Ravens in My Garden

“On the road to wisdom, behave like a raven and observe everything carefully!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

There are two glossy black Ravens in my front garden. I’m fascinated. They are picking tufts of recently mown grass into their beaks, and it surprises me how much they can gather altogether. They must be nesting near. I wonder if they are a couple, or teo sisters, or mothers.

Their glossy plumage is entirely black. Both have long wings, a long, diamond-shaped tail and a pronounced head and their wings look serrated in flight. I think they are nesting in a nearby oak and this excites me no end.

To Druids, the Ravens are the messenger of the Gods and often represent Goddessess. They are associated with battle and prophecy. I can’t help feeling that they are trying to tell me something. And because today is my daughter’s birthday, it has got to do with her.

In Norse mythology two Ravens, Hugin and Munin (thought and memory), are associated with the god Odin. The birds were sent out into the world at dawn to gather information at Odin’s behest, and would return at dusk to perch on his shoulders and whisper their news into the god’s ears.

In Irish mythology Ravens are associated with warfare and the battleground in the figures of Badb and Morrígan. The goddess Morrígan alighted on the hero Cú Chulainn’s shoulder in the form of a Raven after his death. 

These are carrion birds and thus have associations with the transition from life to death. from this world to the other world. Badb is a war goddess who takes the form of a crow, and is thus sometimes known as Badb Catha (“battle crow”). With her sisters, Macha and the Morrigan or Anand, Badb is part of a trio of war goddesses known as the three Morrígna. Two of them are in my garden and because I know they are forraging for soft things to line their nests with I know it is not an ill portent. I intrepret it as a warning though, I am about to face some challenge. I am aware too that she also predicts victory and a time of peace.

‘Peace up to heaven. Heaven down to earth. Earth beneath heaven, Strength in each, A cup very full, Full of honey; Mead in abundance. Summer in winter…’

Badb is also the sister of Ériu, Banba and Fódla, the three matron goddesses of Ireland, who give their names to the land. So I am very honoured indeed that she visits my gaff. Whatever faces me will become apparent and I will bear it too.

One response to “Ravens in My Garden”

  1. Badb Is my sister and she thanks you for this mention of her. The people have forgotten her and the others, but it’s nice to hear her talked about. Slán!

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