The Meaning of the Raven — Path of Enlightenment

Stan Cromlish
3 min readNov 8, 2020
The Petrified Forest National Park — October 3, 2020 — Author with a Raven in the background

During my trip through the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert National Park, I saw several ravens at several of the park’s pullout parking areas. They wouldn’t move when I approached; so, I began to search for a deeper meaning of their presence in my travels.

The Native American tribes have various ideas regarding the meaning of the raven’s presence and appearance in one’s life. The raven symbolizes rebirth and grand transformation in one culture, which fits what I found out about myself on my RV trip across the country. My transformation came when I figured out that I’m happy being me and that life has a way of working things out independently without too much intervention. Basically, Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer, “Father, give us the courage to change what must be altered, the serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.”

My trip showed me that I needed to continue letting go of the things that I could not change, like people’s opinion, social media persona, or the generally sour attitude of many people due to COVID-19 or politics. I can only control myself and my emotions and the raven’s presence taught me that my there were many parts of life to transform. One transformation for me is my attitude. Before I left for my trip, I had that generally sour outlook and attitude due to work related stress and unrealistic deliverable requirements that spilled over into my attitude around my family and friends. The Raven showed me that I need to learn to separate the work attitude from the home attitude. Why? Because, the longer I lingered with the sour attitude and gloomy outlook, the more that attitude and outlook become ingrained in my being and the melancholier my life became. Attitude adjustment was one part of my life transformation on this trip.

The second and more meaningful transformation came when I was reminded through visits with old friends and new where the journey of life had taken me and how many back roads, scenic routes, and superhighways one’s life travels to fulfilling their life’s dreams and ambitions. The passing mile on my eleven-week journey across America, brought back memories of road trips, rodeos, and dog trials with each twist and turn reminding me of everything I’d seen and done.

Hanging out with friends to talk about life, current events, and shared reminiscences reminded me of how far I’d come and showed me how much I still had left to accomplish if I wanted to be remembered as someone who cared for his fellow man, lived life at 100%, and did everything in his power to make everyone around him better.

The Raven’s presence in my life on this trip reminded me that I’m still on that transformation journey and I still have a long way to go.

Stan Cromlish

From personal essays about life lessons, writing, politics, etc. to historical fiction, I write about life today and life past. Check out