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Raven Medicine and the Winter Solstice

Raven Symbolism and MeaningThe wintertime has many meanings. In modern times, we associate winter with large family gatherings and holidays, shopping, and celebrating. However, traditionally and in many Shamanic cultures, the wintertime is a time of quiet, emptying, and darkness.

In much of our story and symbolism today, we think of the darkness as bad or harboring ill-fated omens. Yet the darkness, the void, is actually a place of creation; it is infinite potential. In the winter, we go inward and create some space in ourselves for that potential to grow. Much like letting the fields go fallow in the fall and nourish themselves in the winter, humans are designed to do the same. We are part of nature, after all.

During our inward time, the veil between worlds also gets thinner. It is no surprise that Raven would be a powerful supporter during this time of year. The raven too is associated with the darkness and acts as a psychopomp: a messenger between the material and spirit realms. Raven also holds great wisdom about the future, often appearing around the time of symbolic, spiritual, or even physical death.

Here again, it is easy to overlook the deeper message by focusing on the surface-level associations with death. Remember that death is part of the birth and thus creation. This time of year the Raven invites us inward so that we may examine and release our fears. Raven invites us to let go of what no longer serves us as well as our attachment to what does serve us, so we may become an empty vessel and become part of the cycle of creation itself, dreaming itself anew each day.

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