Raven Tattoo – 200+ Crow Tattoo Designs To Inspire You in 2023

Raven Tattoo Guide

Raven tattoo is very common in all the tattoo styles for quite some time now. This black bird has been associated with many traits, characteristics and myths throughout history, so as a symbol it was able to provide prolific creative interpretations for each individual.

What raven means to you will be highly personal, but it will speak of you immensely as being intelligent, resourceful, adaptive and flexible.

If you are looking for raven tattoo ideas, feel free to jump to the exact raven tattoo designs below using the menu shortcuts.

To start, you can also read more about ravens’ and crows’ meanings and history in different cultures across the world.

Let’s jump right to it!

Raven Symbolics and Meaning Around The World

Raven has been an object of interest from the beginning. Exceptionally smart, ravens are partial carrion feeder that have been able to speak sentences of a few words when carefully taught.

By its uncanny acts, raven has made itself a bird surrounded by superstition, myth, fable, and is connected with the religious rites of many nations like many other birds such as the phoenix bird. No wonder it’s common element of Halloween tattoos, too.

Both crows and ravens have appeared in a number of different mythologies throughout the ages. In some cases, these black-feathered birds are considered an omen of bad tidings, but in others, they may represent a message from the Divine, just like the eagle bird or the owl.

It can also be associated as a source of power, straddling as it does the worlds of the living and the dead therefore often depicted as messenger between the two.

In literature, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens were both fascinated by the prophetic symbolism of the raven, as were many other writers including the Brothers Grimm.p

In popular culture, they appear in many Western TV shows, as well as anime novels and series like Tokyo Ravens.

Dickens’s Grip, who had an impressive vocabulary, appears as a character in the author’s fifth novel, Barnaby Rudge.

Here are some fascinating crow and raven folklore to ponder.

In ancient Greece and Rome, the raven (or crow, as the translation is not very clear) was the bird that actually represented one of the gods – and none the less than Apollo, the son of Zeus.

Originally, raven was a white bird, that brought bad news to Apollo. Out of anger, he changed the color of the ravens’ feathers from white to black.

Additionally, raven’s flight paths would be analyzed by ancient priests, augur. They would read the prophecies from the birds’ routes.

Ravens in Celtic Mythology

Ravens are heavily used in Celtic mythology and legend. The Celtic people were very connected to their environment, and all the natural elements have found their place in their believes as symbols – the ravens, the moon and many others.

Specifically ravens were linked to darkness and death – especially the death of warriors in battle.

Many of the Celtic goddesses are linked with the raven or crow. In this mythology the goddesses are the aggressive deities, those associated with war and death. Badb, Macha and Nemain are all associated with crows and/or ravens, as is Nantosuelta, a Gaulish water and healing goddess.

Ravens hovering over the scenes of battle, ready to swoop down on the bodies of the fallen must have been a fearsome sight to Celtic warriors.

The association of the birds with death and war (and with that doom and destruction) has led, eventually, to the persecution of the raven and also to the common belief in modern European culture that ravens are connected with the Otherworld.

Raven Mentions in The Bible

Ravens are a very common bird specie all over the world, and is mentioned almost at the beginning of the Bible – it was the first bird that Noah sent out of the ark to see whether the waters had begun to dry up. That said, they were the first ones to see the new world.

They are expressly mentioned as instances of God’s protecting love and goodness, one of the stories being how the prophet Elijah’s life was saved by ravens.

While ravens were considered an unclean bird (Lev 11:15; Deut 14:14), they make an appearance in the Bible not only as examples of God’s provision but also as messengers with God’s provision. God told Job that part of the evidence for God’s care of his creation was that he fed the ravens (Job 38:41), a theme that both a psalmist (Ps 147:9) and Jesus echoed: “Consider the crows. They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even have a storeroom or a barn. Yet, God feeds them. You are worth much more than birds” (Luke 12:24).

Raven Symbolism In The Norse Mythology

The raven also plays an important role in Norse mythology, both as a “beast of battle” and the shamanic eyes and ears of Odin. Perched on his shoulder, Odin’s ravens Huginn and Muninn whisper news of what they see and hear.

The strong connection between this powerful Norse god and its spirit animals goes back to Odin’s roles as a god of war and death. Ravens, as carrion birds, were present when a battle took place, and were some of its prime beneficiaries.

However, raven symbolism goes deeper than that, as they are uniquely intellectual birds, and Odin is a uniquely intellectual god.

The names of Huginn and Muninn are sometimes translated as “thought” and “memory”.  As such, they represent and perform Odin’s intellectual/spiritual capabilities in the form of sharp and curious birds, gathering of additional wisdom and knowledge to bring to Odin.

Ravens in Native American Culture

In the mythology of many Northwest Indian tribes, Raven is honored as a culture hero. It is a respected and benevolent transformer figure who helps the people and shapes their world for them.

At the same time, the raven is also a trickster character and many raven stories have to do with its frivolous or poorly thought out behavior causing trouble. Raven is noted for negative traits such as gluttony, greed, and impatience as well as for its heroism and great deeds.

Black as midnight, raven is also connected with death and the underworld in the Native American culture.

As such it can be a interpreted as a way to transform your life in the Native American culture, especially when used for tattoos. Whether positive or negative, total transformation is usually dramatic, but the raven spirit can guide you safely through it.

As a bird that consumes the remains of other creatures, it also has the additional symbolic value of cleansing.

Best Raven Tattoo Placement

Raven is an element that can be depicted very minimalist, or spanning with its wings across the entire back.

However, common placement is a raven chest tattoo or a raven forearm tattoo.

On the chest, the ravens can either go in pair on each pectoralis muscle, or it can span its wings across the entire chest.

Many also opt for a raven leg tattoo, where an elongated raven can be placed on the thigh or calf.

For the forearm, it can be be mixed with some traditional symbols such a skulls, feathers, snakes, or geometric elements and other animal tattoos.

Then it can form a full sleeve tattoo with different moods such as dark, spooky vibes.

Raven Tattoo Ideas

To help you with your research for your next tattoo design, we went on a hunt through Instagram to find the best raven tattoo ideas.

Take a look below to check them out all:

Are you looking for a custom raven tattoo design? We got you.

Our expert tattoo artists will be happy to make a unique draft to get you going.
Happy inking ❤

Read later: Would you like to save this post for future reading or use one of the ideas? Save THIS PIN to your Tattoo Ideas Board on Pinterest:

Milena Petrovic

Milena Petrovic

Co-founder of Tattoo Stylist

About the author

Milena has decided to start an organization that will create a safe environment for everybody to get their first, second or third tattoo and to encourage young people to transform their ideas into tattoos safely, with talent and vision.

You can find her writing about tattoos on Quora or updating our Pinterest profile with awesome tattoo ideas!

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