Gods and Goddesses Associated with Crows and Ravens

A very incomplete list of gods and goddesses associated with crows and ravens includes

  • the eponymous Pacific Northwest Native figures Raven and Crow
  • the ravens Hugin and Munin, who accompany the Norse god Odin
  • the Celtic goddesses the Mórrígan and/or the Badb (sometimes considered separate from Mórrígan)
  • and Shani, a Hindu god who travels astride a crow

In Buddhism, the Dharmapala (protector of the Dharma) Mahakala is represented by a crow in one of his physical/earthly forms.

Avalokiteśvara/Chenrezig, who is reincarnated on Earth as the Dalai Lama, is often closely associated with the crow because it is said that when the first Dalai Lama was born, robbers attacked the family home. The parents fled and were unable to get to the infant Lama in time. When they returned the next morning expecting the worst, they found their home untouched, and a pair of crows were caring for the Dalai Lama. It is believed that crows heralded the birth of the First, Seventh, Eighth, Twelfth, and Fourteenth Lamas, the latter being the current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. Crows are mentioned often in Buddhism, especially Tibetan disciplines.

In Greek mythology, it was believed that when the crows gave bad news to the goddess Athena, she flew into a rage, and cursed their feathers to be black.

In Hinduism, it is believed that people who died will take food and offerings through a variety of crows called “Bali kākka.” Every year people whose parents or relatives died will offer food to crows as well as cows on the Shradha day.

***

The poet who sent me this list, a friend from my college days, Ellen Girardeau Kempler, had this to add to the complilation:  The aspect of this info. that stood out for me was that there are as many positive associations here as negative–usually only find the negative. And BTW, in Ireland (where I attended a poetry workshop last summer) the common crow is the Hooded Crow, which they call the Grey Crow, a beautiful black and charcoal version–black head and granite chest. They sound and act the same (universallyl crowlike).

2 thoughts on “Gods and Goddesses Associated with Crows and Ravens

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