Raava is the spirit of peace and light and, after fusing with Wan, the Avatar Spirit. She is one of the oldest known spirits, having existed over ten thousand lifetimes before the appearance of the first humans. She and Vaatu, the spirit of darkness and chaos, spent much of their existence combating each other, at least since the Harmonic Convergence in 19,829 BG, with neither able to fully vanquish the other. Even if Raava were to destroy Vaatu and usher in a new era of peace, what little darkness existed in Raava would magnify until Vaatu was reborn and burst forth, beginning the cycle again. The reverse would happen to Vaatu if he were victorious over Raava.
During the Harmonic Convergence in 9,829 BG, Raava permanently merged her essence with Wan's, creating the Avatar. However, during the next convergence in 171 AG, Raava lost her connection to Wan and all the Avatars after him, but was able to merge again with Korra, recreating the Avatar and starting the Avatar Cycle anew.
Becoming the Avatar Spirit
After defeating Vaatu during the Harmonic Convergence in 19,829 BG, Raava continuously battled Vaatu, keeping darkness under control and the world in balance. However, their struggle came to an end in 9,830 BG, when Wan was tricked by Vaatu to sever Raava's hold on him. The moment Raava and Vaatu were separated, she started shrinking, as with the dark spirit on the loose, the light for which she stood began to fade. Angered, Raava turned to Wan, who believed her to be nothing more than a bully. She explained who she was and that by helping Vaatu, Wan had let chaos back into the world. She chided Wan for interfering in the business of spirits, blaming him for the world's imminent destruction. Before she left to track down Vaatu in order to prevent the world's annihilation, she sternly warned Wan to not interfere with her again.
Raava followed Vaatu's trail back to the air lion turtle, where she came to Wan's aid by knocking Vaatu down and brushing aside the spirits he had turned to the dark side. After the spirit of chaos took his leave again, a considerably shrunken Raava turned angrily to Wan, chiding him again for his interference. As Wan promised to rectify his mistake and stop Vaatu, Raava accompanied him to face the lion turtle where he hoped to receive the power to airbend. However, the lion turtle decided that, since no human had ever held more than one element at the same time, Raava was to hold the ability for Wan until he had mastered the skill. Despite her initial reluctance, she complied, since working together with Wan was the only hope she had to stop Vaatu from plunging the world into darkness.
As such, the unlikely duo set out on a quest to restore balance in the world. While journeying to a water and an earth lion turtle to acquire the ability to waterbend and earthbend, Raava enlightened Wan about the ongoing struggle she had with Vaatu, the unbalance between humankind and the spirits, and the importance of the upcoming Harmonic Convergence, which was only a year away. For nearly a year, the two trained together, becoming more proficient as a team; Wan experienced a rush of power each time Raava passed through him, combining their energies. However, as time passed by, Raava gradually grew weaker and smaller due to Vaatu's increased influence on the world.
A few days before the Harmonic Convergence, their practice was interrupted by the smell of smoke, indicating the near presence of humans. As they reached the open clearing where settlers were busy burning down the forest with their firebending, Raava was immediately attacked by them for being a spirit, though Wan dispelled the attack. Raava angrily chided the settlers for their aggressive stance against all spirits, as their actions only aided to further the divide between humankind and spirits, enabling Vaatu to thrive. Their conversation was interrupted when the aye-aye spirit and several other spirits arrived, prompting Raava and Wan to intervene in the brewing conflict between the spirits and the settlers. Their efforts to a peaceful mediation were thwarted, however, when Vaatu arrived, using the anger of the spirits to turn them dark, causing the conflict to escalate. Raava aided Wan to separate the two parties, though realizing that they were not strong enough on their own, she heeded Wan's request to merge their energies. Together, they managed to halt the fight temporarily, though Raava's presence in Wan's body was putting him in mortal danger. Raava warned the young man about this, though her concerns were brushed aside since their combined power was the only reason the fighting had stopped. However, Raava was forced to leave his body nonetheless when he fainted, being only just in time to save him from crashing to the ground and being trampled by the fighting parties.
Raava carried Wan to safety on a nearby cliff, though she was powerless to stop the battle, which resulted in the total annihilation of the settlers. Severely weakened by the spreading hate and anger, Raava shrunk further down and had no longer the power to fly or move on her own. She was discovered there by Wan, who did not hesitate to pick her up and continue their journey to the Southern spirit portal. As they drew near to the portal on the day of Harmonic Convergence, Raava apologized for her initial prejudiced view about Wan, as she had been unaware that humans had the capability of displaying nobility and courage.
After they entered the Spirit World, Raava was challenged by Vaatu, though Wan interjected, stating that if the dark spirit wanted to get to his counterpart, he would first have to go through him. As such, Raava witnessed how Wan attempted to defeat Vaatu. However, the young man proved to be not powerful enough and Raava merged her energy with his once again upon his insistence. Together, they were more of a challenge to Vaatu, though the strain that Raava's presence was putting on Wan's body was in their disadvantage. When Vaatu eventually managed to pin them down near the Southern spirit portal, Wan used its energy when Harmonic Convergence started to permanently merge his essence with that of Raava, becoming the first Avatar with the Spirit of Light now being his Avatar Spirit. Acting as truly one being, their combined strength enabled Wan to trap Vaatu in an elemental cage and lock him away in the hollow of the Tree of Time. Although the dark spirit was neutralized, humanity was still surrounded by darkness and it became Raava and Wan's life mission to restore balance to all of mankind.
