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Superstitions Connected to Ravens

Like other black birds, the raven (an attendant to the gods of both ancient Greece and Scandinavia) is widely considered a creature of ill omen. It is feared for its apparent ability to foresee death.

A raven is particularity disliked around the sick because their cries sound like "corpse, corpse." It is believed that a raven around someone sick is an omen that the patient will not recover. Scientists suggest that the association with death has to do with a raven's strong sense of smell, which draws it to decaying flesh.

In the olden days, the raven is said to be the favorite disguise of the devil. And eleventh century Norman invaders used ravens as their emblem, which made the bird a harbinger of war.






But according to Welsh tradition, if a blind person shows kindness to a raven, it will help that person regain his or her sight. They also welcome the sight of a raven on the roof of the house because it is said to bring luck to everyone within.






In the West Country, ravens are saluted by the raising of the hat, and anyone who robs a raven's nest is said to be punished by the death of a baby in his or her home village. Similarly, the Cornish warn against harming a raven, explaining that the bird may be the reincarnation of King Arthur.






The royal connection is expanded in London, where it is said that the British monarchy and the United Kingdom itself will last only so long as there are ravens at the Tower of London. This well-known superstition is thought to have evolved from the story of Bran the Blessed, a mythical figure whose head is said to be buried on Tower Hill facing France to ward off any invasion of England. The name Bran means raven. And anyone kills of the ravens that live in the Tower will soon die too.

A relatively obscure tradition allows a person to get information about the future by counting ravens. If one raven is seen, sadness is in store. If two are spotted, happy days lie ahead. If three ravens are counted, there will be a marriage. And if four ravens appear, there will be a birth. A variation, however, claims that it is only lucky if one raven is seen, and unfortunate to see any more.

In the business of weather prediction, ravens flying towards the sun are a sign of fine weather. If they are preening themselves on the wing, it means there will be rain. Should they fly recklessly into one another, it means war is coming.

31 comments:

  1. Very interesting... Thanks for sharing.. I have also heard that if you see a raven it is a spirit of a loved one???

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  2. Interesting! I hadn't heard of most of these!

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  3. what a cool post, I always wondered about ravens!

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  4. One for sorrow, two for joy,
    Three for a girl, four for a boy,
    Five for silver, six for gold,
    Seven, a secret to never be told.

    I always thought it was magpies, though...

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  5. Great post. I knew about the story of the ravens in the Tower of London. Let's just hope there isn't a raven virus that wipes them all out. I did hear (and don't ask me when or whether it's true) but once there was some kind of raven's disease and the Beefeaters had to go out and get some more! Can't have the fall of the UK, now can we?

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  6. Thanks Kate! Loved reading these superstitions. :)
    xx,
    E.J.
    From the Shadows

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  7. Their is the book "One for sorrow Two for joy" which is about superstitions during the war involving all birds, particular Ravens.

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  8. Ravens are keepers of secrets. They are to be respected and valued for their signs.
    Great post!
    Blessings, Moana

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  9. I enjoyed your page very much. My name is Raven, and like the connection I have with Ravens.

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  10. YEAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  11. Ravens are viewed favourably by the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest. They have an entirely less macabre tradition that holds "Raven" as one of their main gods. He is known for his intelligence, cunning and capricious nature and corresponds to the misunderstood outcast archetype.

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  12. i would like to know who made that paint of that man with the raven reflect in water.in fact that man looks like me, i know that sounds strange but it is true!!anyway thanks in advance.

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    1. I have wondered the same thing since I have had reoccurring dreams of a similar man since my youth

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  13. The "One for Sorrow....Two for Joy...." has always played at the back of my mind.....and if I see a single Raven....I go out of my way to look for another.....
    Very good post....All the best

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  14. that pic with the refection is totally me

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  15. I Knew A Person Named Raven So I Was Amazed With This Fact

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  16. What does it mean if you find yourself following a serpent in the sky made of raven from your place of employment all the way to your home? What if it dips sharply down and then back up so that it appears to be pointing at your home just as a serpent in the sky (as the branch of the Cosmic Tree) pointed at you in a dream? And what if 20 years later you spend a day reading John Anthony West's Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt, you go outside for two hours, and find yourself surrounded by thousands of very loud, excited raven? (Hypothetically speaking of course.)

