Crows are animals that do not enjoy a good reputation and are often associated with negative meanings such as death and darkness. And while you may think of these birds as scary signs of bad luck, the symbolism of crows is much deeper than that.
In nature, crows are beneficial to the environment. These omnivorous birds feed on almost anything. Crows even help farmers keep pesky pests at bay.
Significance of the crow
Contrary to popular belief, crows are often considered a good omen.
Crows are believed to represent positive meanings, such as transformation, destiny, intelligence, fearlessness, mystery, adaptability and a higher perspective, as well as having some negative associations with manipulation and mischief.
The association between crows and death is perhaps the best known. After all, a group of crows is called murder, and they are often used as a trope in horror movies to indicate that bad things are about to happen, especially to characters who have just seen them.
Crows are largely associated with death because they are both scavengers and predators. As opportunistic eaters, they feast from time to time along with other scavengers such as vultures and vultures eagles they are opportunistic feeders, coming to the sites of death to forage for food.
Because of this, crows are often portrayed as harbingers and harbingers of death, but they are actually highly intelligent and social creatures that are willing to eat just about anything, as carnivores and omnivores must do if they want to survive in the wild.
Crows are unique in that they tend to their dead, holding “funerals” of sorts. More specifically, crows are known to gather around their dead.
So no, crows are not evil-although many people mistakenly believe them to be ominous because of the way they are portrayed in the media.
Rather, the symbolic and spiritual association between crows and death represents opportunity and transformation.
If you see a raven, pay attention. These amazing creatures have a long history in many cultures. If a raven is your totem animal, it’s a nod to the wisdom, intelligence and strength these creatures display.
As an animal, the raven has deep meaning and symbolism. Let’s describe some of the meanings attributed to ravens in different cultures around the world.
Native American Raven Symbolism
For many Native Americans, ravens used to be considered a kind of“power animal” and good luck. Some of their raven clans were the Hopi, Chippewa, Pueblo and Menominee tribes.
Crows, being occasional scavengers, are considered“cleansers” in these cultures, and thus occupy an important place of respect and good luck. They were also perceived as“tricksters” due to their high natural intelligence, but this also meant that crows were an intelligent choice for spirit guides, power animals and totem animals.
Japanese crow symbolism
The significance of the crow in Japan has a long mythological tradition. They are part of some of the oldest myths of spiritual beings called “tengu“, meaning “heavenly dog“.
They have played the role of everything from tricksters to punishers of those who go against the will of heaven, and even spirit guides to emperors.
The raven in the Bible
Although many people think of the dove as the first and most important bird sent from Noah’s ark, it was actually a raven that brought first. In many instances in the Bible, ravens and crows were heavenly messengers, commissioned by the deities to bring food, water and other sustenance to those under divine protection.
One of the earliest mentions of ravens and crows is after Cain killed his brother Abel. Adam and Eve did not know what to do with their son’s body, as they had never experienced death. They observed a raven digging a hole and burying its dead mate, and that is where they first learned how to bury the dead.
The Symbolism of the Raven in Greek Mythology
Ancient cultures had many meanings for ravens, but the Greeks had a different belief about what these birds represented.
They believed that ravens were the symbol of Apollo – a prophetic god – and that everything from the color of the raven, to the number of them present, and even the direction from which it flew, had an important meaning in the form of messages from the gods.
Raven Symbolism in Literature
In many cultures, crows and ravens are often interchangeable and are depicted in tales, fables and legends. These birds are an important part of many cultures, which can be seen in written mythologies, such as Norse (Odin’s ravens, Huginn and Muninn), Celtic stories (Morrigan’s watchful ravens), Greek narrative (Aesop’s Fables) and even Arthurian legend.
In fact, these stories are so prevalent that in 16th century England it was forbidden to kill ravens because of the story of King Arthur turning into one.
The raven has also been an important part of many horror stories, one of the most famous being, of course, Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Raven,” which depicted this bird as a sign of death, but also as a symbol of wisdom, as Poe’s character works through his grief and loss for his love, Lenore.
What does it mean to dream of a raven?
Ravens appearing in a dream can mean a variety of things and could be spirit guides who are there to help guide you.
It could be a sign that a new beginning is coming, wisdom is needed, or a life or death situation is looming. There are even spiritual meanings about the feathers in your dreams, so the context of what the raven is doing is the best way to identify the meaning behind your dream.
Seeing a crow flying
The expression “As the crow flies” means to go in a straight line and reach your destination without obstacles or anything blocking your path. So seeing a crow flying in your dream means it’s time for you to do the same: head for a destination and let go of the things that are blocking you from getting there.
It means it’s time to let go and be brave enough to be vulnerable. It’s time to gain all the freedom that comes with vulnerability, so that you too can be weightless enough to fly just like a raven.
A crow chasing you
A dream like this means it’s time for you to stop making bad decisions and running away from the consequences. In the end, all your actions will catch up with you.
The raven wants to tell you that it’s time to come clean and be honest about your bad actions so you don’t have to keep running away.
A raven on your arm or shoulder
This means that you are finally gaining enough emotional intelligence to understand what is going on in your life. You are now well equipped with the wisdom to overcome or achieve what you desire.
That crow on your shoulder is like a spiritual chip on your shoulder.A crow on fire or coming out of a fireThis
indicates that a spiritual awakening or rebirth is on its way. You are about to embark on a new beginning in life, where the old you or your old passions will no longer be the same.
A crow pecking at you
This dream means that you are harboring anger towards someone. The raven is reminding you that you are strong enough to stand up to them, even though it may hurt right now.
The raven as an animal of power and spirituality
Ravens are known to build their nests high up in trees and on very tall poles, which gives them an ideal vantage point to protect their nests and watch for predators. Because of their wisdom, they literally have a“superior perspective” on things.
Because ravens are intelligent, they can band together to drive off larger predators, which means they are a good symbol for overcoming adversity.
This behavior led many Native Americans to label ravens as totem animals, meaning they symbolized sacred animal spirit guides who gave advice and shared their wisdom throughout the life of the person with whom they shared a connection.
Throughout history, ravens have represented magic and transformation and, as a spirit animal, are indicative of wisdom and intelligence. However, since ravens are also considered “tricksters,” they can be used as a warning against manipulation and using that intelligence to benefit oneself at the expense of others.
Ravens as spirit animals often represent a sign that you have gathered enough wisdom to move on to another difficult task.
Meaning of colored crows
Meaning of black crows
Black crows symbolize transformation. Just as night represents the transformation from day to night, so does the black raven.
To get where you want to go, you must go through the darkness to reach the light. Transformation doesn’t happen in your comfort zone, and the black raven is meant to make you uncomfortable so that you achieve that transformation.
Meaning of the white raven
White crows signify justice. Whether you have done right or wrong, the white raven comes to tell you that your future will reflect it.
Like karma, the white raven comes to tell you that what goes around comes around. The raven spirit animals want you to act so that you will have a bright future.
Meaning of the gray raven
Gray crows symbolize your shortcomings. Gray crows are meant to remind you of how far you have come and how far you have yet to go.
Meaning of red crows
Red crows warn of a quest for freedom that will be less than peaceful.
The red raven means that violence is near and that you will probably have to fight for your rights or for that cause you stand for. The fact that the raven is red does not necessarily mean that the fight for freedom will end in bloodshed.
It is shocking to believe that not all crows are black. Most crows are indeed black, and the remaining crow population is white, gray or red.
Crows that are not black are extremely rare, so many people do not have the opportunity to see them in person or be aware of their existence.