Raven superstitions - speakers of truth and bad omens
At Halloween time scary decorations pop up all over homes, schools, and businesses. And on those chilly autumn evenings, a raven flying to its roost high in the trees takes on an extra creepiness. As eaters of carrion, ravens have traditionally been regarded with dread and associated with death and disease. They are actually very intelligent birds that care for each other, but the knowing gleam in their eyes has only added to the superstitions attributed to them because ravens seem to look at you with evil intent or at the very least an expectation of doom.
- In Norse mythology Odin held the raven to be a sacred bird. Two ravens, Hugin and Munin, attended him and flew around the world every day and reported back to Odin every night.
- Irish folklore considers ravens to be the messengers of the gods. What a raven states is considered to be confirmed as truth.
- In the Wales and Cornwall, folk beliefs hold that King Arthur lives on in the form of a raven and that ravens should never be killed.
- Because of the strong reverence for ravens in Norse traditions, the birds often appeared on the banners of marauding Norsemen in the ninth and tenth centuries, which surely added to the fearful aspect of ravens.
- To hear a raven croaking to the left of you is a bad omen.
- Again in Wales, a belief existed that a blind person who was kind to a raven would be cured of blindness. The connection may have arisen because ravens will eat the eyes of the dead and supposedly gain superior powers of sight.