Gliding via the evening on silent wings, the owl is a deeply significant chook of prey whose mysterious attract has attracted the eye and impressed the imaginations of human cultures around the globe since historic occasions.

Associated with a broad vary of concepts together with darkish ones equivalent to dying and misfortune, and virtues equivalent to knowledge and benevolence, the owl is a standard mythological determine and fairytale character.

Equipped with distinctive diversifications which permit these birds to successfully hunt underneath cowl of darkness, owls symbolize the stillness of evening and the hidden worlds which might be contained inside the realm of evening. Found on nearly each nook of this planet, owls are famend worldwide for his or her magnificence, stealth, and seemingly stoic personalities.

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Owl Symbolism and Meaning

Owls are sometimes related to knowledge and intelligence. This is probably going due, partially, to the truth that owls are skillful and stealthy hunters. In addition, the owl is understood for its “hooting” name which is usually interpreted as a query. The owl’s “who?” name is seen as an indication of curiosity and mental considering.

Owls are additionally related to imaginative and prescient. Large eyes occupy a lot of the house in an owl’s cranium and it’s thanks to those highly effective eyes that owls are such efficient hunters. An owl’s eyes are set going through forwards, and can’t transfer or roll like a human’s eyes can. This is why owls have the power to swivel their heads round with such flexibility; as a result of they’re in any other case caught trying straight forwards. So, owls can symbolize imaginative and prescient, the long run, and looking out forwards into the unknown! (1)

While the affiliation between owls and knowledge is pretty frequent, many cultures connect gloomier meanings to those nocturnal birds of prey. As creatures of the evening, owls are generally linked with concern, dying, and misfortune. This is probably going as a result of nighttime is perilous for animals like people which can not see at nighttime. So, the moonlit hours during which owls hunt encourage concern and discomfort.

Owls are additionally continuously related to magic. From outdated fairytales to fashionable sequence like Harry Potter, owls are sometimes depicted as familiars of witches and warlocks and denizens of the realm of the supernatural. (2)

Owl Native American Symbolism

In a lot of Native American myths and tales, owls are characterised by an affiliation with dangerous luck, dying, and malevolence. Some traditions deal with owls as monsters which carry away naughty youngsters who don’t hearken to their dad and mom. In some traditions, owls are regarded as linked with ghosts and to behave as indicators that ghosts are close to or messengers from the opposite facet. (3)

In some tribes, the hooting of an owl was thought-about an indication that dying was close to. Hearing an owl’s hoot may imply that one would quickly face their very own demise. Some traditions state that when an owl hoots it really calls out the names of people who find themselves quickly to die. In some cultures, the owl guards the passage between the land of the dwelling and the land of the useless. (4)

According to a Passamaquoddy legend, the Great Horned Owl was a intelligent and mighty trickster. He lived in a big village along with his aunt, who was an owl and a sorceress as effectively. In their village, there was a household with a haughty daughter who refused to marry. She was very fairly, however the lady refused to think about marriage with any of her suitors. The lady’s father beloved her and wished her to discover a good husband, however he didn’t need her to be sad. So, he devised a trick to maintain the boys of the village from insisting. He declared that the one man who may marry his daughter could be a person who may make a hearth develop hotter by spitting onto it. Because spit places out fires, the daughter agreed. She believed no man would accomplish this. (5)

One day, the Great Horned Owl requested his aunt to assist him marry the haughty lady. The sorceress gave him a potion that made him appear like a good-looking human man and made it in order that when he spit into the fireplace it roared and grew larger and warmer. Because she had promised, the lady married the Great Horned Owl that day. After the marriage, the lady and the owl slept, however in the midst of the evening, the lady observed that her husband’s ears sprouted up like horns and that his eyes had turn out to be yellow. She screamed and fled and informed the entire village of the monstrous owl’s trick. Determined to win her once more, the Great Horned Owl returned to the village in a brand new good-looking for and supplied to carry a feast for everybody. At the feast, he requested everybody to inform him their finest tales. (6)

