Owls are typically linked to wisdom and intelligence, owing to their expertise in hunting and their curious and intellectual “hooting” call. Owls are also associated with vision and the future, as they possess large eyes that allow them to hunt effectively in darkness and flexible heads that enable them to anticipate what lies ahead. However, the nocturnal habits of owls have also led to negative associations in some cultures, particularly during moonlit nights when they hunt, and are associated with fear, death, and misfortune. In addition, owls are often associated with magic and the supernatural, featuring in stories and mythology as familiars of witches and warlocks.((https://www.owlpages.com/owls/articles.php?a=5))1

Let’s examine the symbolism of owls more closely.

Owl Symbolism in Dreams

The interpretation of dreams is a fascinating subject, however, it can be quite challenging, as it requires taking into account the dreamer’s personal associations and possibly significant events in their life. Our approach to interpreting dream symbols follows the psychological perspective.

Dreams about owls can hold various interpretations, depending on the context of the dreamer’s life. Owls are often associated with wisdom, intelligence, insight, and awareness. They may symbolize hidden knowledge or messages from the spirit realm. However, in many cultures, owls are also seen as bad omens or symbols of death, which can reflect negative changes or repressed emotions in the dreamer’s life.

If an owl appears in a dream, it is crucial to pay attention to the details of the dream and the dreamer’s emotions. The owl could be a positive symbol of transformation and new beginnings, or it could be a warning of verbal abuse or negative changes. The dreamer’s interpretation of the owl symbol in the dream will depend on their personal context and life experience.

Overall, owls in dreams can be either good or bad, depending on the dreamer’s reaction to them. If the dreamer is open to change and growth, the owl may be seen as a comforting symbol of deeper wisdom. On the other hand, if the dreamer resists change, the owl may appear as a scary or bad omen. In any case, the owl in the dream is trying to convey an important message from the subconscious mind that the dreamer should reflect upon.2

If you dream about an owl attacking you, it is a reflection of your fear of things happening outside of your control. You may be feeling stressed about adapting to new circumstances and changes that you cannot control, such as job or financial issues.

If you dream about an owl biting you, the location of the bite can provide insight into the specific issue that you are ignoring or putting off. For example, an owl biting your hand may indicate issues around giving or receiving money, while an owl biting your face may be related to issues around appearance, self-worth, and jealousy. It may be helpful to ask yourself what needs your attention, even if you don’t want to face it, as avoiding a problem can often be more mentally distressing than dealing with it directly.

Dreaming about an owl flying in your dream can represent silent, behind-the-scenes action and the need to trust that things are being worked out, even if you cannot see or understand it yet. Trusting the divine timeline and seeking higher perspective on a situation can be beneficial in this case.

Additionally, if you dream about an owl eating, it may represent the processing of knowledge and information, particularly spiritual lessons that you may teach to others.

On the other hand, if an owl lands on you in your dream, it is a sign that you are in the right place at the right time and that you should trust your intuition.3

Injured Owl In Dream

If you dream of an owl that is injured, it could signify that you are experiencing a sense of losing your independence or control, particularly in terms of expressing your spiritual beliefs. Owls are often associated with embarking on a solitary journey to uncover the truth in the midst of darkness, which can be impeded by fear, duties, and expectations. The presence of an injured owl in your dream could suggest that you are feeling powerless or uncertain when it comes to exploring your spiritual path. Depending on the nature of the injury, the dream may hold different meanings. For instance, an injured wing might indicate dependence on others, while an injured foot or leg could suggest that past traumas are hindering your progress. Meanwhile, an injured beak might reflect a suppressed ability to communicate effectively. If you dream of a dead or dying owl, it could be a sign that you need to make significant changes in your life. However, it could also signify that new opportunities are on the horizon.((https://crystalclearintuition.com/owl-dreams/))

Baby Owl In Dream

Dreaming of a baby owl can signify a fresh start or a new phase of personal development. This stage of growth may come with unfamiliar challenges, but it is also a time to explore new spiritual abilities. As the owl grows, it requires more effort and devotion to one’s spiritual journey. The appearance of a baby owl in a dream is an optimistic indication of progress and a reminder that healing occurs in cycles, with each phase leading to greater heights.3

What Does a Dead Owl Represent?

