Ravens and crows symbolize death, the soul, and mourning in many cultures.

Some Native Americans believe these birds are the spirits of the dead. To kill a raven is to damn a mans' soul, and to eat one is definitely taboo.

But dey makes for some mighty fine vittles, if you ask Cletus.


Kingdom: Animalia.
Phylum: Chordata.
Class: Aves. All birds are members of this class, whether they fly or not.
Order: Passeriformes. Commonly called the 'songbirds', these are the 'perching' birds.
Family: Corvidae. This family includes all the 'crow' type birds, including Magpies, Jays, Nutcrackers, Ravens, and, of course, Crows.
The family emerged in the middle Miocene period (23.7 - 5.3 million years ago).
Genus: Corvus. This is the classification especially for ravens and crows.
Species: Two common species are C. Corax and C.Cryptoleucus.

Physical Description

Ravens are large black birds, with a blue-purple iridescence to their feathers. They are approximately 24-27 inches long at maturity, and their wingspan doubles that. The beak and feet are black, and the iris of the eye is brown. Young birds are less glossy than adults, but they lose the dullness when they reach maturity.

Although they are frequently confused with crows, ravens differ in many ways. A raven's beak is larger and heavier than a crow's beak. Their throat feathers are more pointed and elongated, giving them a 'spiky' appearance when they fluff up. Crows' throat feathers, on the other hand, are rounded, like a semicircular fan. Most noticeably, their caw is much deeper than the crow's call, and much throatier. Also, a raven's call is more varied than the repetitive cawing of a crow.


Ravens are a common sight in countries around the globe, and can survive in many different climates. They range from islands in the northern Arctic to deserts of North Africa, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Coasts of North America. They can be found in England, in Mexico, in Turkey, and many other locations. Preferences vary with species, but most prefer wooded areas, especially along the coast and in the mountains.

Nesting Habits

Ravens nest in single pairs (pairs which stay away from other nesting pairs). Evidence suggests that, once paired, ravens will remain mated for life. New mates can be found if a member of the pair dies and the other survives. The female raven lays 4 - 7 eggs, which are greenish, blotched with brown. Both parents incubate the eggs, and feed the hungry young. Young stay in the nest for approximately 6 - 10 weeks.

Eating Habits

Ravens are omnivorous. They will eat anything which is edible (and many things which aren't). Their usual diet contains insects, seeds, berries, carrion (the bodies of animals killed by creatures other than the raven), the eggs and young of other birds, and occasionally small mammals. When living near humans, ravens will also eat human garbage.

Suggested Reading:
Mind of the Raven and Ravens in Winter by Bernd Heinrich

Native American Stories: (More to come)

Other Stories:

A deity from the mythology of the Northwest Coast people, known in English as a Trickster. This figure is the primary god for the Haida, a First Nations people from a group of islands off the coast of British Columbia called the Haida Gwaii, now known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

In their stories, he is "both the ultimate rebel and the foremost maker of laws" (Claude Levi-Strauss, 1989) The Raven possesses immoderate appetites that were commonplace and allowed in the Beginning, where everything is possible, but are no longer deemed acceptable now in social life, where rules have become necessary.

Therefore he is regarded as the bridge between these two worlds. The subsequent consequences for his mistakes serve as reminders for Haida children to behave, and serve also to symbolize the unknown, variable factor in everyday life.

Raven is a light (35-ton) 'Mech, favored by the Inner Sphere for its electronic warfare capabilities. As such, it has become very famous as a reconnaissance 'Mech. It was first produced in Capellan Confederation.

Raven carries ECM suite, active probe, Target Aquisition Gear for artillery strike coordination, and NARC missile beacon launcher.

It isn't much weapon- or armor-wise, though - it has SRM-6 and a couple of medium lasers, that's all.

See also BattleTech.

compiled overview of the 35 ton Raven 'Mech, from various BattleTech novels and game sourcebooks:

Two decades ago, the Raven was House Liao's experimental attempt to produce a 'Mech that could provide a battalion or regiment with sophisticated electronic-warfare capabilities. The equipment was not a complete success, being too heavy and insufficiently sophisticated to turn the tide of battle. Recovered Star League technology, however, has made the Raven a viable BattleMech. Produced exclusively by Hellespont Industries on Sian, the RVN-3L Raven is striding off the assembly line bristling with the most advanced electronics ever seen in the Inner Sphere.

