spirits, Ravens are honored conventionally as well, it is said that should the ravens of the Tower of London ever be removed, that the Kingdom of England will fall as a result. This belief is pervasive enough that King Charles was deterred from having them removed by being informed of this story.
The Raven symbol will guide you through the spirit world, and guide you to understanding yourself and the mysteries of the world in which we live. Be wary, for he often teaches through guile and deception, and you may as often find yourself feeling a little foolish in your tutelage, as enlightened.