The dead owl is often associated with the need for change. Its message is intended for those who need to understand its symbolism, reminding them to acknowledge their human desire for excitement and take action to make that a reality. Typically, the dead owl represents the end of a phase in one’s life rather than a literal death, indicating the need for transformation and change. If you’ve been feeling stuck, confined, or unfulfilled, it may be a sign that it’s time to take steps towards achieving that change, whether it involves a change in career, physical well-being, or ending a relationship that no longer serves you. In dreams, a dead owl can also symbolize anxiety and the need to seek assistance while honoring one’s inner calmness through practices such as meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature.4

Owl Feather Meaning

For many years, people have considered owl feathers as spiritual symbols that embody the energy and spirit of the owl. These feathers are commonly linked with various attributes such as wisdom, intuition, inner peace, protection, healing, and the ability to connect with the spiritual world. Finding an owl feather is often seen as a sign of good luck and protection, leading many individuals to use them in their spiritual practices to promote a calm and tranquil environment. Owl feathers are also used in talismans and amulets to provide protection and good fortune. The symbol of an owl feather represents wisdom, truth, and knowledge, leading individuals who come across these feathers to be thought of as wise beyond their years.5

Owl Mythology and Folklore

In Abyssinia, the Hamites believed Owls to be sacred, while in Afghanistan, it was thought that the bird provided man with flint and iron in exchange for its feathers. In Africa, the Bantu regarded Owls as the companions of wizards, and the Zulus called them the birds of sorcerers. Meanwhile, the Swahili associated Owls with child illness, and in West Africa, their cry was believed to foretell evil and serve as the messenger of witches and wizards.

Arabia viewed Owls as ill omens and carriers of evil spirits that abducted children at night. According to an ancient Arabic treatise, each female Owl laid two eggs, one with the power to cause hair fall out and the other with the power to restore it. In Arctic Circle mythology, an Owl was created when a little girl with a long beak was scared and flew into a wall, flattening her face and beak. The Aborigines in Australia believed that Owls represented the souls of women, making them sacred. The Aztecs worshipped an evil god who wore a Screech Owl on his head.

In China, Owls were linked to lightning and the drum, and effigies were placed in each corner of homes to guard against lightning. Owls were also associated with excessive Yang energy in Chinese culture.

In Croatia, the Owl is a symbol of the City of Krk and the protector of Solta Island, known as “cuvitar.” In Germany, Owls were believed to bring unhappiness if they hooted when a child was born. The Incas venerated Owls for their beautiful eyes and head, while the Inuit of Greenland saw them as a source of guidance and assistance.

In India, the Barn Owl was considered the transport of the Hindu goddess of wisdom, Lakshmi, and a symbol of learning and wisdom. The eagle Owls, like the rock eagle owl and the brown fish owl, were called “ullu” in Hindi, which was also used to mean foolishness. In ancient Indian superstitions, the number of hoots from an Owl was interpreted as an omen, with each number representing a different meaning. For example, one hoot symbolized impending death, while nine indicated good fortune.6

Owl in Greek and Roman Myths

In Greek mythology, the Little Owl was Athena’s favorite bird, known for its magical “inner light” that gave it night vision. It was revered as a protector, accompanying Greek armies to war and watching over trade and commerce from the reverse side of Athenian coins. In contrast, in Roman mythology, the hoot of an owl was believed to be a harbinger of death, and witches were thought to transform into owls and suck the blood of babies. Ascalpus, a Roman figure, was turned into an owl for revealing secrets.

Owl in English Folklore

In English folklore, the Barn Owl was considered a bird of darkness and was associated with death. The bird’s screech was believed to be an omen of imminent death, while its use as a weather predictor was also prevalent. The tradition of nailing an owl to a barn door to ward off evil and lightning was popular until the 19th century.

Owl in Native American Culture

In American Indian culture, different tribes held varying beliefs regarding owls. The Spedis Owl carving was used to protect against water devils and monsters, while dreaming of an owl in Apache Indian culture was thought to signify approaching death. Cherokee shamans considered Eastern Screech-Owls as consultants, who could bring sickness as punishment. Boreal Owl whistles were believed to be summons from spirits by the Cree people, and if a person answered with a similar whistle and did not hear a response, they would soon die. Lastly, the Burrowing Owl was revered by the Hopis as their god of the dead, the guardian of fires and tender of all underground things, including seed germination. 7