The key to the 'Mech's success are the lighter materials and equipment now available. The Hermes 210 XL engine saved enough mass to equip the Raven with even more electronic gear than its original designers planned in 3025. The Guardian ECM suite helps shield the Raven and the rest of its accompanying unit from enemy sensors. The Beagle active probe, which meshes especially well with the Apple Churchill 2000 targeting system, locates even hidden enemy units. Once it locates the enemy, the Raven can bombard him to rubble. The target acquisition gear, hooked directly to the Beagle active probe, spots the enemy accurately for friendly fire from the Arrow IV artillery system. The Churchill Narc Beacon also provides a magnet for direct-fire missiles from the Raven and the rest of the 'Mechs in its unit.

The economy of weight allows Hellespont Industries to give the Raven better armor protection as well. An additional half-ton of armor protects the front torso and arms, and Cellular Ammunition Storage Equipment shields the missile reloads against an internal explosion.

Note: Information used here was the domain of FASA before they split the rights between Wizkids LLC and Microsoft (table-top gaming and video games respectively). Copyright of the fluff text is in limbo, but names of persons, places, & things are without any doubt the property of Wizkids LLC. Use of any terms here related to the BattleTech trademark are not meant as a challenge to Wizkids LLC's rights.
Ravens, like coyotes, are incredibly intelligent and resourceful. Reaching beyond the effective but simple cunning of hawks and other birds living around my home, ravens seem to have an intelligence beyond what we realize. Ravens are incredibly resourceful; they actually have learned how to use cars as tools, dropping walnuts in front of a moving car's tires to be opened. Countless times i have been startled by a raven flying by close in front of my car, and concerned that it might be confused or out of balance, swerved away from the flash of black feathers. Indeed this is a vast underappreciation of the ravens; they are experts at dropping the walnuts in exactly the right place and my attempts to avoid them simply denies them an open walnut shell.

Ravens are incredibly adaptable, and thrive in areas of human habitation. In fact, many people believe there are more ravens now than there ever were before Europeans came to the Americas. Ravens have been continually expanding their range, and thriving in areas where few other truly wild animals can. Sometimes it seems that they are mocking us, the way they watch us bustle about, all the while living easily in our shadows. It is easy to see why the Native Americans considered the raven a wise prankster.. Their adaptability to humans has not caused to let their guard down, however... the very act of dropping a walnut directly in front of a car's tires reveals the fact that they don't expect us to dodge to avoid them. In dropping walnuts and swerving away inches from death, and in so many other endeavors of their daily suburban lives, ravens prove that they are experts at balancing on the line between danger and prosperity.

Just because ravens aren't tame doesn't mean they are uninterested in humans, though. Many times i have looked directly into a raven's eye and seen surprising intelligence as it glanced back at me. Supposedly, some ravens have learned a few human words and shout them at various people, apparently realizing that the words get responses. When you approach a raven in an open minded, friendly way, it will probably look at you with that intelligent look, and perhaps share some knowledge with you. However, the raven will not let you get close enough to endanger it. Ravens, after all, are tricksters, and they don't expect anything else from humans, either.

Yesterday i found a cracked walnut sitting on my porch. I couldnt help but wonder if the raven left it there on purpose, although it seems more likely that the nut just rolled off of the roof where the birds were roosting. But with ravens, one never knows. I happen to believe that once the time for humans to live here has come and long passed, ravens, along with coyotes and a few other survivors, will still be stalking the shadows of our empty buildings.

A superhero created by George Perez and Marv Wolfman and published by DC Comics. Raven first appeared in DC Comics Presents #26 in October 1980.

Raven is the daughter of Arella, a human woman, and Trigon, an extra-dimensional demon. Arella became caught up in a cult who worshipped Trigon, who is called Trigon the Terrible. Arella was made his bride and became pregnant by him. Arella became despondent, believing that the child she carried would be some type of inhuman monster. Deciding death would be better than allowing the child to live, Arella contemplated suicide.

However, before she could carry out her own death and that of her unborn child, Arella was taken to Azarath, another dimension, where a peaceful group of humans had gone to live. When her daughter was born, Arella called her Raven and she was raised by the poeple of Azarath. They taught this daughter of Trigon to suppress her emotions, fearing that they would release her to her father's influence. They also taught her to heal others by absorbing their injuries into herself. She was also capable of releasing her soul from her body for a time.