The lady insisted that her story should solely be whispered and so everybody needed to tuck their hair behind their ears to listen to it. The Great Horned Owl protested, however she insisted. When he pulled his hair again, his ears gave him away and eh was compelled to flee the village. Finally, the Great Horned Owl requested his aunt for a brand new trick. She made a magical flute for him which might entrance any lady who heard him play it. For weeks, he waited for the frightened lady to come back out of her father’s home. Finally, she emerged and walked into the woods for a stroll. The Great Horned Owl performed his flute and she or he was entranced by it. In her bewitched state, the owl snatched her up in his talons and flew her away to the land of the owls the place she grew to become his spouse as soon as extra. (7)

Owl Christianity Symbolism

Owls within the Bible are usually related to wildness. In a number of cases, destroyed or desolate cities are mentioned to be populated by owls because the wilderness reclaims them.

Biblical References to Owls

  1. Leviticus 11:13-18, extra particularly 11:16-18 or 11:17-18, states that Jews mustn’t eat sure breeds of the owl, as a part of their kosher dietary rule, together with pelicans and carrion vultures.
  2. Deuteronomy 14:15-17 confirms the kosher rule assertion.
  3. In Psalm 102:6, the psalmist talks concerning the tough occasions of his life by evaluating himself to an owl within the desert. He used the reference to the owl for example of himself as an inferior creature caught in a desolate place.
  4. Isaiah 13:21 talks a few prophecy on God’s judgment on Babylon to destroy it. Here the owl is once more used for example to show the devastation people of Babylon will face. They shall be killed or pushed out of their properties, and wild animals will stay within the metropolis.
  5. In Isaiah 34:11, a lot just like the Babylon prophecy, God’s judgment of Edom refers to owls within the destruction of the town. The owl is used for example of untamed animals inhabiting the town together with ravens, pelicans, and porcupines. (8)

Owl Celtic Symbolism

According to Celtic mythology, the owl is an emblem of magnificence, fertility, betrayal, and deception. This is because of an episode from the Welsh textual content, the Mabinogi. In the Mabinogi story Math son of Mathonwy, the sorcerer Gwydion should take care of his nephew who has been rejected and forsaken by his mom. The little one is refused a reputation, weapons, and a spouse as a result of his mom has cursed him. So, Gwydion should trick the boy’s mom into permitting him to have all three. For the primary trick, the boy is disguised and introduced earlier than her the place he demonstrates his goal by throwing a needle via a chook’s leg. She declares that he’s skillful and so he’s named “Lleu Llaw Gyffes” which implies “fair one skillful hand.” Then, Gwydion casts an phantasm that makes her assume she is underneath assault. While in disguise, she fingers weapons to the boy in order that he can shield her.

The subject of the spouse, although, just isn’t really easy. So, Gwydion decides that as a substitute of tricking her into permitting a human spouse for Lleu, he’ll simply make a spouse for him out of flowers and convey her to life with magic. He does this, and names the bride Blodeuedd, which implies “flower face.” Blodeuedd may be very stunning,, however earlier than lengthy she falls in love with one other man. She and her lover conspire to slay Lleu in order that they are often collectively. Pretending to fret for his security, Blodeuedd methods Lleu into explaining how he will be killed. She carries out his homicide, however Gwydion is ready to save him from the land of the useless. In punishment, Blodeuedd is remodeled into an owl. (9)

Owls in Dreams

When birds go to us in our desires, the expertise can really feel very significant and poignant. Owl desires, specifically, have a tendency to go away an particularly lasting impression. Dreaming of owls can symbolize something from curiosity to superstition to the long run.

Owl desires typically symbolize the unknown. If there’s something in your life that you’re persistently questioning, owl desires information you within the course of the reply. The following listing is only a few examples of owl desires and the meanings that they’ll have. None of those examples are definitive or absolute.

