Owl: symbol of Magic, Wisdom
The Owl was associated with the Greek goddess Pallas Athena. Soldiers have held the Owl as a special bird because it stays awake at night, which is the hardest time for soldiers to stay awake. Some Native Americans see the Owl as the symbol of the soul.
The owl has exceptional vision and sense of hearing. It symbolises wisdom and ability to see and hear clearly despite the darkness. To bring out your hidden qualities keep an owl in your home. The owl is the symbol of magic. Powerful magic, good omens, prophecy, astral travel, power to see the un-seen, all seeing knowledge, great wisdom, good luck, power of the moon and night, insight, giving and receiving messages, clairvoyance, religious beliefs, communication with the spirit world, and insight into others true motives
To see an owl in your dream, symbolizes wisdom, insight and virtue. The owl is also synonymous with death and darkness.
To hear the hoot of an owl, denotes disappointments and forewarns that death creeps closely in the wake of joy and health.
To see a dead owl, signifies a narrow escape from desperate illness and death. Death in this sense may also represent a symbolic death, as in an important transition in life.
If before a
battle an owl flew over the army, it was taken as a good omen that victory was
immanent. The owl was also given
prominence in society and commerce being depicted on the reverse side of their
silver drachma coins:
KEYNOTE: The mystery of magic, omens, silent wisdom, and vision in the night.
CYCLE OF POWER: Nocturnal, year round.
No bird has as much myth and mystery surrounding it than the owl. Most perceptions of it are confused. It is not unusual to get contrary opinions of the owl. It has an ancient aura of mystery about it. Part of this is because it is a nocturnal bird, and night time has always seemed mysterious to humans.
The owl is a symbol of the feminine, the moon, and the night. It has been called a cat with wings. It has been worshiped as an idol and hated as the reincarnation of the devil. It has been believed to have great haling powers, both in North America and on other continents. Because of this association with the moon, it has ties to fertility and seduction, for the moon is the arouser of men and owls. The owl is the bird of magic and darkness, of prophecy and wisdom.
To the ancient Greeks, the owl was associated with the goddess Athena, and it was a symbol of higher wisdom. It was the guardian of the Acropolis. To the early Christian Gnostics, it is associated with Lilith, the first wife of Adam who refused to be submissive to him. To the Pawnee, it was a symbol of protection. To the Ojibwa, it was a symbol of evil and death. To the Pueblo, it was associated with the skeleton Man, the god of death, but who was also a spirit of fertility. Owl medicine is symbolically associated with clairvoyance, astral projection and magic, both black and white.
Many superstitions and beliefs have come to be associated with it. Owls have been thought of as the reincarnation of the dead. In Wales, the owl has come to be associated with fertility. If heard near a pregnant girl, it indicates an ease birth. The most predominant is that of the owl being able to extract secrets. It was believed in ancient Rome that to place a feather or part of an owl on a sleeping person would enable you to discover his/her secrets. This is all tied to one of its keynotes, especially when we look at its acute vision and hearing.
The owl is a bird of the night, and the night has long been a symbol of the darkness within, the place in which humans hide their secrets. The owl has great vision and hearing. They can adjust in an instant from a telescopic to a microscopic focus. The pupils respond in a fraction of a second to very minute changes in light intensity. The owl?s eyes are specially adapted to detect subtle movements. They also have extra light-sensitive cones and rods in the retina to help with this.
The yellow colouring of the eyes is very symbolic. It makes the eyes much more expressive, but it hints of the light of the sun, alive in the dark of the night. The sun lives through the owl at night. Meditation on this alone will reveal much about the magic of the owl within your life. Contrary to popular belief, the owl can see very well during the daylight. It is just more effective and more acute at night.
One who works with owl medicine will be able to see and hear what others try to hide. You will hear what is not being sad, and you will see what is hidden or in the shadows. You can detect and pinpoint the subtleties. This can make others uncomfortable because they will not be able to deceive you about their motives or actions. Owl people have a unique ability to see into the darkness of others souls and life. This is very scary to most people. This vision and hearing capabilities has metaphysical links to the gifts of clairvoyance and clairaudience as well.
The owl, as a bird of the night, can teach all of the secrets of the night. These secrets involve everything that transpires when the Sun is gone. Owls are the eyes of the night, and they see what is not in the open. They have secret knowledge that they can share. Their medicine can extract secrets.
The owl, like hawks and other birds of prey, has a third eyelid. This nictitating eyelid moves from side to side. It cleanses the eye, clearing its vision. Again this symbolizes so much about new vision opening to you. It often reflects that you were born very perceptive, with a vision of others that you may or may not have recognized or acknowledged. Often those with an owl as a power totem have a unique ability for seeing into the eyes and souls of others. Often these perceptions are discarded as wild imaginings or with such phrases as ?Why in the world would I think that about this person?. These kinds of imaginings, positive and negative, should be trusted.
Owls fly silently. The front edge of the wing has a fringe that silences the flight. Most owls have wings that are great for the size of the owl. This also enables the owl to fly slowly and smoothly, facilitating its silent hunt. This silence is something that all with an owl totem should practice. Keep silent and go about your business. This will bring you the greatest success.
Some owls are endangered. This is partly due to destruction of habitat and partly due to unthinking hunting. The spotted owl is an example of an owl in danger because of loss of habitat. The barn owl is threatened or endangered in many states. This is due predominantly to hunting and the perception of owls as pests.
Much study has been done on owls in regards to their prey. This is possible predominantly due to owl pellets. An owl will usually swallow its prey whole and head first. The parts of the prey that are indigestible (bones, fur, teeth, claws, and such) are then regurgitated in the form of pellets. This is a very symbolic at in which much significance can be found. In the swallowing of the prey head first, the owl takes into itself the wisdom and energy of the prey. The regurgitation reflects its ability to eliminate those aspects that are unbeneficial and unhealthy for it.
Some owls have a balancing raptor. The owl is lunar and nocturnal, while some raptors are diurnal and solar. Owls and some hawks will share the same territory, one hunting and using it by day, and the other by night. They don?t necessarily get along, but they do tolerate each other in varying degrees. These can be seen as balancing medicines, and rituals and meditations can be used with the owl and its solar equivalent. They can be used to balance the male and female.
One example is using owl and hawk feathers together as part of a dream bundle to help stimulate lucid dreaming. For example, a red-tailed hank feather tied between two great horned owl feathers and hung over the bed may help you assert your will over the dream state. This can be used to develop astral projection or just for conscious control of the dream scenario during sleep.
The most common examples of owls and their daytime hawk equivalents are found in the chart below:
Great Horned Owls = Red-Tailed Hawks
Barred Owls = Red-Shouldered Hawks
Screech Owls = Kestrels
Short-Eared Owls = Harrier Hawks
Snowy Owls = White Phase Gyrfalcons
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Last updated: 24 May 2013