Raven, Crow – Spirit Animal, Totem, Symbolism and Meaning

It is interesting to see how certain animals gained such an important influence in the spiritual world. Often times I wonder whether their physical traits caused this to happen, or was it their behavior that made them stand out from all the other animals. Two of these unique and special animals are ravens and crows. Often time people confuse them, which is not such a big deal since they share more similarities than they do differences.

The best way to tell a difference between a raven and a crow is by their size. Ravens are slightly larger and they always travel in pairs, while crows are smaller and always travel in middle sized groups. Our ancestors had difficult times telling the difference themselves, so most folk tales and stories confuse these two birds. Even visual representations of these birds are similar, so we will be focusing on their symbolism as they were the same thing.

Ravens and crows inhabit most of our planet and we can find them in almost all parts of the world. Because of this, many cultures gave their own unique view on the symbolism of these birds and shaped them into something they thought was appropriate. To some of them ravens and crows were considered as carriers of good luck and fortune, while others saw them as carriers of bad luck and even death.

Every culture has its own cultural and symbolic depiction of these birds, so let us enter the symbolic world of these extraordinary creatures. If you ever wondered, what does a crow represent, here is a chance to find out.

Spirit Animal and Totem

  • Spirit animal

Spirit animals and totems are often confused terms. Spirit animals are there to guide us or show us the way in life, when we need guidance the most. Spirit animals are animals we connect with on the deepest level and their behaviors are something we often see in ourselves. Their spiritual powers latch on to us and show us the way in life. When we feel like we are lost and without a goal in life, spirit animals come in and show us where to go next.

Unlike spirit animals that appear in our lives when we need them and when our souls are seeking guidance, totems come only when we seek for them. Totems can be called upon individually or in groups. Their primary goal is to lead us in life or protect us with their unique strengths.

Every animal has its own strengths that can help us overcome difficult moments in life and endure extreme problems. Totems pass on these strengths on to us and give us the ability to persevere.

As a spirit animal, raven or a crow is best described with these words:

  • Truthful,
  • Vocal,
  • Creative,
  • Intelligent,
  • Unpredictable,
  • Unconventional,
  • Insightful,
  • Mysterious,
  • Curious,
  • Brassy,
  • Knowing,
  • Authentic

When we are in difficult moments in our lives, raven/crow spirit animal wakes up these characteristics and makes us less hurt by other people. People guided by the raven/crow spirit animal are vocal. They know how to tell others what they are feeling and what is on their mind. They leave nothing for later and they always say what they mean to others.

Since they can use their words to get out of almost any situation, people guided by this spirit animal excel at jobs like PR managing or diplomacy. It is almost as they know what others want to hear, which makes them excellent speakers.

Besides being vocal, people guided by this spirit animal are mysterious. Even though they are not afraid to speak out, they always know when to keep quiet. There are certain things nobody knows about them and this makes them mysterious to other people. Everybody wants to get inside their mind and find out what they are thinking about. Sometimes, even the ones who spent a lifetime with them never get to know them truly.

Raven/crow spirit animal makes people guided by it creative and insightful. They are able to create something out of nothing and wow others with their talents. Even if you think that this person has nothing to offer, you will soon change your mind. They use their talents to pursue their careers and many people guided by this spirit animal become highly successful people.

Their insightfulness gives them the upper hand when it comes to evaluating other people and different situations. Intuition is something they are guided by and what helps them be on the right place in the right time. When you have the basic idea about how the things will play out, it is much easier to achieve what you wanted.

People guided by a raven/crow spirit animal are also authentic and highly curious about everything. They know how to present themselves and stand out from the crowd. Their ability to make an image of themselves is extraordinary and what sets them apart from everybody else. People guided by the raven/crow spirit animal are highly curious about life.

Nothing passes by them and they are very interested about things that are happening around them. This helps them be on top of the situation at all times and avoid any danger that might be lurking.

Being intelligent is always a plus, but their intelligence is not only built on education. People guided by this spirit animal are street smart and have the kind of intelligence that helps them figure out ways to get out of problems in life. They can work at almost any job and pursue almost any career, since their mind gives them the opportunity to do so.

Being truthful is another thing they give great attention to. You will never hear a lie from this person, even though the truth might be more painful than the lie. This is something in their blood and they can’t help it or fight against it. When they notice something they have to share it and express their opinion about the situation. Hiding secrets about themselves is something they are good at, but when it comes to speaking out the truth they are the best.

If you need an honest advice, this is definitely the person to talk to. You know that the advice will be from the heart and honest, unlike the advice you might get from other people.

  • Totem

As a totem, raven/crow can send you or arm you with characteristics and powers that will get you out of any situation. When you call upon this totem, you can expect it to send you powers of insight, intuition, intelligence, curiousness and truth. Everyone who is drawn to this totem has something mischievous and dark about them. You are someone who likes to be on top of things, but you don’t like to stand out.

Your secret power is your ability to know everything but never to be in the center of attention for it. The raven/crow totem has the ability to connect to the Higher Self and the Divine. As someone presented by the raven/crow totem you are someone who delivers information to others. You never tell a lie, even if this means you are about to hurt someone. You highly believe that the truth is much important and easier to handle than any lie.

Raven/crow totem gives you almost magical powers. Life will seem much different to you once you enter the spiritual realm of the Raven/crow and you will be able to understand things that you never seemed to understand before. Raven/crow totem is going to help you bring every darkness into light and chase away negativity once and for all.