Many years later, as an elderly Wan lay dying on a war-torn battlefield, Raava reassured him that all would not end in vain as they would remain together for all of Wan's lifetimes and would never give up. As Wan exhaled his last breath, her spirit, accompanied by Wan's, exited his body in the form of golden light and reincarnated as the next Avatar.
Harmonic Convergence of 171 AG
During the Harmonic Convergence of 171 AG, Raava inspired Avatar Korra to not give in to ten thousand years of darkness when Vaatu, merged with Unalaq, was about to crush her in an ice fissure, reiterating that she was the one true Avatar. However, when the battle progressed, Raava was pulled out of Korra's body by Vaatu. Unable to defend herself, Raava was subjected to a barrage of direct waterbending blows. With each hit, her connection to the past Avatars weakened, with each blow doing more damage than the last. With a last devastating blow, Raava succumbed to the attacks and dissipated in a golden light, severing the connection to Wan completely. However, since light and dark cannot exist without each other, she was reborn from the residual light that had begun growing in Vaatu, helped along by Jinora's spirit. Raava was subsequently pulled out of Vaatu's essence inside the Dark Avatar by Korra's astral projection, before Korra used Unalaq's pacification technique to dissipate UnaVaatu. As Harmonic Convergence was nearing its end, Raava and Korra returned to the Spirit World, where they fused together, restoring the Avatar Spirit and restarting the Avatar Cycle.
Ever since Korra endured the mercury poisoning at the hand of the Red Lotus, she had been unable to contact Raava's essence. Hoping to reconnect with Raava, Korra journeyed to the Tree of Time, though friendly spirits commented that they could not sense the Light Spirit's energy, nor were there any images showing up within the tree. Korra left the Spirit World and started scouring the earth in an attempt to find Raava, though the only sign she found of the spirit was a mirage in the desert. After Korra removed the remaining poison out of her system, she reconnected with Raava, thereby regaining the ability to enter the Avatar State. Despite that, Raava and Korra remained out of touch and it was only weeks later, when Korra was able to meditate herself into the Spirit World again with Zaheer's help, that they finally managed to restore contact. Lighting up within Korra, the Avatar joyfully greeted her and expressed how much she had missed her, though Raava clarified that she had always been inside of her. She helped Korra find Jinora and the other trapped souls, telling her that she needed to bend the energy within the sphere that contained the souls. As Korra pointed out that she was powerless in the Spirit World, Raava corrected her, stating that she was at her most powerful there, since she was connected to all the spiritual energy.
Dedicated to her task as protector of the world's balance, Raava could be abrasive to anyone who posed a threat to it. Although she fought Vaatu for the betterment of both spirits and humans, she could be judgmental toward humankind, deeming them all to be incapable of nobility, courage, and care for anyone else besides themselves. As such, she was quick to blame Wan for his mistakes and remained alert for further errors. However, over time, she realized that she had been too harsh to judge all humans to be the same, and came to care deeply for Wan and his future reincarnations.
As a spirit, Raava is able to inhabit the body of a human and assert a level of influence on her host. However, unlike other spirits, Raava's presence in a human's body did not leave physical deformations, though it still put the host in mortal danger. She is also capable of carrying the power of multiple elements, and was charged with holding the elements for Wan until he had learned to master them. It was only when Wan was merged with Raava's essence that he was able to bend all four elements simultaneously.
As with her counterpart, Vaatu, Raava is incredibly long-lived, having been locked in battle with Vaatu for tens of thousands of years. If she is overcome by Vaatu, she can gradually reform herself from the vestigial light within him.
Between the Harmonic Convergences of 9,829 BG and 171 AG, Raava was merged with Wan's spirit, living on as the Avatar Spirit. She enabled the Avatar to contact a past life as well as provide a considerable boost of power in the Avatar State. However, due to the difficulty involved in reaching back to the origin of the Avatar, a large number of incarnations have never interacted with Raava as a personality with whom they could converse but rather experienced her force.
- Vaatu and Raava appear respectively to be representations of darkness and chaos and light and peace in the yin-yang (Taìjí tú) concept in Chinese philosophy, which is used to describe the way in which opposite forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world. In this case, the concept accounts for the duality associated with the fact that Vaatu represents darkness and chaos, while Raava represents light and peace. Her attributes, however, are ironically closer in Taoist thought to the ideal of darkness (yin) than that of light (yang); Raava is female and relatively reasonable, if abrasive and initially discriminatory, as opposed to male and aggressive.
- Furthering the yin-yang comparison, Vaatu and Raava are said to contain vestigial elements of each other within themselves, from which they can regenerate after being defeated. Similarly, each side of the yin-yang symbol bears a small dot of the opposite color, symbolizing how each side bears a part of the other and how one cannot exist without the other.
- This duality is also apparent in their names and color schemes. In Sanskrit, vatu (वतु) is an interjection meaning "silence!", which is the opposite of the noun ravaḥ (रवः), which means "sound". The two spirits are also negative images of each other.
- Raava and Vaatu are also comparable to the Zoroastrian concept of moral dualism, Raava being similar to Ahura Mazda in her representation of morality and light.
- A wooden carving of Raava embracing Wan was kept at the Southern Air Temple sanctuary.
- As Raava became smaller, some of the details on her pattern disappeared.