  • Single Owl – Seeing an owl in your dream means you need to be conscious of what’s occurring in your environment. Borrow the owl spirit animal’s energy to see issues on a better degree.
  • Many Owls – You can count on a chunk of helpful recommendation from different folks and that you must settle for it.
  • Flying Owl – Seeing a flying owl just isn’t an excellent signal. It means issues in your loved ones within the coming interval. The issues might be a battle between members of the family.
  • Black Owl – Seeing a black owl in your desires is normally an indication of non secular awakening and consciousness.
  • Dead Owl – To have a useless owl dream is the worst omen of transition amongst all of them. It symbolizes the dying of both the dreamer or somebody very near them. It represents the transition from one life to the subsequent.
  • Barn Owl – It symbolizes an excellent monetary scenario within the close to future
  • Common Owl – It is an indication that you must focus extra on your self and your wants for a change.
  • True Owl – A real owl displays your battle with insomnia
  • Snowy Owl – Seeing a snowy owl is probably essentially the most serene encounter. It represents happiness and peace shortly. 

Owl Encounters and Omens

Owl encounters occur most frequently at nightfall and should symbolize points that weigh closely on one’s thoughts. Owls are inclined to symbolize concern, particularly almost about life’s unknowns. Encountering an owl could point out anxiousness or uncertainty concerning the future.

Encountering owls extra continuously than typical could point out a want to know one’s future. A transition of some variety is more likely to lie forward, so owls could seem as an indication to embrace change.

Hearing owls hooting could point out loneliness or a want to attach with others.

If owls have turn out to be an issue in your yard then learn this information for a bit of recommendation.

Owl Mythology and Folklore

We’ve already examined some owl mythology within the earlier sections, however right here’s a couple of extra examples of this chook’s affect on human cultures.

In Greek mythology, the owl is without doubt one of the fundamental symbols of the goddess Athena. Athena is the goddess of knowledge, craftsmanship, and technique. Fierce, clever, and delightful, Athena’s symbolic owl represents her many virtues. (10)

The Egyptian owl god is a fierce guardian of the scared occult information. Egyptian owl hieroglyphs affiliate these birds with each the profane and the divine. They are thought-about emblems of royalty in addition to dying and desolation. (11)

Hindu mythology casts the owl because the holy car of the goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi is a goddess of prosperity and wealth. As her holy car, the owl is related to this stuff, nonetheless it’s extra typically linked together with her reverse model. Thus the owl is taken into account an omen of misfortune. (12)

In Nordic mythology, the owl is linked with the goddess of knowledge. (13)

Owl Spirit Animal

The owl spirit animal is linked with knowledge, introversion, secrecy, and curiosity. PEople with the owl as their spirit animal are usually very snug by themselves and don’t take pleasure in compelled social interactions. They can type deep relationships with others, however will usually want loads of time alone to recharge.

The owl spirit animal is usually present in tutorial sorts who take pleasure in serious about the world’s hidden mysteries. The owl is filled with curiosity and all the time glad to vary its perspective so as to study one thing new.

Learn the right way to entice owls right here.

Owl Totem Animal

If the owl is your totem animal, then meaning that you’re seemingly uniquely gifted relating to receiving messages from the universe. The owl totem animal is in tune with the tiniest actions and vibrations within the air and might act on issues that others don’t even discover.

Because of this, it could generally really feel as if you’ve gotten an instinct for the long run! People with the owl totem animal ought to keep in mind to belief their instincts, hearken to their senses, and be pleased about their distinctive items,

Owl Power Animal

The owl is an exquisite and lethal chook of prey which silently stalks the nighttime panorama. If the owl is your energy animal then you possibly can depend on this chook to deliver acuity and imaginative and prescient to your life. When the trail appears muddled and you’ll’t inform up from down, name upon the owl to deliver readability and steering. People who’re guided by the owl by no means must concern the darkness.

Owl Tattoo Meaning

An owl tattoo is perhaps chosen to symbolize knowledge, curiosity, magic, thriller, or serenity.

For Native American folks, an owl tattoo could invoke a cultural custom during which the owl is an emblem of dying. Similarly, a Celtic owl tattoo could symbolize femininity or betrayal.

A tattoo of a barn owl represents house.


There is far far more to say concerning the magnificence of owls than now we have had time to cowl on this article. Suffice it to say that the owl is without doubt one of the most impactful and inspirational birds round. This is confirmed time and again by the wealthy cultural traditions which heart on this majestic chook.

Related: Crow Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)

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