As a theologian, I have a keen interest in the superstitions and beliefs surrounding different creatures across communities worldwide. People have attached strong beliefs to the appearance of certain animals and birds.
Last year, while on a holiday trip, a raven flew over my head, and a young man walked up to me and said, “A raven is never a good sign here.” Out of curiosity, I inquired why he thought so.
He explained how ravens were so significant in predicting events and times in his community. After this event, I researched deeply on what beliefs different communities across the world had on ravens.
I also studied the scriptures to see the mentions of ravens and whether any significance was explained therein. While discussing Symbolic Creatures in the Bible with my theology class, a student asked whether ravens have a spiritual meaning and implication as is believed in their community.
Having researched deeply on the topic and even studied the Biblical perspective of it, I openly shared my findings on the subject. I compiled my findings as a document which I titled “Spiritual Meaning of Seeing Ravens.”
Even though the Bible does not out rightly give the meaning of seeing a raven, we can infer much from the scenes where ravens appear or are mentioned. For example, the mention of ravens in 1 Kings 17:4-6 could be seen as a symbol of God’s provision and divine supply. Different communities across the globe have also developed beliefs around the raven. Some communities, for instance, believe ravens are a sign of warning against a wrong cause of action. Others think it’s a sign of a season of plenty.
I invite you to continue reading the article as I explore some of the diverse beliefs and myths surrounding the raven. Find out the meanings attached to particular scenarios, like seeing a specific number of ravens, seeing a raven in a dream, the meaning of ravens in different communities, and so much more.
What Is The Symbolic Meaning Of A Raven?
It is widely believed across the world that ravens are a symbol of good fortune. Most people, therefore, try to extrapolate the positive implication of a raven around their prevailing circumstances.
The appearance of ravens is believed to be a sign of hope to an individual or a community amidst their situation.
When a person sees a raven, they consider it a sign that good tidings are in the offing. They hence should not give up.
Perhaps, after trying something several times without fruits, the raven is believed to be the perfect sign that positive results are about to be realized.
Some African tribes also believe that a raven signifies the transition into a season of harvest and plenty. In these tribes, ravens have been observed to appear on the verge of the rainy season and alert people to prepare to plant.
For many years, the Native Americans have believed a raven to symbolize eminent positive change. When a raven appears, they associate it with the possibility that things will change positively.
Most Christians also tend to associate a raven with God’s provision. This is often backed up by the story of the prophet Elijah being fed by ravens while in the desert, as recorded in 1 Kings 17:4-6.
The reference Jesus makes to ravens and how God provides for them even without having to work in Luke 12:24 is believed to back this narrative.
Biblical Meaning of A Raven
Even though several mentions of the raven appear in the Bible, at no point does the Bible give the specific meaning of the raven. We, however, can infer the symbolic meaning of the ravens from the events surrounding the context in which the ravens are mentioned.
In the first mention of ravens in Genesis 8:6-7, the raven can be seen as a representation of an unfaithful, forgetful, and unreliable messenger.
In this account, the ravens sent out by Noah to check whether the flood had resided fail to return with a report and remain out there feeding on carcasses. The raven here also can be seen as a self-centered character who concentrates on his affairs and forgets the core assignment.
Another mention appears in Leviticus 11:13-15, where God forbids the Israelites from eating ravens and instructs them to consider ravens among the unclean birds. The raven here can be seen as a symbol of uncleanliness.
In Job 38:41, God asks Job, “Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wanders for lack of food?” The raven is used here to represent God’s creation and how God takes care of them and hence can be purported to symbolize God’s care and provision.
In describing King Solomon’s hair in Song of Solomon 5:11, the raven is used to symbolize pure black color.
Among the most unique mentions of the raven is that in 1 Kings 17:4-6. This is an account of the prophet Elijah in the desert without food or water.
God commands ravens to take meat and bread to Elijah so he won’t starve. We first see ravens as a symbol of God’s provision and supply to his own.
Secondly, the idea of using a bird that loves meat to take it to the prophet is an irony that symbolizes God’s mysterious ways of coming through for His creation.
In Isaiah 34:11, God pronounces judgment upon the land of Edom and promises to render it desolate and uninhabitable. He mentions that only the owl and the raven will occupy it.
Here, the Bible recommends this desolate and hostile habitat for the raven. In this context, the raven symbolizes desolation, curse, rejection, and death.
In Luke 12:24, the raven is depicted as less valuable than humans. They symbolize God’s care and concern for His creation, much more to human beings.
What Does It Mean When You See A Specific Number Of Ravens?