Owl Tattoo Meaning

The owl tattoo is a highly sought-after design due to the deep symbolism associated with this mystical creature. Throughout history, owls have been revered and feared, and have held significant meaning in areas such as witchcraft, medicine, birth, death, and weather. The duality of darkness and wisdom is inherent in owls, with their exceptional night vision representing the ability to see beyond illusions and deceit. As creatures of mystery, owls are intricately linked to the moon and night, embodying the concepts of magic, clairvoyance, astral projection, and transitions in life. Additionally, owls are viewed as protectors of the sacred, representing purity of spirit. Those who choose owl tattoo designs believe that these creatures embody a shining light that can guide us through the darkest moments, as they epitomize hope and vision.8

Owl feather tattoos are a sought-after choice for both men and women, with designs ranging from simple to intricately detailed. People often choose these tattoos to represent wisdom, intuition, psychic abilities, freedom, and liberation from negative emotions like fear, anger, and jealousy. The meaning of an owl feather tattoo may vary depending on the owl species depicted in the tattoo, with barn owl tattoos symbolizing serenity and mystery, great horned owl tattoos representing power and protection, and snowy owl tattoos representing poise and elegance. Tribal owl tattoos are also popular, carrying cultural significance and serving as a symbol of protection in Native American tribes. 9

Different Colored Owl Meanings

Different colored owls carry different meanings when they appear in your dreams. A white owl is a sign of spiritual enlightenment, while a golden or yellow owl represents self-realization and a silver or grey owl symbolizes guidance from higher powers. A blue owl suggests that you need to communicate better with those around you, a green owl indicates happy times to come in your personal life, and a purple owl represents intuition. A brown owl represents fertility and parental energy, while a black owl is a bad omen and may indicate misfortune in the future.10

purple owl represents intuition

Spiritual Meaning of an Owl

Disclaimer: While Symbolopedia employs a scientific methodology to explain and investigate symbols, it is important to acknowledge that symbolic cognition may have predated human awareness. Consequently, some symbols may be more instinctively felt than intellectually comprehended. To account for this, we strive to encompass symbols from diverse fields and belief systems in our descriptions.

The symbolism of the owl spirit animal is closely linked to its ability to see through darkness and reveal hidden truths. This powerful creature is thought to guide individuals in seeing beyond illusions and uncovering the true intentions of others. As one of your power animals, the owl is said to imbue you with strong intuition and the ability to access hidden knowledge and wisdom. The spirit of the owl inspires you to look beyond surface appearances and uncover the deeper reality of any situation. This makes the owl an invaluable guide for making decisions, particularly in times of confusion or uncertainty. By embodying the spirit of the owl, you can learn to cut through illusions and see the world with greater clarity and insight.11

Meditation to Connect With the Owl Spirit Animal

Meditation to Connect With the Owl Spirit Animal
  • To begin, find a serene and cozy spot, free from distractions, where you can either sit or lay down. Take a few deep breaths to release any tension and relax your mind.
  • Next, shut your eyes and envision yourself in a forest at night. It’s dim, but you can make out the outlines of the trees and stars above you.
  • As you breathe deeply, allow yourself to unwind and become receptive to the experience. Suddenly, you hear rustling in the trees, and upon gazing up, you see an owl watching you from a branch with its keen eyes.
  • In a gentle and soothing voice, the owl communicates to you that it is your spirit animal and has come to guide you on your journey.
  • Feeling comforted and secure in the owl’s presence, you sense that it has valuable wisdom to impart to you, which will help you overcome the obstacles in your life.
  • The owl welcomes you to sit next to it on the branch and as you do, you feel the softness of its feathers against your skin. It begins to share its wisdom, emphasizing the importance of trusting your intuition and inner voice.
  • Additionally, it reminds you that sometimes, to gain insight into the truth, it’s necessary to be silent and observe.
  • As the owl speaks, you feel a deep connection with its energy and insights. You recognize that you can call upon it whenever you require guidance and support.
  • When you’re ready, take a moment to express your appreciation to the owl for its teachings and for connecting with you. Finally, slowly open your eyes and return to your day, feeling rejuvenated and motivated.

