The following post is all about our friend, the Raven. It also contains a cool story about the wolf and the raven.
"And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart,
I stood repeating "'Tis some visitor entreating entreating entrance at my chamber door,
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;
This it is, and nothing more....."
Ravens are thought to be prophetic. A Bad Omen. A Symbol of Death. Omnivore. A protector of Mediums and Clairvoyants. These incredible birds get a lot of bad press, but in reality they are highly intelligent creatures.
Ravens are the largest perching bird in the world, and the largest member of the crow family. Its plume and appearance is jet black, with an average height of about 26 inches, and an impressive wing-span of relatively the same as their height which has been up to 3.8 to 4.7 feet. It weighs an average of 2.3 pounds. In the wild, it can live to around 13 years - and up to 30 years! - and when seen together as a group, is called a flock.
In ancient times, it was believed that the raven represented the devil in disguise. Norman invaders used raven emblems to symbolize death and hence, made it a symbol or a harbinger of war.
In some cultures the raven is a symbol of magic, the mystery of the unknown, death and transformation, wisdom, protection, and prophecy.
The raven is also frequently linked with prophecy, further enhancing its status as a bird of the occult. Not only was it a messenger of the gods, both as an informant and as a guide, but it also was thought to be the most prophetic of all birds. People are still referred to as having "the foresight of ravens".
The Raven's voice
For us humans, who hear it's call or cry "Corpse, Corpse" believe that if a raven is near a person who is ill, they may never recover. It has been suggested that the raven's subperb sense of smell can detect flesh that is decaying, therefore it's association with death.
Long ago, ravens were had the ability to locate sources of water. There is a story that "Sacrificing gods" sent the raven to the skies to search for water. During it's flight, it landed and grew hungry. During this time, it waited for figs to ripen, and when it returned, it had angered the gods, who cursed it by giving it a terrible thirst during summer months. It was left with a parched throat, and is why the raven croaks. Note: I read this story online in a few places, but cannot find a source to who were the "sacrificing gods".
"The voice is normally a distinctive deep, harsh croak, or hollow croaking honk. Ravens have a large, complex vocabulary of sounds in their repertoire including a high knocking "toc toc toc", a dry, grating "Kraa", low guttural rattles, and some more musical calls. Captive birds have even been taught to speak." -paganspace.net
A raven on the roof of the house because it is said to bring luck to everyone within.
In western parts of England, people tip their hats to ravens as a salute.
According to Welsh tradition, if a blind person shows kindness to a raven, it will help that person regain his or her sight.
If you are silly enough to rob a raven's nest, your town will be punished by the death of a baby.
The Cornish warn against harming a raven, explaining that the bird may be the reincarnation of King Arthur.
Ravens facing the direction of a clouded sun foretell hot weather.
If you see a raven preening, rain is on the way.
Ravens flying towards each other signify an omen of war.
Seeing a raven tapping on a window foretold death.
If a raven is heard croaking near a house, there will be a death in it.
If a raven flies around the chimney of a sick person's house, they will die.
The raven represents the profane, the devil, evil spirits, the trickster and thief, war and destruction, death and doom, the void.
"Many parts of Celtic Britain and Ireland view the raven as a good omen:
Shetland and Orkney - if a maiden sees a raven at Imbolic she can foretell the direction of her future husband's home by following the raven's path of flight.
Wales - if a raven perches on a roof, it means prosperity for the family.
Scotland - deerstalkers believed it bode well to hear a raven before setting out on a hunt.
Ireland - ravens with white feathers were believed a good omen, especially if they had white on the wings.
Ravens flying on your right hand or croaking simultaneously were also considered good omens."
One for bad news,
Two for mirth.
Three is a wedding,
Four is a birth.
Five is for riches,
Six is a thief.
Seven, a journey,
Eight is for grief.
Nine is a secret,
Ten is for sorrow.
Eleven is for love,
Twelve - joy for tomorrow.
The Wolf and The Raven
"Very few mammals have symbiotic relationships with other animals. One of the few exceptions is the raven and the wolf. Ravens are sometimes known as "wolf-birds" because they form social attachments with wolves. Where there are wolves, there are often ravens that follow wolves to grab leftovers from the hunt, and to tease the wolves. They play with the wolves by diving at them and then speeding away or pecking their tails to try to get the wolves to chase them.
The wolf and the raven have a complex relationship that is many thousands of years old. Although the wolf had been missing from Yellowstone since the 1940's, the raven had not forgotten the wolf and what their relationship meant for both of them. With the reintroduction of the wolf into Yellowstone National Park, the old ways are once again practiced by both.
Wolves and ravens have long been connected in folklore and fact. The Nordic God Odin is often represented sitting on his throne, flanked by his two wolves Geri and Freki and two ravens Huggin and Munin. Tales of hunting interaction involving wolves, ravens and humans figure prominently in the storytelling of Tlingit and Inuit, Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, with the ravens appearing as form-changing wise guys and tricksters, taking advantage of both humans and wolves.
Ravens are possibly the most intelligent birds, based on their omnivorous adaptability to almost any environment, their fascination with colorful toys and glittery objects, their use of natural tools, and their diverse repertoire of sounds and vocalizations. Wherever wolves hunt, ravens are usually present, scavenging prey and sometimes leading wolves to potential prey or to carcasses too tough for even the ravens' heavy, pick-like beaks to penetrate.
Ravens not only scavenge wolf kills, but steal up to one third of a carcass by continually carrying away chunks of meat, caching and hiding them both from the wolves and their fellow ravens. A fascinating new study suggests that since an adult wolf can by itself kill any prey smaller than a large moose, the real reason wolves hunt in packs, is to minimize the portion of a carcass lost to ravens!
And while it may seem that wolves have the short end of this symbiotic relationship with ravens, idle wolves and ravens have been observed playing together, with ravens pulling on wolf tails, and wolf cubs chasing after teasing ravens.
In several studies conducted at Yellowstone National Park where carcasses were randomly left for ravens, it showed them to be initially cautious, waiting for other ravens or other scavengers to approach first. However, when following a wolf pack they usually began feeding immediately after and sometimes alongside the wolves....
Bernd Heinrich in "Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds" wrote: "Ravens can be attracted to wolf howls. The wolves' howls before they go on a hunt, and it is a signal that the birds learn to heed. Conversely, wolves may respond to certain raven vocalizations or behavior that indicate prey. The raven-wolf association may be close to a symbiosis that benefits the wolves and ravens alike. At a kill site, the birds are more suspicious and alert than wolves. The birds serve the wolves as extra eyes and ears."" ~wolfandravens.blogspot