Believing that Trigon would attack Earth, Raven returned to her home and tried to gain aid from the heroes of earth. The members of the Justice League of America refused to help her, so Raven turned to the members of the original Teen Titans for help. Robin, Wonder Girl, & Kid Flash along with Changeling, Cyborg, and Starfire joined Raven in battling her father. The group were able to turn Trigon back and trap him in his own dimension.

The group continued to adventure together, with Raven becoming an active member of the group. Eventually, Trigon's influence on Raven began to grow and he corrupted her. He came to Earth and with his daughter's help, began to overtake the world. Guided by the souls of Azarath, the Titan Lilth and Raven's mother Arella were able to cleanse Raven's body of the influence of her father. The souls of Azarath were then able to use Raven's body to attack Trigon, cleansing him of evil, by taking their corruption upon himself. The battle ended with both Trigon and Raven disappearing.

Months later, Raven reappeared, having lost her memory for a time. She resurfaced in the hands of the Titan's villain, Brother Blood. Brother Blood and his henchmen used Raven's powers to elicite loyalty from his followers. Raven eventually rebelled against Blood and helped the remaining Titans defeat him.

Unbeknownst to the Titans, the souls of Azarath had been corrupted during their battle with Trigon. They gained control over Joe Wilson, the Titan known as Jericho. Using Wilson's ability to possess people, the souls of Azarath began to harry the Titans in the guise of the Wildebeests.

Eventually, the Titans were all hunted down and captured to serve as vessels for the souls of Azarath to use. Wilson was killed destroying the body the souls were using. They possessed Raven and used her body which was destroyed by her mother Arella and the Titan Danny Chase, who were both killed in the ensuing battle.

Raven's soul which was no longer hindered by her body returned, having been completely corrupted by her father's nature. She attacked the Titans, attempting to implant what she believed to be children of Trigon in the Titans. In fact, what she believed to be children of Trigon, were in fact, parts of Trigon that would eventually reform to resurrect Trigon. The evil part of her soul and the resurrected Trigon were opposed by the Titans and the pure part of Raven's soul which had been implanted inside her teammate Starfire. Trigon and her evil soul were destroyed, leaving her pure soul free to explore the universe.

Poem by the Greek poet Γιώργος Σεφέρης (George Seferis), written in 1937 as a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven'.

    In memoriam E. A. P.

    Χρόνια σὰν τὰ φτερά. Τί θυμᾶται τ' ἀκίνητο κοράκι;
    τί θυμοῦνται οἱ πεθαμένοι κοντὰ στὶς ρίζες τῶν δέντρων;
    Εἶχαν ἕνα χρῶμα τὰ χέρια σου σὰν τὸ μῆλο ποὺ πέφτει.
    Κι αὐτὴ ἡ φωνὴ ποὺ ξαναγυρίζει πάντα, χαμηλή.

