Around the world animal totems have been used by many different societies throughout history. In the present day some people still use them to help with their spiritual development and growth. Many societies believed that by reproducing an animal’s qualities in their own lives, spiritual growth, greater awareness and harmony with the universe can be achieved.
Animal totems are not the animal and they are not the animal spirit. Instead they are representations that serve to remind of both. These can be in the form of sculptures, or pictorial representations such as pictures or symbols, or something as simple as a feather from a bird that can be kept on the person, or somewhere convenient.
Harbinger of death
The Raven has a reputation of being a harbinger of death, destruction and ill omen, in the eyes of many human societies throughout history. This is often because they are associated with battle and often seen scavenging among the dead. The blackness of its coloring enhances this dark view point but in spiritual terms this is a misconception. The Raven is actually a bird of warning and its arrival signals the ending of the old and the beginning of the new. The arrival of the Raven flying from the ‘otherworld’ into the human world is a sign to prepare for great change.
In the ending, is the beginning
The Raven totem is a reminder that in life we face situations that we perceive as good or bad, light or dark, right or wrong. The arrival of forced changes can indeed be like a battle causing real inner turmoil and anguish. As part of the universe humans are governed by universal laws. Humans cannot see the cosmic perspective but think and react through their own personal perception. The Raven totem is a reminder that humans are subject to universal laws that work even though the end result cannot be seen. For example a divorce from a spouse or redundancy from a long held job brings the end, or death of a situation. However with that death, or ending, a new situation, or life, is born from the depths of despair.
Trust the universe
The Raven totem is a reminder that all things on earth must one day end but that in that ending there is a new beginning. The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, ‘what the caterpillar calls the end, the world calls a butterfly.”
The Raven is not the bringer of destruction or the weapon of destruction. The function of the Raven is to prepare the person for the ending of a situation that has served its purpose, and point them to a new situation that will lead to greater spiritual evolution for the person.
Trust the universe
There are times when the universe is a vast and impersonal place and we cannot see our place in it. Things happen to us and situations arise which seem unfair and cruel. The Raven totem is a reminder that it is necessary to die to be reborn, that it is necessary to be destroyed before being renewed. The message is trust the universe.