Owl Symbolism – Totem and Meaning of the Owl

Written by : Posted on August 26, 2011 : 21 Comments

Insight and Symbolism of Spirit OwlOwl Spirit Symbolism Words: Wisdom, Silence, Magic, True Sight, Solitude, Enlightenment, Secrets, Night, Change, Omens, Vigilance, Dreams, Feminine, Intuition, Stealth, Mystery, Insight

Owl Meaning and Symbolism: The spirit of Owl brings with it many different meanings. If the Owl symbolism has entered your life recently take a moment to stop and reflect on some of the following messages:

  • Silence, Solitude: Is the bustling cacophony of daily life overwhelming you, are your words getting you into trouble? If Owl has glided silently into your life it is important to heed this totem’s important meaning. Owls are generally solitary and they have the remarkable ability to fly silently and to quietly move from perch to perch. The silence and symbolism of the owl spirit offers lessons of stealth and poise in our everyday lives. You may need to remove yourself from the noise of life and become the still silent observer. After slowing down and becoming stable you will be amazed by the wealth of information and meaning that surrounds you.
  • True Sight, Secrets: Is someone in your life being dishonest, are you being left in the dark by friends or family? The owl totem can help to reveal those who would take advantage of another or deceive others. If the owl guide has appeared to you, it may be bringing you the ability to see what others may miss. Open your eyes and truly examine how things are, you will be surprised that suddenly you can see things that are normally hidden from view – like the motives of those around you. External appearances will give way to the truth and meaning hidden beneath.
  • Owl Symbolism in DreamsChange, Intuition: Do you feel stagnant or apathetic; does that little voice in your head constantly nag at you? Owl is often thought to come to those who need to let go of some part of their life that is no longer needed.  Listen carefully to that inner voice and be guided to recapture the knowledge of your true path in life. Owl’s senses pierce through shadows, beyond fear and darkness, through to the other side that promises light, happiness and knowledge.
  • Night, Dreams: Are you being hounded by fears and worries, have you been having strange or disturbing dreams? Because most owls are active between dusk and dawn, they are sometimes called Night Eagles or messengers from the dark side. If the Owl totem comes and sits nearby, it may indicate a need to peer into the darkness and face your fears. Also, pay close attention to your dreams, they carry powerful meaning and symbols of your unconscious and emotional well being.

People with Owl Totem are…

  • Perceptive
  • Intuitive
  • Creative Dreamers
  • Mysterious
  • Quiet
  • Great Listeners
  • Wise Counsels

Meaning of Owl PeoplePeople who possess the power of the owl share many traits with their totem animals and feel a strong connection with the night and to the occult. Owl medicine brings the gift of wisdom and insight.

It is almost impossible to keep a secret from an owl-person, as they see through even the best hidden ploys. They always grasp the whole truth and often take this gift for granted. It is because of this uncanny ability to see through the masks that most people wear, that owl people are often unpopular and feared by others. If Owl is your spirit guide it is important that you do not use your sight against others but instead to help them discover the meanings of life messages that surround them.

The gift of owl medicine is wisdom and the ability to see in the shadows, this translates into great insight, for the self, and for the others. People with owl as their symbolic spirit guide find it easy to intuit deeper reasoning and meaning in relationships and events. Like the beat of the owl’s wings you must be gentle in sharing your wisdom, and subtle about its delivery. If all goes well the subject of your gaze may not even be aware that you are giving them valuable advice.

Many owl people are overly secretive or isolate themselves from others. Imagine a person who stays inside, up late at night, pursuing knowledge and understanding. The secretive habits of the owl, its quiet flight and various calls, whistles, screeches and hoots, have made them objects of fear and superstition. As an owl person it is important to remember that there is both a night and day, and to not get lost purely in the spirit of night and mystery. Remember that the owl totem carries with it the gift of insight, and what use is this gift if it is not shared?

