“RAVENS,RIOTS AND ROME” & Astrological political prediction!



Sadly in these moderne, unenlightened times those lovable corvids,

the crow and the raven, are often regarded as cursed birds of ill omen, harbingers of oncoming doom. They have not always had such a black reputation, for in many cultures the crow and raven are seen as sacred animals and revered as messengers of the Gods.

Back in the days of ancient Rome this was certainly the case, and the Romans took the actions of ravens as portents of public concern. Just how seriously they took the antics of these birds can perhaps be gauged from an incident that occurred in 218 BCE. For in that year it was anxiously reported to the Consuls that a raven had flown into the temple of the goddess Juno in the town of Lanuvium and had “alighted on her very couch” (This was a richly embroidered & luxurious lounge, kept in the temple’s veiled inner sanctum for the use of the invisible goddess should she drop in).

While the raven was roosting thus on the goddess’s couch, one of the recent sacrificial victims had started to stir again, as though coming back to life. Now the modern cynic would say that the raven was just an opportunist, attracted by the victims death spasms. The Roman magistrates saw more to it; clearly Juno, and maybe other gods, were displeased. The Consuls moved into action to avert disaster. The whole city of Rome was ritually purified and major victims offered up to designated gods in various temples. As well, a gift of gold weighing 20 kilos was carried to Lanuvium for Juno and a bronze statue dedicated to the Mother of the Gods was paid for by the matrons of the Aventine.

This Roman reverence for the crow as a portent perhaps goes back to 379BCE, when the early Roman Republic was engaged in a life & death struggle with the invading Gaulish barbarian hordes. A young Roman hero, Marcus Valerius was about to engage in ritual single combat with the Gaul’s champion, as the opposing armies watched, when suddenly a crow flapped down and landed on Marcus’s helmet. Cheered by the appearance of this auspicious augury as a sign from heaven, he immediately attacked his barbarian opponent. Livy‘s History of Rome tells us that, “wonderful to relate, not only did the bird keep its place on the helmet, but every time Valerius and the Gaul engaged, it rose on its wings and attacked the Gaul in the face and eyes with its talons and beak, until, terrified & bewildered at the sight of so dire a portent, he was slain by Valerius.”

Encouraged, the Roman army completely annihilated the Gauls and young Marcus went on to a long and successful political career.

This is not the only weird appearance of Corvids in the Roman annals. Several respected Roman historians gravely attest that a flock of crows tried to warn & protect the orator Cicero from his assassins, whilst Suetonius tells us that a raven went about announcing the imminent downfall of the tyrant Domitian from the roof of the Capitol.

But perhaps the strangest appearance of the corvid in Roman History is the story of the raven that started a Riot at Rome.

It happened that when Tiberius was emperor, a brood of ravens was hatched on the roof of the temple of Castor & Pollux which stood by the Forum. In time one of the young ravens left the nest and flew to a nearby cobblers shop and took up residence there. The Master of the shop not only tolerated the bird, but regarded it as sanctified by way of its originating from the temple.

In time this raven picked up the habit of talking and was reputedly quite loquacious. It developed a regular routine where every morning it used to fly off to the officials platform facing the Forum where it would greet Tiberius and other members of the Imperial family. It would then spend some time bantering with passers by, before returning to the cobblers shop each afternoon. The raven became a great favourite with the Roman public by performing these remarkable actions for several years.

One day, however, this bird was killed by the owner of a neighbouring cobblers shop.

The man attempted to explain his actions as being the result of a sudden outburst of anger, regrettable but excusable, because the raven had kept deliberately fouling his shops display of shoes with its droppings. (Naturalists note: Ravens will do this to people they don’t like). But it was generally believed that he was jealous of the fame and resulting prosperity the raven had brought his rival cobbler, for everyone wished to wear shoes from the shop whence came this remarkable bird.

The People were so angered by the raven’s death that a riot broke out. The killers shop was burnt to the ground, and as he attempted to flee he was hunted down and killed by the mob. His mutilated body was then dragged by hooks through the streets and eventually dumped unceremoniously in the Tiber river.

By way of contrast, the raven was given a magnificent funeral, attended by a vast crowd of weeping followers. The silk draped coffin was carried on the shoulders of two burly Ethiopians, and accompanied in procession by flute players and flower strewing maidens, all the way to the second milestone on the Appian Way, the main road into Rome. There the mob built a huge funeral pyre and got famously drunk. Later a small shrine was erected on the site to mark the occasion.

I suppose in this case the raven really did turn out to be a bad omen, at least for the unlucky cobbler. And certainly it was unlucky to be the raven.

But perhaps this talking raven was lucky not to have suffered a worse fate and fallen into the hands of one Clodius Aesop, a famous Roman actor and gourmand/glutton of the day, who, according to Pliny the Elder‘s memoirs, “used to buy talking birds at 6,000 sesterces apiece..purely for the affectation of eating them.”

Pliny is clearly appalled by this actor’s actions and calls him “a sort of cannibal, feeding on human tongues”, recording disapprovingly that one of his pies was stuffed with talking birds to the cost of 100,000 sesterces! ( At the time the wage of the average day-labourer was around 3 sesterces a day.)

Perhaps this is where the old children’s rhyme; “Four and Twenty blackbirds baked in a pie” has its origins. Although, at the prices Pliny quotes, Clodius would have been looking at paying around 144,000 sesterces for such a linguistic pastry treat. Seems a lot to pay just to eat crow.