    Ἐκεῖνοι ποὺ ταξιδεύουν κοιτάζουν τὸ πανὶ καὶ τ' ἀστέρια
    ἀκοῦνε τὸν ἀγέρα ἀκοῦνε πέρα ἀπ' τὸν ἀγέρα τὴν ἄλλη θάλασσα
    σὰν ἕνα κοχύλι κλειστὸ κοντά τους, δὲν ἀκοῦνε
    τίποτε ἄλλο, δὲν ψάχνουν μέσα στοὺς ἴσκιους τῶν κυπαρισσιῶν
    ἕνα χαμένο πρόσωπο, ἕνα νόμισμα, δὲ γυρεύουν
    κοιτάζοντας ἕνα κοράκι σ' ἕνα ξερὸ κλωνί, τί θυμᾶται.
    Μένει ἀκίνητο πάνω στὶς ὧρες μου λίγο πιὸ ψηλὰ
    σὰν τὴν ψυχὴ ἑνὸς ἀγάλματος ποὺ δὲν ἔχει μάτια
    εἶναι ἕνα πλῆθος μαζεμένο μέσα σ' αὐτὸ τὸ πουλὶ
    χίλιοι ἄνθρωποι ξεχασμένοι σβησμένες ρυτίδες
    ἐρειπωμένες ἀγκαλιὲς καὶ γέλια ποὺ δὲν τέλειωσαν
    ἔργα σταματημένα σιωπηλοὶ σταθμοὶ
    ἕνας ὕπνος βαρὺς ἀπὸ χρυσὰ ψιχαλίσματα.
    Μένει ἀκίνητο. Κοιτάζει τὶς ὧρες μου. Τί θυμᾶται;
    Εἶναι πολλὲς πληγὲς μέσα στοὺς ἀόρατους ἀνθρώπους, μέσα του
    πάθη μετέωρα περιμένοντας τὴ δεύτερη παρουσία
    ἐπιθυμίες ταπεινὲς ποὺ κόλλησαν πάνω στὸ χῶμα
    σκοτωμένα παιδιὰ καὶ γυναῖκες ποὺ κουράστηκαν τὴν αὐγή.
    Τάχα νὰ βαραίνει πάνω στὸ ξερὸ κλωνὶ τάχα νὰ βαραίνει
    πάνω στὶς ρίζες τοῦ κίτρινου δέντρου πάνω στοὺς ὤμους
    τῶν ἄλλων ἀνθρώπων, τὶς παράξενες φυσιογνωμίες
    ποὺ δὲν τολμοῦν νὰ γγίξουν μιὰ στάλα νερὸ βυθισμένοι στὸ χῶμα
    τάχα νὰ βαραίνει πουθενά;
    Εἶχαν ἕνα βάρος τὰ χέρια σου ὅπως μέσα στὸ νερὸ
    μέσα στὶς θαλασσινὲς σπηλιές, ἕνα βάρος ἀλαφρὺ χωρὶς συλλογὴ
    μὲ τὴν κίνηση κάποτε ποὺ διώχνουμε τὴν ἄσκημη σκέψη
    στρώνοντας τὸ πέλαγο ὣς πέρα στὸν ὁρίζοντα στὰ νησιά.
    Εἶναι βαρὺς ὁ κάμπος ὕστερ' ἀπ' τὴ βροχή· τί θυμᾶται
    μαύρη στεκάμενη φλόγα πάνω στὸν γκρίζο οὐρανὸ
    σφηνωμένη ἀνάμεσα στὸν ἄνθρωπο καὶ στὴν ἀνάμηση τοῦ ἀνθρώπου
    ἀναμέσα στὴν πληγὴ καὶ τὸ χέρι ποὺ πλήγωσε μαύρη λόγχη,
    σκοτείνιασε ὁ κάμπος πίνοντας τὴ βροχή, ἔπεσε ὁ ἀγέρας
    δὲ σώνει ἡ δική μου πνοή, ποιὸς θὰ τὸ μετακινήσει;
    ἀνάμεσα στὴ μνήμη, χάσμα—ἕνα ξαφνισμένο στῆθος
    ἀνάμεσα στοὺς ἴσκιους ποὺ μάχουνται νὰ ξαναγίνουν ἄντρας καὶ γυναίκα
    ἀνάμεσα στὸν ὕπνου καὶ στὸ θάνατο στεκάμενη ζωή.

    Εἶχαν μιὰ κίνηση τὰ χέρια σου πάντα πρὸς τὸν ὕπνο τοῦ πελάγου
    χαϊδεύοντας τ' ὄνειρο ποὺ ἀνέβαινε ἥσυχα τὴ μαλαματένια ἀράχνη
    φέρνοντας μέσα στὸν ἥλιο τὸ πλῆθος τῶν ἀστερισμῶν
    τὰ κλεισμένα βλέφαρα τὰ κλεισμένα φτερά...

    Κοριτσά, χειμώνας 1937

    In memoriam E. A. P.

