Gods and Goddesses

Raven Gods and Crow Goddesses from Various Cultures

Some of the smartest creatures in nature are the crow and raven. Dating back thousands of years are stories of these cunning blackbirds. All over the world, shamans of many cultures have revered the raven for its intelligence, but also for its curiosity and confidence. Raven medicine is strong medicine, or so they say. And so is crow. Here we present raven gods and crow goddesses from various cultures.

Baba Yaga: Slavic Crow Goddess

Baba Yaga is a popular folkloric figure in Slavic countries who was once venerated in ancient times as a goddess. She is typically depicted as an old hag who lives in a hut in the woods. Her wooden cottage has a chicken foot as its foundation, and Baba Yaga herself flies around in a mortar with a pestle in hand. In the tale Vasalisa the Fair, a young woman goes into the forest at night. She searches out Baba Yaga to ask for light for her family’s cottage. She finds the old hag and impresses her with humility and hard work. The old hag rewards her.

Baba Yaga’s Relation to Crows

Baba Yaga’s role in this story and in others is the feared, trickster witch who grants blessings to those who prove themselves worthy. In the tale of Vasalisa and Baba Yaga, three horsemen are key components – so we assume horses are one of Baba Yaga’s animal familiars. But in another version of the tale, Baba Yaga transforms into a crow in the end. A crow fits Baba Yaga’s personality – wise and yet a trickster. This makes her a crow goddess of old.

Bran: The Welsh Raven God

Bran the Blessed is well-known in Welsh mythology as a giant king of ancient Wales and England. Bran’s name translates to “crow” in Welsh, though some debate its etymology. Bran’s sister, Branwen, was married off to a king of Ireland who goes onto mistreat her. When Bran and his men go to rescue his sister, Bran is mortally wounded. He requests for his men to sever his head and take it to the White Tower in London and point it east. So he could forever guard his people and watch the coastline for foreign invaders. Bran is associated with crows and ravens. The White Tower in London was located where the Tower of London stands today. The ravens keeping watch over the Tower of London are there because of Bran the Raven God.

Dhumavati: Hindu Crow Goddess

Dhumavati is the Hindu crow goddess of “the void”, which is the place before time and the place after time ends. She’s associated with death and transformation. Many depictions show her on a cremation ground looking like death itself (decaying teeth, long fingernails, hag-like appearance). She carries the death god Yama’s horn, and sometimes wears a garland of severed heads. Moreover, it comes as no surprise that Dhumavati’s animal guardian is the crow. Dhumavati is depicted riding a large crow or being pulled in a chariot by two blackbirds. Crows are known scavengers on the battlefield, and hence are linked to death gods and goddesses in ancient times.

The Morrigan: Irish Celtic Crow Goddess

The Morrigan is an Irish Celtic goddess who’s able to shapeshift. This crow goddess is the daughter of Ernmas, one of the Tuatha de Danann, and is one of a trinity of deified sisters. The Morrigan is well-known for being a warrior and fate goddess. She will shapeshift into the form of any animal she chooses, including a wolf, eel, and crow. In the The Ulster Cycle, the Morrigan turns into a crow on a few occasions. While she’s known for her battle-role, there are those who also say she is a fertility goddess and values sovereignty above all. The fact the Morrigan shifts into a crow while on the battlefield shows her dominion over death, as the crow feeds on carrion and turns death into fuel for life.

Nephthys: Goddess of the Dead

A pattern emerges with crow and raven gods and goddesses – crows and ravens have guardianship over the dead; therefore, many death gods are related to blackbirds. Nephthys, the Egyptian Goddess of the Dead, is no exception. She too bears the crow as one of her symbols. Nephthys marries Set the god of disorder. However, Nephthys becomes impregnated by Set’s brother, and births Anubis, the god of mummification. While Nephthys is mostly depicted as a woman with falcon-wings, the crow appears in some places as her companion. She is a goddess of the dead and oversees funerary rites.

Odin: The Allfather, God of Ravens

Odin is the Allfather in Norse and Germanic mythology. He has dominion over many aspects of life: death, knowledge, healing, writing, royalty, and chaos. Odin appears often as an one-eyed old man wearing a cloak and holding a staff and is typically flanked by wolves, bears, or ravens. He’s credited with the invention of the Elder furthark runic alphabet. The myth is a part of the Poetic Edda and tells of Odin hanging upside down from a tree for nine days. In sacrificing himself, he is given the runes as a divine reward. The Allfather has two ravens named Huginn and Muninn. These two large blackbirds are messengers to Odin, and bring him information from all realms. Odin is called the “raven-god” in the Prose Edda.

Read More About Gods and Goddesses:

Raven Gods and Crow Goddesses: Celtic, Hindu, Norse and More!

10 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    September 16, 2021 at 3:20 am

    Well, it’s my meditation which actually dragged me to find this page…I saw a man with crow head standing near a magic future ball…he was just looking at me as I was in his world… That was only once I saw him not afterwards but still I sometimes think of that figure..

  2. Mrs Lisa Gore

    September 3, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    I have a crow that lives with me indoors, my daughter found him flapping about soaked through on the edge of a road one night, she brought him home to me. When I checked him over he had a broken wing which had healed but he could no longer fly as a result he was close to starving to death. The local vet and animal sanctuary both wanted to put him down I refused and took him on I have over 20 years of experience keeping and breeding birds so he fell on his feet with me. Confucius as he is now called is a crow very much on the mend. He is very intelligent and mischievous and as a White witch myself I am honoured to have him as part of my family in his own right. He can never return to the wild because can no longer fly or fend for himself. He has a great of interaction with me and has stack of toys to destroy and keep him happy.

  3. Anonymous

    August 12, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    Ravens & crows are not blackbirds. Ravens, crows, jackdaws, magpies & jays are all corvids. Blackbirds are finches.

    1. admin

      August 18, 2020 at 11:06 am

      Actually, since you want to get technical and correct something super silly and minor, the true blackbird is a thrush. Not a finch. Most people see a black bird and think it’s a blackbird. So what? No harm in it.

      1. Nicole

        May 17, 2021 at 10:48 pm

        One in every crowd, right? LOL

        1. Kateri Blackwing

          May 27, 2021 at 6:06 pm

          I see Ravens all the time here in Arizona

    2. Anonymous

      April 9, 2021 at 5:12 pm

      I cannot speak to Norse mythology’s finer details but in Irish, “blackbirds” are synonymous with corvids.

  4. Andrea and Martin Damms

    July 21, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    My husband and I have also been feeding the crows outside our house .They love scraps of bacon ,chicken and bread .We both have tattoos of these beautiful,intelligent creatures and they also make us very happy and will look through our kitchen window if we havnt put anything out for them .

  5. Kimberly Cherokee Ravenwolf

    January 8, 2020 at 2:31 am

    Hail Odin, The Allfather. I have 6 crows that I feed often. I cannot tell if they are male or female but 4 definitely were youngsters when I started feeding them. They’ve become much less shy. They bring me great happiness.

    1. David McCririck

      August 20, 2020 at 2:23 pm

      I, too, have some regular crow visitors. There were two up until a couple of months ago. One kept returning to my garden and the other disappeared for a while and later returned with a wee one! I love watching them.

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