Symbolism and Meaning

Raven/crow appeared in many folk stories and myths. The raven/crow seemed to mesmerize our ancestors and even the presence of this bird caused high emotional and spiritual turbulence. Most stories are from Greek, Norse, Pacific Northwest and Roman mythologies.

In the Greek mythology, ravens and crows were considered as signs of prophecy. They were linked to the God of prophecy Apollo and often considered as carriers of bad luck. According to a popular myth, Apollo sent a white raven to spy on his lover Coronis. When the raven brought back bad news about Coronis cheating on him, Apollo scorched the raven and turned his feathers black. From that moment on, the raven and the crow are black and considered as carriers as of bad news.

Another myth tells the story about Livy, the Roman general Marcus Valerius Corvus, who made a raven settle on his helmet during one fight. The raven flied off his helmet and attacked the enemy by flying to his face. Crow feather was often used in witchcraft and potions in the middle ages.

In the Hebrew Bible, raven was the first bird mentioned. Noah, in the Book of Genesis, released a raven from the ark to see whether the levels of the sea have decreased. In the Law of Moses, the raven is a bird forbidden for eating and in the Book of Judges one of the Kings of the Midianites defeated by Gideon called Orev, which in translation means “Raven”. Raven was often used as comparison in literature. King Solomon was described with a hair black as a raven. While doves were symbols of virtue in many folk stories, ravens were considered to be symbols of vice and sin. Their presence represented that something negative is about to happen or already happened.

In the Talmud, it was written that raven was one of three animals that copulated on the ark and therefore were punished. Another theory about why the raven hasn’t come back to Noah when he released it, was that the raven was feeding off the flesh of the people who drowned in the flood. These early depictions of the raven scared it for life and turned this bird into one of the most disliked birds, at least when it comes to Christianity and Judaism.

In the middle Ages, raven’s symbolism slightly changed. The story about Liberian Christian martyr Saint Vincent of Saragossa, who was executed and protected by ravens, caused us to see the raven in a completely different way. His grave is still covered with flocks of ravens, and this peculiar story haunts many until today.

In Islam, a raven is considered to be the creature that taught Cain how to dig a grave up for his murdered brother. Craw cawing in many cultures is considered as a bad omen or symbol of misfortune.

In German culture, black crow meaning was associated with the God Odin. Odin would often appear with two ravens on his shoulder in ancient sculptures and art. The ancient English word for raven is hræfn and in Old Norse hrafn which means bloodshed and battle.

To the Celts, raven was the symbol of battle and bloodshed. Goddess Morrigan was represented by a raven as well as the God Badb. They were often used as symbols in art and placed on shoulders of many important historic figures as symbols of protection and respect.

According to an old myth, the Tower of London would fall if the ravens inside would be removed. This legend seems to be respected even today, since nobody had the courage to take ravens outside of the towers for centuries.

Dreams about ravens, crows

Dreams about ravens can be seen as positive and negative. The way we interpret our dreams is very important. Sometimes even the smallest symbols in a dream can have a very important meaning and completely change the meaning of a dream.

If you had a dream about a raven or a crow in general, this means you might encounter serious problems in life. These problems might be linked to your personal life or career, but in any case you will have to completely focus on solving them. Ravens and crows are usually considered as symbols of bad luck and you need to be extra careful when they come to you in dreams. Their presence rarely means good and you can expect almost always to receive some bad news.

When you had a dream about a black raven, this means that someone close to you might get really sick. This person could already be struggling with a disease, but now things will turn really bad. Perhaps you can warn this person and remind him or her to take better care of them and to visit the doctor if they already haven’t done that.

If the raven or a crow in your dream died or the, this means you are about to meet someone who will become your best friend or even a partner. Dead crow meaning is a symbol of betrayal and deceit. This person will be everything you ever wanted in a friend. Many pleasant times are waiting for you with this person, so be social and go out because someone special is waiting for you.

If the raven or a crow in your dream was restless and moving from one place to another, this means you might be in some kind of danger. This danger could be lurking on your workplace or in your surroundings and you have to be extra careful. Someone might even set you up with something, so be careful what you say and with whom you share personal information.

When you killed a raven or a crow in your dream, this means someone from your close surrounding will get really sick. This person might catch a difficult disease or illness. If you already know someone who is suffering from an illness and approaching the death bed, then this might be that person. Do everything in your power to make the last days for this person enjoyable and filled with happiness as much as possible.

If the raven or the crow in your dream was old, this means you will go through some major changes in your life. These changes are going to happen to you in your personal life and in your career, so be prepared to accept them and move along with them. Even though they might seem scary at first, they will be good for you.


Ravens and crows are definitely amazing creatures. There is something extraordinary about their energies and presence that mesmerized people from the first moment they saw them.

Even though their depictions have almost at all times been negative, we can’t deny the fact that their spiritual significance is enormous. Folk stories and myths wouldn’t be the same without ravens and crows as motifs. Their energy still captures our imaginations and makes us fear and worship this bird at the same time.

It might be that the stories of our ancestors have been buried deep inside our brains that we can’t shake away that feeling of fear when we spot a raven or a crow. Whatever you might think about these amazing birds, you can’t deny that the aura they have is still powerful and influential.