Today there are many videos on U-tube of clever crows and talking ravens, but none of them seem to be blessed with the crowd pleasing eloquence of that much mourned raven from the temple of castor and Pollux.


the temple of Castor & Pollux today



Shock Horror Astrological Prediction: Rudd to Win!?

The Ant-heap that is the Australian political scene is in turmoil. Will worker ant Kevin overthrow the Queen? Peering through a magnifying-glass the Australian Electorate watches the struggle enthralled. Every now and then the suns rays catch the magnifying glass at just the right angle, and one of the ants, unused to the spotlight, spontaneously erupts into flames. Their tiny screams can be faintly heard.

Who will win and who will lose this Lilliputian struggle? Yes, in times of confusion like this we turn to Astrology. Why not, it makes as much sense as Economics.

Like any great Renaissance Prince, I of course have my own personal astrologer in my entourage. (Actually I used to have two but they just squabbled all the time. Not about Astrology though.) With my gentle encouragement she has graciously produced this astrological analysis of the current Australian political situation..


“Currently, in our skies, we have the planet Uranus making a 90 degree aspect, or Square, to the (formerly known as a planet) Pluto. 

This is a continuation of a cycle that began with the conjunction of the two (once every 115 years). That occurred around the mid 1960s and was typified by the hippy movement; increased consciousness; breaking out of norms such as the family roles and gender inequalities; anti-war protests and so forth.

The Square aspect can lead to violent destructiveness, anarchy and revolution. The Square has been brewing throughout 2011 but will become exact during 2012. Currently the two planets are 6 degrees apart, with Pluto at 9 degrees Capricorn, and Uranus at 3 degrees Aries. So the influence of the Square aspect would have been having an effect already.

Last year 2011 saw many examples of people taking to the streets and overthrowing established leaders. For example, the countries of Tunisia, Eygpt and Libya experienced such events. We currently have similar conflicts escalating in Yemen, Qatar and Syria. The people of Greece have been fairly unhappy too, from what I can glean from the TV news.

I think the Uranus Pluto Square has contributed to these conflicts, and to the overthrow of the various established orders. For this reason, I think we will see more of the same throughout the year.

(Aside: also we may see lots of water related disasters, on account of the presence of the planet Neptune, sitting between Pluto and Uranus, in its own sign of watery Pisces. We have already had severe flooding in Western Queensland this year, and the cruise liner disaster off Italy. Standby for a bigger flood still to come. Keep your umbrellas handy!).

So, although there are other planets at play in this stellar spread on Monday 27 February 2012, I am focussing on the larger picture, the outer three, generational planets and their effect on all of humanity and the earth, rather than the individual horoscopes of Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. I’ll leave that to the natal astrologers to predict based on those natal charts and their transits. 

I think that because of the Uranus Pluto Square, even though it goes against my rational opinion of who might win the challenge, and certainly doesn’t necessarily demonstrate my desired outcome, my intiution (ruled by Uranus) tells me that this aspect will influence the leadership caucus vote on Monday 27.

Therefore, I think that Kevin Rudd will emerge victorious over Julia Gillard, disrupting the current established order.


The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists AND the Church of the Universe.

There will be no refunds.





~ by reverendhellfire on February 26, 2012.

17 Responses to ““RAVENS,RIOTS AND ROME” & Astrological political prediction!”

  1. Raven created the world. Even the romans and those who see him as a harbinger of bad things to happen were created by Raven. I say, Raven created the world.

    • the Raven as trickster god appears in several cultures. In Australia he was called Wahn. In Japan there were crow trickster spirits called Tengu. I’m collecting stories about corvids from around the world and different times. perhaps one day I’ll have a book

  2. Several years ago I was at a consecration ceremony in Tibet and shortly after we finished a woman caught a “corvid” in her hands. It was considered quite an auspicious sign. Given the Tibetan Buddhist reverence for all life, it was, of course released back into the sky…

    Fascinating post.

    • Wow, wish I’d been there, what a great experiance.
      The Tibetans have a whole system of auguries based on the flight of crows, I believe its quite precise.
      And of course in a land with rock hard soil and no trees crows are useful for disposing of corpses.
      Thanks for your story

      • You are absolutely right and I did get to visit a charnel ground as well. Didn’t see any crows that particular time but did see some other rather large scavengers.

  3. I recall an example of how intelligent crows are that was carried on the CBC radio. A farmer was upset with the crows making a mess of his crop. In order to confuse and hopefully make the crows leave he tried putting a large circular mirror in the field. At first the crows were upset and disoriented by the reflected surface. Then they began circling it. They eventually pooped all over it. Once covered they went back to enjoying the bounty of the field. In a recent post of mine, I provided a link on seagulls and how they prefer dropping their doo on cars with white roofs .

    • yes, I rescued a baby crow once that had been caught up in fishing line. The parents protested and swooped while I untangled it.
      Even though I saved their baby they distrusted my intent and ever after shat on my car.
      Theres gratitude.
      But yes, they are way smart

  4. Thank you for liking my poetry. You are a very talented writer. Best wishes,

  5. hello. you have a very interesting blog here. by the way thanks for stopping by my blog and liking it.

  6. Reblogged this on Greatpoetrymhf’s Weblog and commented:
    Thank your for the talent and this post I love crows ravens and magpies

  7. Reblogged this on galaxybureau.

  8. I am always in tune with astrology because i am a believer in astrology. Most of the stuffs in astrology are accurate too. :.*””

    Have a look at our new blog site too..

  9. […] https://reverendhellfire.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/ravensriots-and-rome-astrological-political-predict… […]

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