    That is something I would really like to know.

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  17. In NW US Indian mythology, the 'Trickster' raven stole the sun and brought it to us so our world might have light.

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  18. Have any of you heard of a Phoenix falling in love with a Raven. The Phoenix was a boy and the Raven a girl, and that the white embers symbolizes it's love for the other?

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  19. ... My friends call me raven ... I found most of these ones to be almost exact words of my grandmother... She had pet ravens

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  20. the ravens have followed me for the last 21 years..It was about that time that I began to notice them gathering in my field out back of my home...approximately a year after noticing this, my only child, by then a young man, died of a blood disorder...still the ravens follow me, sometimes warning of danger, sometimes leading my path in dreams...it is my 'spirit' totem...when i was younger i thought surely i was a cat, perhaps a panther but as the years past, one tattoo after another put on my body was a raven....and then mid back and across my shoulders, the owl...life is so mysterious....

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  21. All of this information is really cool. I read a book that sort of had something to do with ravens and I wanted to know more. They symbolize a lot of different things. But they seem like fascinating birds.

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  22. Very interesting history and stories I have read here. Thank you for opening up the portal.

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  23. I was always curious about the superstitions around Ravens.

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  24. Always when I go outside(I live in the AZ mountains), ravens come to me; or I see their shadows next to my truck on the road. They visit me in campsites leaving me gifts of feathers, and warn me of visitors. I communicate with them by their own language and they can learn ours(like a parrot). The Navajo believe ravens to be leaders of journeys on the road and in life. The natives of upper West coast believe the curious intelligent raven discovered mankind under a shell on the beach and brought us out into the world. They don't trust us but still extend friendship. A friend in Maine found an orphaned raved on his home and raised it to maturity and the raven would fly next on him on his as long as he could keep up. At a sanctuary I taught one to play catch with food (that it would go bury). They are awesome and deserve our respect and kindness. -Barry in Pinetop








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  25. Genesis 8:6-7 "Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth." It seem clear that God has a very special place for ravens.....Among the early hunter gatherers on the isle of Britan (England, Ireland, etc.), ravens were known to identify the location of deer and wild game to the hunters; the birds would enjoy what was left after the animal was field dressed.

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  26. that's very interesting, love those pictures

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  27. Thanks! I love this post. I have a couple of Raven tattoos because, despite what the tradition may be, I think they are lucky, cool birds. I mean, they are clever, long-lived, and they mate for life. They are probably one of the smartest birds alive.

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  28. And in the Cherokee legend, he is a figure of lesson to not be selfish. It is said he found the first fire and tried to hide it to leep for hiimself and it scorched his feathers to the charcoal color they are today as a reminder to all not to se greedy or selfish. This is a rather abbreviated version but gets you the gist of it.

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  29. Not much mentioned about the Native Alaskan versions of the Trickster - the Raven. He's VERY important to their cultures, bringing light to humanity, and so much more! We're a small group in Alaska trying to get the RAVEN selected as our real State Bird! The last one was selected (but not by The People) when Alaska was a territory, so we're thinking we need a STATE bird and what better one than our beloved RAVEN? Can we use a drawing on your page for our FB page? It's the one of the man being a raven, raven being Man. Just one of the 100s I'd like to use and am getting permission for. We have zero funds, aren't going looking for grants or anything else and if this initiative gets enough signatures around the State, it will just become, by the 28th Legislature, our new state bird! Too cool! No one will be getting the keys to the city, or state or any prize money -- just good feeling, we' like to sahre of a job well done! :-) Care to share? Terryreed@alaska.net

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