Message and Meaning of OwlOwl’s Message: Owl brings with it the message of truth and awareness. When owl hoots at you or swoops into your life make sure to stop and become aware of your surroundings, seek truth in every aspect of your life and interactions.

Owl symbolism in Dreams: The appearance of owl in your dream brings several different meanings. In the dreamtime this totem symbolizes wisdom, insight, magic, expanded awareness and virtue.

If the owl is silently observing you, remember that this spirit is a symbol of insight. Examine your own life and reconnect with your intuition.

If the owl is flying, swooping, or stalking it represents your fears and negative behaviors. Do not let your worries hang silently over your head and instead address any problems so they may be changed.

To hear the screech or hoot of an owl symbolizes a disconnection with your inner voice. Your conscious and unconscious minds are out of synch. Alternatively, the cry may carry the meaning of loss or regret.

Cultural Owl Symbolism: Throughout history and across many cultures, people have regarded Owls with fascination and awe. Few other creatures have so many different and contradictory beliefs about them.

Cave Painting Symbolism of Owl

  • Native American Symbolism: The most prevalent Native American symbolism of Owl is one that is associated with death and spirits. Many Native American tribes viewed the owls as spirits of the dead, or the souls of the recently deceased. Some tribes also believe that owl was a messenger of the underworld and carried spirits to the afterlife. Owls were also viewed as powerful spirit protectors and their feathers held great meaning and value.
  • Celtic/Gaelic Symbolism: In Celtic symbolism, the owl is noted for wisdom, keen sight, and patience. The owl is a guide in the underworld and an effective hunter. At the same time this night-dweller was considered a “corpse-bird” or “night hag.”
  • Indian Symbolism: In early Indian folklore, Owls represent wisdom and helpfulness, and have powers of prophecy.
  • Greek/Roman Symbolism: In most lore the owl symbolizes wisdom and protection and was the favorite bird of Athene, the goddess of wisdom. To the Romans, the owl was both a symbol of victory and doom. To hear the hoot of an Owl presaged imminent death. The deaths of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Commodus Aurelius, and Agrippa were apparently all predicted by an Owl.
  • Chinese Symbolism: Asian peoples told tales of the owl stealing children in the night. Others believed witches could fly about in the form of owls and that sorcerers could send messages by means of this bird.
  • Biblical Symbolism: Because he is a solitary night bird, the owl has come to represent the forsaken. Job in his affliction calls himself “a companion to owls” (Job 30:29). The owl is associated with ruins – places that have been utterly abandoned and are unfit for human habitation. The complete ruin of the cities of Israel’s enemies is emphasized by the following statements: “the owl and the raven shall dwell in it (Isa 34:11 NKJV); it shall be an habitation of dragons and a court for owls” (Isa 34:13); “the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited forever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation” (Jer 50: 39). Christianity saw in the owl a symbol of Christ, who came to those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death (Luke 1:79).

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    • Is there truth in what you said? Did an owl Really sit on Jesus’s cross while he was dying & stare at him? Is this in the bible somewhere I could look up? Interesting….

          • Not really on topic, but interesting to know many mentions of dragons in the bible (skulking in graveyards and ruins) are thought to be a mistranslation of “jackal” as they original words were very similar. makes a lot more sense than dragons foraging on battlefields!

  1. Had a day time dream (my siesta) of being in my house of my childhood. I step outside and see my mother has changed the front yard to be smaller and more natural with some new trees. That surprises me a bit. It is nice though. To my right my neighbor calls me and he has saved a young hawk and is feeding it. As he talks to me his face changes and becomes an owl’s face. Very vivid for me. Interesting.

  2. My life of late has been touched by much inner conflict, anxiety, and sadness. About 6 months ago, I began hearing the hooting of two owls back and forth at night in my backyard or on my roof. This actually wakes me up out of a sound sleep. It doesn’t happen every night, but I am finding that the occurences coincide with certain “like” events. Then, a few weeks ago, I actually saw a large gray owl perched in a parking garage in the city where I had attended a crucial conference meeting with my addict son and his counselors. This owl looked down at me from 3 stories up, as if to acknowledge my presence. I remember feeling awed and overwhelmed by its beauty. On the same day during my drive to this meeting, I saw a bald eagle in flight.

