The Raven – our friend, or Odin’s spy?

The Corvus Corax Corax

The wood cut print is made by Scottish artist Ian MacCulloch. Prints can be bought from Julian Jardine’s web shop The Odin illustration seems to be quite ancient.

I would say the Raven is by far the most magic and mysterious of all birds.

The Raven is on top of the crow family hierarchy with the magpie and the crows submitted, but with the Royal Eagle soaring above. The Raven might respect but doesn’t fear the eagle as it can be seen teasing them high up in the sky with their brilliant capability of acrobatic flying. On ground among the dead bodies the Eagle is still the boss. If caught by birth the Raven can also be a family bird who sometimes speaks better than a parrot. And they stay true to their human family.

Outside, in our Valley, we have two – and only two it seems – Ravens. They seem as royal as the eagle family who lives above us, and sometimes slides through the Valley on low speed. Sometimes when we open our front door to go out they are sat in a tree 500 feet away, crowing a few times like they want to say something, before they lift off and fly away. Sometimes they appear further up in the mountains when we go for a trip. I wonder if these birds actually knows us. I like to think so. They are wiser and more beautiful than most other birds!

Corvuscorax001          Photographer unknown

They are never to be seen as three in our valley, but also very rarely alone, so it must be a couple. And couples live together all their life. They can be up to at least 50 years old. The oldest tame raven we know died at the age of 68.

Odin’s ravens Hugin (Thought) and Munin (Mind) are his “spies”, or news agents, around the world. They go out in the morning and return back in the evening, telling him the news worth knowing. I hope the news they bring from here is good news, and if not that he sorts it out to my pleasing… They cover both the realm of gods (Asgard) and of men (Midgard).

First print is Gerhard Munthes illustration of the Harold Hairfair saga of Snorre Sturlasson, the little figure was found in the 90’s in Lejre, Denmark. The lower, also my t-shirt design, is a plaque from a helmet from Vändel, Sweden (6-700ad)

11059400_1093528947339502_1327863220492834673_nPhoto Paul Edmundson, Flåm

A crow and a raven is not too hard to know apart. I often wandered. This video is quite American, but educational:

The Viking kings had banners when they went to battle. The first we know of was Ragnar Lothbrok’s banner (7th – 9th century), then Harald Hardrada’s 250 years later. The Raven banner. Then one can wonder if Harold Godwinson brought with him Harald H’s banner to the battle of Hastings. It’s suggested, but to me that looks like a wild guess.

Maybe they confirm what people believed in old days, that the Raven came with a message of death.

A beautiful, if a little strange :-), film about this miracle bird:



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