Owl Totem Animal

The Owl Totem Animal is a symbol of protection, wisdom, and intuitive insights. Those born with an Owl Totem Animal have a strong connection with the Yin of the Universe and are more aware of lunar cycles. They should embrace their inner Goddess, listen to their inner voice, and build strong relationships with women. Owls possess a unique gift of seeing the spiritual beings inside human bodies, which can make them highly accurate in their clairvoyance. However, they should be cautious not to see what they want to see, which may hamper their true sight. Owl Spirit Animal is a symbol of discernment, guiding people during confusing situations and advising them to trust their spiritual radar. With Owl as their Totem Animal, people will not waste energy by speaking without purpose and find strength in silence.12

Owl Power Animal

owl symbolism

The Owl Power Animal is a spiritual guide that can help you connect with hidden realms and find solace in times of chaos. Meditating with the owl in the quiet of the night can serve as a guide to your inner self. When determining your true place, it is important to invoke the owl and prepare for self-actualization. The Owl Medicine can assist you in speaking your truth and directing your ideas, and focusing on your goals with patience and stillness can help you achieve them. Drawing upon the Owl Energy can also help you distinguish between what is coming towards you and what is right in front of you, as both have significance in preparing for the future.12

Owl Encounters & Omens

While Owls are often associated with omens and can symbolize negative meanings, they can also represent positive change and hope.

A dead owl is typically considered a bad omen and may be seen as a symbol of dark energy, loss of self, and death. However, this negative interpretation is not always applicable, and a dead owl may represent a loss of a certain circumstance, even a negative one. Owls can also represent avenues for change and solutions, offering hope and the possibility of a brighter future.

Encountering owls may indicate anxiety or uncertainty about the future, and hearing their hooting may indicate loneliness or a desire to connect with others. In various cultures, owls are associated with death and destruction, and their cries can be disquieting and saddening.

Despite these negative associations, encountering an owl may also indicate a desire to understand one’s future, and a transition of some kind is likely to lie ahead. Overall, the symbolism of owls is multifaceted and can offer both warnings and opportunities for growth and change.13

Owl in Astrology & Zodiac Signs

Sagittarians are often celebrated for their open-minded and philosophical perspectives on life, which lend themselves naturally to teaching roles in astrology. In Native American astrology, the owl totem is associated with those born under this sign, representing wisdom and a strong intuition. As a creature of the night, the owl has an ability to see in the dark, making it a fitting symbol for the insightful Sagittarius. 14

Summary

Owls are often linked to wisdom, intelligence, and vision due to their hunting skills and unique physical traits such as large eyes and flexible heads. However, owls are also associated with fear, death, and misfortune in some cultures, particularly during moonlit nights when they hunt. In addition, they are often connected with magic and the supernatural, appearing in stories and mythology as familiars of witches and warlocks. Owls in dreams can have various interpretations depending on the dreamer’s emotions and context, and may symbolize positive or negative changes or repressed emotions.

FAQ

What’s the symbolism of owls?

Owls symbolize wisdom, intuition, perception, mystery, and intelligence.

Why are owls linked to wisdom?

Owls are connected with wisdom due to their nocturnal behavior, which implies they can see beyond what is visible to others, giving them insight and knowledge not readily accessible.

What do various types of owls represent?

Different owl species may symbolize different things. For example, barn owls represent purity and innocence, snowy owls symbolize independence and strength, and great horned owls denote mystery and power.

Do owls symbolize death?

Some cultures associate owls with death or the afterlife because of their association with darkness and the night, but they are commonly perceived as a positive symbol of wisdom and intelligence.

What do owl feathers signify?

Owl feathers are symbols of wisdom, intuition, spiritual insight, protection, and strength. Some Native American tribes believed they could protect hunters and warriors during battle.

What’s the spiritual significance of an owl?

The spiritual meaning of an owl varies by culture and belief system. Owls can represent wisdom, intuition, spiritual insight, protection, strength, independence, or even act as spiritual guides or messengers.

Olex Lys

Reviewed by Alexander Lys, M.L., a specialist in the field of symbolism research and dream psychology. A certified participant in numerous psychological seminars and courses, the author of hundreds of articles on psychology, including studies on symbolism in dreams and myths from a scientific perspective.

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  8. https://chronicinktattoo.com/blogs/blog/owl-tattoo []
  9. https://www.richardalois.com/symbolism/owl-feather-meaning []
  10. https://www.sonomabirding.com/owl-symbolism/ []
  11. https://www.spiritanimal.info/owl-spirit-animal/ []
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Symbolopedia

Encyclopedia of Symbols

About the Author

Symbolopedia is a comprehensive guide to the meanings of symbols. Our content is crafted by professionals in psychology and symbolism, striving to maintain a balance between scientifically proven data and insights derived from myths, legends, and folklore. While our approach leans towards scientific interpretations of symbols, we acknowledge the significant role of the subconscious in their understanding, allowing for a blend of rationality and creativity.

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