It is believed among different communities that a specific meaning is attached to a particular number of ravens. The message behind one seeing one raven could be completely different from two, three, four, or even five ravens.
Seeing 1 Raven; Spiritual Meaning
It is believed that often, the spirits of our loved ones can appear to us in the form of a raven. Seeing one raven is seen by many as a sign that the spirit of a loved one is coming to you to cure, perhaps, loneliness and depression.
One raven is also thought to communicate the singularity of purpose. For someone distracted by so many activities, it is believed that a single raven can be sent to them to remind them of the need to focus on their core purpose and shun distractions.
Seeing 2 Ravens; Spiritual Meaning
In ancient times in most communities, ravens were often associated with magic and magical powers. The appearance of two ravens is thought to imply the presence of magical powers around someone.
Most communities still hold onto this ancient belief. Whether the power is from the person or another person, the ravens appear to signify the presence of such energy around a person.
It is also believed that 2 ravens signify love and friendship. On seeing two ravens, one can interpret that to mean they are not alone and that at least one person in their friendship circle can be trusted.
One can interpret seeing two ravens depending on their life circumstances. For instance, for an orphan, two ravens appearing represent the spirits of one’s parents watching over the person.
To a married couple, it is believed to be a sign of blossoming love.
Seeing 3 Ravens; Spiritual Meaning
Ravens are also thought to be perfect detectors of negative energy. When one sees three ravens, it could imply the presence of negative energy flowing inside the person.
The ravens are believed to emphasize the negative energy in the person and remind them to work on it.
Some people also believe three ravens flying over your head could symbolize spiritual sensitivity and completeness. It could be that at this time, the body, soul, and spirit are in perfect sync with each other.
Some still believe that 3 ravens could signify a new beginning. Such a season will be backed up by other confirmations of an end to a season and the dawn of another.
Seeing 4 Ravens; Spiritual Meaning
One unique characteristic associated with ravens is loyalty and unity. Seeing four ravens is believed to communicate the presence of genuine friendship.
When one sees four ravens, one should take it as an assurance that there is true friendship around them and that they should be free from the fear of betrayal and disloyalty.
If the 4 ravens are seen in a dream, they may signify the presence of witchcraft in one’s life. One should pray for divine protection and guard their circle.
Seeing four ravens could also call for one to be more attentive and pay attention to spiritual signs around them.
Seeing 5 Ravens; Spiritual Meaning
Seeing five ravens is believed to be a sign of good luck, and things will end well for the person who sees them. Some people also believe that 5 Ravens remind someone about a course they are committed to and the need to complete it.
Yet still, some see five ravens as a sign of leadership. A person seeing five ravens should then start preparing for a leadership role.
What Does Getting A Visit From A Raven Mean?
Many communities have attached superstitions and beliefs around a raven such that no one can take for granted its appearance.
According to most of the communities, the exact meaning of a visit from a raven is believed to be tied to several factors, such as the prevailing circumstances. One can easily infer the meaning of the visit depending on what is happening in their lives at that time.
Among many Christians, ravens are believed to symbolize God’s provision and sustenance. This is inferred from the role of the ravens in the Bible when they are mentioned.
One of the narratives that allude to this belief is that of the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 17:4-6 when God used ravens to feed him while he was in the desert. The mention of ravens by Jesus in Luke 12:24 is also thought to present them as symbols of God’s provision.
If one has been praying for provision and is visited by a raven, they can take it as a sign that their prayer has been answered.
Some communities believe that a raven signifies the presence of a spirit around someone. When a loved one who is deceased wants to show up in the life of someone, their spirit is believed to show up to the person in the form of a raven.
This may communicate that the loved one is still caring for them.
A visit from a raven could also be a call for one to embrace forgiveness and let go of anything that may have hurt them. The raven will appear and fly away to signal that the person should let go of the hard feelings.
What Does It Mean When You See A Raven In Your Dreams?
Ravens are widely believed to bear a spiritual meaning. Their appearance in dreams is thought to be communicating a message.
The message being communicated depends on the beliefs of the tribe, people, or community. This is mostly beyond what can be proven by research or study.
Some people believe that seeing ravens flying over one’s head in a dream could communicate a looming misfortune or bad occurrence. This could be death, an accident, an attack, or a form of grief.
Also, ravens in dreams are believed to be a call for one to be spiritually alert to the happenings around them. It reminds one to check what their spirit man is feeding on.
When one sees a white raven in their dreams, it is believed to be a sign of good luck. This may indicate that good things are about to happen.
Others believe ravens in dreams represent the spirits of their loved ones showing up. The loved ones could be communicating that they are still with them and watching over them.
