Reinterpreting Raven

raven photo

Raven is much-maligned in conventional symbolism.

I’ve decided to do a short write-up on Raven, because for the past few months, off-and-on (I can feel him laughing at me when I came to rely on his being there too much) he has been guiding me. Vivid dreams and crazy synchronicities have been his communication of choice, as well as a certain presence nudging mine, energetically, from time to time.

In part thanks to the grim legacy of certain unnameable writers (*cough* Poe*cough*), Raven today is commonly associated with darkness, death, and gloom.

Perhaps some of this dire mantle may also be due to Raven’s status as a carrion-eater.

However, there’s much more to it than doom and shadowy comic-book characters. Raven is a trickster, foremost, and like many trickster-gods, can be mischievous, shadowy, or downright wicked, according to the story and the mood required. This gives the element of surprise. Mystery is something he cultivates, and he enjoys playing with it.

For me, Raven’s tricks have not been too malicious, and there is a great underlying strength in his presence.

Raven goes his own way. He is unabashedly and unashamedly himself. Nobody can claim to control or own Raven. Wherever he goes he can be at home as a king in his palace.

It’s easy to see, even with this scaffolding of symbolic meaning, how such a creature could be seen as wicked by others. All that is unknown has the potential to be dangerous, and Raven sometimes likes seeming dangerous.

Raven is stalwart and determined. He’s extremely clever, and resourceful. What he wants he will find a way to get.

He’s sociable, vocal, and argumentative when need be–or when he’s inclined. He embodies the joy of sparring, of fierce self-expression. If you’re experiencing Raven energy, you may be coming to a time when you need to stand up for who you are and what you believe in, vocally. Loudly. Unreservedly and unrepentantly.

raven photoHe holds the world in his eye, and in his talons the threads of both life and death.

He stands for independence and free-thinking. He will not respect you if you lay yourself at his feet and try to become his; rather; it is by following your own path and flaunting authorities (including him) that he gives his mark of approval.

Raven is also a creature for times of transformation. He can guide you out of a tough situation, or into it. When Raven comes into your life, it is time to re-examine what you are doing and why you are doing it. The boundaries between worlds may become blurred as a result of his energy, but those who keep to their course and learn to adapt—follow when necessary, strike out alone when that is what’s needed—will come through it, and flourish.


 Photo by Atli Harðarson