    I recently returned to this city for a family self-help group. During my long drive there, I noticed several hawks, both perching and in flight above my car—many crows, both perched and in flight— and what I think was a gray owl, perched in a tree. The owl was quite large with a light underside and seemed to be puffed up and larger than any red tailed hawk. With only a brief sighting from behind the bird, I wasn’t able to make out the narrow, tapering head of a hawk, only a broad, rounded head (more similar to an owl). I sense a connection among all of these sightings, both visual and auditory. Am I crazy ? What info can I reasonably glean from all of this ?

    • NightEagle9091 on said:

      Tracy… when you realize there is a deeper purpose for the animal sightings you are having… when the animals and birds behave in a way that allows you to see that it is special… you should look up their totemic medicine attributes… keep whatever resonates as true and discard the rest…. enjoy… nature and animals will lead you to lessons and discoveries…

      look up http://www.pathofthefeather.com/… when birds leave their feathers for you they are sending you proof of their alliance 😉 a feather for your cap… a right of passage to the indian

    • All your bird sightings are symbols, talking to you…
      No matter what happens, be confident that your life is unfolding as it is meant to be. Experiencing loss and change is part of the process of living. Hawks are guardians – spirits of loved ones, crossed over, symbols of protection, watching over those still present in life, and ready to accompany those whose time to cross over may be coming.

      Fear not. There is no death. Only transformation.

  3. The owl has been my favorite animal as long as I can remember. Does that mean it’s my Totem Animal?

    • Soot Little Raven on said:

      Yes, that could be. One of the first steps to finding your totem animal is examining which animals interest you. So, it could very well be.

  4. Charlotte may on said:

    I have an owl spirit guide….Athena. A beautiful white barn owl, who visits me often and takes me travelling. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to know she’s always there. X

  5. Owls are my totem, and I was blessed to hear one around 5am today. Yesterday was very emotional, I have a feeling the next while may be as well. I found my totem though a dream. After asking to dream of my totem I dreamt I was walking back to my house late at night, the branches of the trees were full of dead rats tied by their tails, I knew they were an offering for the owl left by my neighbour. As I stepped into my house an owl crash-landed onto my kitchen floor, disoriented screeching. I was terrified, i flicked off the lights so it could get it’s bearings and locked myself in the bathroom to wait for it to fly away. After having this dream I still wasn’t sure I was an owl totem, until a friend said “You’re not sure! an owl crash-landed in your house! how much more obvious could it be?” I have to admit now it was pretty obvious. Not to mention Owl was my favourite in Winnie the pooh!

  6. I have had encounters with owls at night throughout the years. During My first encounter i had gotten into a car wreck and was temporarilly in a wheelchair. This owl would appear every night in my yard perched above my head on a electric wire looking down at me when i sat outside in my swing. I was going through hard times in my life. 4 months later after i had gotten better and regain my health I never seen the owl again. Call me crazy, but I always thought that was my deceased father I tragically lost when I was 9 years old looking over me.Recently, I have been seeing this owl in my yard early hours of the morning. It creeps me out. I am in good health but I have been having marital problems and other stressors in my life. I was reading were that symbolizes it could mean a change in your life. I have of the gift of seeing through people for what they are pretnding to be. Seeing this owl has really bothered me. Maybe its my dads spirit just watching over me.

  7. torri Draper on said:

    Owls have always been my warning bird . They tell me when to stop whatever im doing and check out every angle of my life that could lead to death or distruction . Make changes in a haste to be upright in all things

  8. I was driving to my mothers house and i seen two hawks perched on the electric wire line and then i continue driving and i see an owl perched on a tree we continue to drive and we arrive in va at my moms house and my nephew is throwing a wild party without her knowing girls guys drinking they all run and scatter they thought we were on vacation