The appearance of ravens in dreams could also signify a change that’s to occur in one’s life. One is to take time to reflect before reacting to new things happening.
When a large group of ravens appears in one’s dream, it is believed to be a sign of a busy life ahead. One should then start preparing for the possibility of so many tasks and activities coming up their way.
Diverse interpretations are attached to the appearance of ravens in dreams in different communities. Whatever the beliefs, Christians should be more concerned about their spiritual well-being and not be so drawn to superstitions.
What Do Ravens Mean In Different Cultures?
The Native American tribes have had numerous stories attached to ravens. Some mythologies reveal that the raven is responsible for the appearance and disappearance of the sun.
Some believe that the appearance of ravens aided in some of the traditional rituals. They also associated the raven with the power to change states of consciousness and the high adaptability of individuals.
Most of the tribes do consider the raven as a powerful messenger. Embodied with magic, the raven is thought to convey spiritual messages to people.
Some tribes consider the raven a guardian spirit and a trickster whose actions can lead to trouble and great deeds.
An ancient myth associates ravens with one of the great gods of the Norse pantheon called Odin, also referred to as the Raven God.
According to this legend, Odin had two ravens, Hugin and Munin, responsible for ‘thought’ and ‘memory,’ respectively. According to this narrative, the ravens symbolize great wisdom and careers of important information.
The famous Japanese symbol called the ‘Yatagurasu’ is displayed as a three-legged raven and is believed to symbolize both the divine and the country itself. The creature is believed to represent divine protection and divine guidance from above.
Many Celtic traditions associated ravens with several super-human or god figures, including a goddess called Morrigan, a protective god called Bran the Blessed, and Lugh the Sun god.
Most Celtic regions believed that the raven symbolized war, death, magical powers, and prophetic abilities.
One Celtic mythology linked ravens to a goddess called Branwen, who was believed to be the queen of ravens.
About the warrior goddess Morrigan, ravens were seen as a symbol of war, battle, protection, and an intense fight for what one believed in.
Some regions also associate the raven with divination and prophetic abilities.
How Do You Know Whether Your Encounter With A Raven Has Any Spiritual Meaning?
Most beliefs surrounding encounters with ravens are based on myths, beliefs, and superstitions among different communities.
A person’s interpretation of such an encounter will, therefore, highly depend on the specific beliefs of the community in which they are brought up.
It is entirely on an individual to see whether or not to attach a spiritual meaning to an encounter with a raven based on societal beliefs.
It is, however, important to note that these beliefs may only hold in unique appearances or encounters with ravens. This means that for someone living near a place where raven nests exist, an encounter with a raven is more or less an expected occurrence, perhaps even daily.
However, for people living in areas where ravens are not common, an encounter with such may be subject to the existing beliefs of the community.
Ravens as a Totem And Spirit Animal
It is believed that people with a raven as a totem animal are endowed with unique abilities such as natural inventiveness, and intuitiveness and tend to have mischievous air around them.
Such people tend to appreciate silence as it is the time when they tend to connect deeply with their inner selves. In such times, they are believed to be able to receive messages meant not only for themselves but for others too.
It is believed that people with the raven as a totem tend to be so magical will easily blend even into new experiences with ease as if they have already experienced them before.
The raven, as a spirit animal, embraces challenges while emphasizing honesty with oneself as the best way out of the challenges. The spirit pushes one to a place of honesty and, in turn, becomes the rational way out of the challenge.
Useful people in society, such as healers, wise men, and teachers, have been known to have a raven totem. The raven spirit is believed to be the key to helping them to be responsible for protection, healing, and even the growth of society.
Are Ravens A Symbol of Good or Bad Luck?
Generally, ravens are a sign of good luck. Even though some myths associate the raven with bad luck due to its black color, most beliefs about the raven translate to good fortune and positive expectations.
The appearance of a raven is believed to be a sign of a warning to people against a cause of action. Seeing two ravens is believed to inspire one to build better friendships.
Even in the Bible, the raven has been used to represent desirable attributes such as God’s provision, sustenance, and care.
As seen in this article, many myths and beliefs have been associated with the raven, most of which spring up from the experiences of communities and people.
It’s natural for people to be drawn into believing some of these myths and beliefs when they grow up in that community. As Christians, however, we shouldn’t hold onto these beliefs at the expense of what the Bible teaches us about reliance on God.
The Bible in Proverbs 3:5-6 commands us to trust in God with all our hearts and not rely on our understanding.
This means that for Christians, beliefs should not override our trust in God’s ability to protect and sustain us amidst all circumstances.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.