    Years like wings. What does the motionless raven remember?
    What do the dead the roots of trees remember?
    Your hands had the colour of an apple ready to fall.
    And that voice which always returns, that low voice.
    Those who travel watch the sail and the stars,
    they hear the wind they hear beyond the wind the other sea
    like a closed shell near them, they don't hear
    anything else, they don't look among the shadows of the cypresses;
    for a lost face, a coin; they don't search,
    watching a raven on a dry branch, for what it remembers.
    It remains motionless just a little above my hours
    like the soul of an eyeless statue.
    There is a throng gathered in that bird;
    thousands of people forgotten, wrinkles obliterated
    broken embraces and laughter that has not ended,
    works arrested, silent stations.
    a heavy sleep of golden spangles.
    It remains motionless. It gazes at my hours. What does it remember?
    There are many wounds inside those invisible people, inside it,
    suspended passions waiting for the Second Coming
    humble desires cleaved upon the ground,
    children slaughtered and women exhausted at dawn.
    Who knows if it lies heavy on the dry branch,
    if it lies heavy on the roots of the yellow tree, on the shoulders
    of other men, these strange figures
    sunk in the ground, not daring to touch even a drop of water?
    Who knows if it lies heavy anywhere at all?
    Your hands had the weight of hands in the water
    in the sea caves, a light carefree weight
    with that movement we make sometimes when we dismiss a black thought
    by pushing the sea away to the horizon, to the islands.
    The plain is heavy after the rain; what remembers
    that black static flame on the grey sky,
    wedged between man and the memory of man,
    between the wound and the hand which was wounded by a black lance.
    The plain darkened drinking the rain, the wind dropped;
    my own breath isn't enough; who will remove it?
    Amidst the memory, a gulf - a startled breast
    amidst the shadows struggling to become man and woman again
    amidst sleep and death a stagnant life.
    Your hands moved always towards the sea's drowsiness
    caressing the dream that ascended the golden spider
    bearing into the sun the host of constellations
    the closed eyelids the closed wings...

    Coritsa, winter 1937

Poem 'Raven' from Γιώργος Σεφέρης - Ποιήματα, Ίκαρος, 2000 (ISBN 960-7233-10-7) (So far, I've been unable to find the proper contact information for the publisher and/or copyright holder of this poem.)
Translation from http://www.mikis-theodorakis.net/raven-e.htm. Published with permission. (Guy Wagner, owner of http://www.mikis-theodorakis.net/ wrote: 'You may include the English translation of "Raven" if you indicate the site where you found it and make a link to the Theodorakis Homepage.')

All Greek characters are in Unicode. Unfortunately not all browsers are able to display the characters with diacritical marks. I do not wish to omit them though because that would be a violation of the poem. My apologies for this inconvenience.

George Seferis is a nodeshell waiting to be filled ;-).


The raven is one of the most important birds in Celtic mythology (and there are many important types of birds). The raven is a symbol of death and war, but also of the otherworld and its eternal pleasures. In Ireland, the raven is especially associated with Badb, whose name means "raven" and is an aspect of the Triple Goddess, Morrigan or the Morrigue. Her sisters Macha and Neman also appear in the forms of ravens on the battlefield.

In Welsh myth, the raven is associated with Bran (Bendigedfran ap Llyr), the Fisher King. He is lord of the otherworld, the feasting head who owned the cauldron of rebirth.

The raven is also associated with Owain ap Urien, one of Arthur's greatest knights. While Owain was a historical figure, he became mythologized, to the point that his mother is sometimes listed as the goddess Modron, and later Morgan le Fay, who is, of course, the same raven goddess Morrigan.

The raven is a symbol of death, but the Celts, believing in both a happy otherworld and reincarnation, did not fear death, but welcomed it as part of the cycle, over which the raven rules.

Ra"ven (?), n. [AS. hraefn; akin to raaf, G. rabe, OHG. hraban, Icel. hrafn, Dan. ravn, and perhaps to L. corvus, Gr. . .] Zool.

A large black passerine bird (Corvus corax), similar to the crow, but larger. It is native of the northern part of Europe, Asia and America, and is noted for its sagacity.

Sea raven Zool., the cormorant.


© Webster 1913.

Ra"ven, a.

Of the color of the raven; jet black; as, raven curls; raven darkness.

<-- raven-haired -->


© Webster 1913.

Rav"en (?), n. [OF. ravine impetuosity, violence, F. ravine ravine. See Ravine, Rapine.] [Written also ravin, and ravine.]


Rapine; rapacity.



Prey; plunder; food obtained by violence.


© Webster 1913.

Rav"en, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Ravened (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Ravening.] [Written also ravin, and ravine.]


To obtain or seize by violence.



To devoir with great eagerness.

Like rats that ravin down their proper bane. Shak.


© Webster 1913.

Rav"en, v. i.

To prey with rapacity; to be greedy; to show rapacity.

[Written also ravin, and ravine.]

Benjamin shall raven as a wolf. Gen. xlix. 27.


© Webster 1913.

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