RAVEN DIVINATION AND LORE
collected by Andraste
from: Anne Ross Pagan Celtic Britain
Bran and Lugus are associated with ravens in Celtic lore. London (Lugdunum), Carlisle (Lugovalium), and Lyon (Gaulish Lugdunum) were named after Lugos, who is usually pictured with a raven flying over him, and often accompanied by a goose. Ravens were always birds of omen and unusual intelligence; they were also associated with the field of battle. In the Dream of Rhonaby, Owein ap Urien has an army of ravens, which rally at the raising of a standard. The Danes had a raven banner, Hraefn, which had magic powers. The Irish Badb, the Washer at the Ford, and the Morrighan all have ravens, or appear as ravens. Odhinn has two ravens, Huginn and Muininn, or Thought and Memory, who fly over the world each day to report to Him. In Irish tales ravens of ill omen fly out of the depths of the ocean, often at Samhain, bringing harm and destruction; in two stories they are driven back by Caoilte, Fer Maise, and Cas Corach; in another by Cu Chulainn. Ravens with white feathers were good omens.
A Middle Irish manuscript relates a system of raven divination.
If the raven calls:
- from above an enclosed bed indoors—distinguished guest or cleric will visit
- if a lay visitor the raven says: “bacach”,
- if in orders it says “gradh gradh”
- and call twice, if warriors or satirists are coming
- it says “gracc gracc” or “grob grob”-the first call if the warriors are oppressed.
- from the quarter behind you-it is from there the guests are coming.
- long calls-women are coming
- from the NE end of the house-robbers will steal the horses
- from the house door-strangers or soldiers are coming
- from above the door-satirists or guests from a king’s retinue are coming
- from above a man’s bed before a journey-he will not come back safe
- from the pillow-a woman is about to die
- from the foot of a man’s bed-his son, brother or brother-in-law are coming
- from the storehouse-increase from the quarter from which it calls
- from between the storehouse and the fire-agreeable guests
- from near the woman’s seat-guests are hers, a son-in-law or friend
- from S of the storehouse-fosterage or guests from afar are coming.
- if it speaks with a small voice (“ur ur” or “err err”) sickness will fall
- on someone in the house, or on the cattle; if the sheep will be attacked
- by wolves, “carna carna” (flesh flesh), grob grob, coin coin (wolves).
- from the rooftree of the house at a feast-throw away that food
- from a high tree-death of a young lord
- from a stone-death of an aithech
- from the top of a tree-death of a king or one of noble lineage
- if the raven goes with you on a journey or in front of you, and it is joyful, your journey will prosper and fresh meat will be given to you
- If you approach from the left, and it call before you-you or some of your company are doomed or wounded.
- If it be before you on your way to an assembly, there will be an uprising, and someone will be slain if the raven came from the left. If it call from where the horses are, robbers will attack the horses; if it turn on its back and say “grob grob” some of the horses will be stolen and will not be recovered.
There were similarly omens in Ireland associated with the flight and calls of wrens, swans, and eagles.
This article was found on the web, possibly in a USENet posting; sadly, the source/location was not noted. It has been a part of the Nemed Cuculatii website since at least October 2007 (the earliest date found in The Internet Archive Wayback Machine).