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Re: Raven's-blooded

Posted by TheFallen on May 20, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Raven's-blooded posted by Patty on May 20, 2003

: : : Hi. This posting got lost in the recent transition from the former phrase forum.

: : : Can anyone tell me what the meaning of the phrase "raven's blood" or "raven's-blooded" (adj) is? I have run across it in the writing of British authors whose work was published in the last 30 years. Thanks.
: : : - Patty

: : Any chance of a quotation, some context or even just an author's name? I don't think that it's a stock phrase and therefore will only make sense when viewed in the light of whatever premise the various authors have set up in advance - but I may be wrong.

: I wish I could quote directly and accurately, but I can't. From context as I remember it, though, it seemed to be relating to some archaic religious sensibilities of the British Isles. Paganism, Wicca?

Long, long before Poe and "never more", the raven has been considered an ominous and magical symbol in a fair few European mythologies, no doubt because of its size, sinister colour and its reputation for scavenging the corpses on battlefields.

Norse mythology highlights another aspect of the raven, its supposed wisdom. Woden (or Odin if you prefer), the chief Norse god, traded his left eye for the pair of magical ravens, Hugin (Thought) and Munin (Memory), who flew down to the world of Men (Midgard) then returned to sit on the god's shoulders and whisper information to him about any event of interest. One of the many names given to Woden is "the Raven God", and so this may be connected with your phrase.

Alternatively, Irish mythos features a goddess called variously the Morrigan, Maedhbh, Maeve or Medb. Although this is the goddess that Spenser immortalised as Queen Mab in his "Faery Queene", the original Maedhbh was far nastier. Her name means "intoxicating", but this is much more about the intoxication and madness of battle rage, rather than any presumed enchanting beauty on her part. Maedhbh has a strong connection with the insanity of war and is sometimes known as the Crow Goddess. This may also be connected with your phrase.

(I'm looking to Shae here for confirmation and/or corrections - Irish mythology is a complicated thing).