Owl Symbolism (Meanings & Interpretations)

The fact that owls are associated with so much symbolism is not surprising. They are a very fascinating animals due to their enormous bulk, huge eyes, quiet flight, and mysterious nocturnal habits.

You might be surprised to learn what owls are connected with in the spiritual realm. After a visit from an owl, everyone in some cultures is scared, and the symbolism of owls is more complicated than you think. Owl wisdom and protection are examples of the limitless power of owls.


Based on their looks and mannerisms, we may determine what owls represent. The huge eyes of owls, their mastery of disguise, and their capacity to sit motionless while just shifting their head, which may be rotated all the way around on either side, are all characteristics that you might notice if you have ever observed one.

Their noises range from gentle moans to strong cackles and hallows, which may make them seem particularly threatening as they reverberate through a gloomy night wood.

Here are some of the most popular owl iconography:

  • Truth / Honestly
  • Wisdom and Cunning
  • Courage and Protection
  • Gatekeepers to other realms
  • Clarity
  • Independence


You can’t lie to an owl, it’s said. Their huge eyes may give them the appearance of seeing right through you. The owl may be a signal that we should remain true to ourselves and our goals.

Don’t let others sway you from the path that YOU know is best for you. Keeping secrets is also cautioned against. When the truth is exposed, we may damage those around us because secrets and lies are nearly usually discovered out.


The Greek goddess Athena, renowned for her intelligence and power over battle, and her owl companion, may have been the source of owl wisdom. The fact that owls are quiet and have a mysterious appearance may make people believe they have ancient secrets and wisdom.

The ability to solve difficulties with your intelligence is what owls symbolize. Before reaching a decision, explore all possibilities and look beyond the obvious. In addition, you should maintain an open mind and absorb wisdom from all sources. When you have a restricted viewpoint, it’s generally more difficult to get to the heart of an problem.


Owls are powerful hunters, and as a result must keep an eye on themselves for the majority of their lives, since they are mostly alone outside of breeding. Owls, unlike other birds, will keep their babies safe for months before they’re capable of looking after themselves. Fending off a slew of would-be predators is part of this.

The Greeks thought that if an owl was seen flying over a soldier or an army, it would watch over them and ensure victory.


Owls were often associated with the underworld, and their association with the nighttime gave rise to ideas that owls were gatekeepers to other realms. Several societies thought that your spirit would be joined by them after death and ensure that you got to the afterlife without getting separated. Owls may represent communications from the dead as well as indicating psychic and clairvoyant abilities in this manner.


The unique development of owls has earned them a reputation. When owls are out hunting for food, it’s uncommon to come across a collection of them. They get a bit too attached to their projects.

Owls are only found in groups when they’re mating or keeping warm, which is the only time. They do occasionally exchange information regarding ideal hunting sites. They prefer to remain separate and determine when they want to mingle.


Dreams about owls have been interpreted by many cultures through history. Here are some symbolic meanings to owls in your dreams:

It’s usually beneficial for you to recall the sentiments that you experienced in your dream. In a dream with an owl, being in tune with your emotions helps you determine the overall meaning of the dream.

Many civilizations throughout history have interpreted dreams about owls. In your dreams, owls might represent the following symbolic meanings:

  • A sign that you need to make significant changes in your life if you want to improve your situation is a dead or dying owl. It’s possible that your job is no longer relevant, or that you’ve grown apart.
  • You might need to adopt a “higher viewpoint” on an subject that is currently on your mind, if an owl flying high above you. You’ll need to get an outside, unbiased opinion or distance yourself and look at the problem more rationally than emotionally.
  • You should open up your subconscious mind if a screeching owl appears.
  • If you give an owl food, there is a lesson in your life that you can share with others that will benefit them.
  • There is something in your life that would be of benefit to teach others if you feed an owl; there is something you are learning.
  • You are processing important knowledge, frequently spiritual, that will help you gain a new perspective in life if you are watching an owl eat.
  • You’ve been or should be trusting your intuition, and you know that it is leading you in the right way; an owl lands on your shoulder/arm.
  • You’ve been wrestling with a problem and an owl lands on your head. Stop overthinking and get going!
  • Get in touch with your instincts and intuitive skills more often, because a sitting owl means you should.
  • You’re being attacked by an owl; you may discover a truth about yourself that you didn’t want others to know. It may also imply that you are experiencing a rapid change in your life, which is causing you worry and stress.
  • You are having difficulty controlling negative thoughts about your looks and self-worth after a bird bites your cheek.

When you’re doing “shadow work,” owls may appear in your dreams. When individuals dig deep into their own psyche to uncover and release difficult feelings like anxiety, sadness, shame, and trauma, they are said to be shadow working.

Trauma may be processed by trying to comprehend these underlying and darker feelings. With your shadow work, the owl may represent that you are on the right track, or that you may need to look at emotions that you have been suppressing.

Bottom line is that if you have ever had an owl-related dream, there is probably something wrong in your life. Time to address concerns, process them, and then move on if they are the source of anxiety or worry.


The meaning of seeing an owl in person is subject to a variety of interpretations. The most prevalent explanation, however, is that it comes from the afterlife. owls are uncommon, therefore when they do appear, many regard it as a omen.

This may imply that you are about to experience a lot of changes in your life in the near future. Furthermore, as owls are self-sufficient hunters, a reminder to concentrate on achieving certain tasks on your own might be significant. Additionally, stick to your own ideas and rely on your feelings.

For example, if your goals are currently being pursued in a certain way, you may want to consider a change. Now might be a good opportunity to take a look at how you’ve been involving others in your plans. An encounter with an owl may imply that you should look at alternative ways to do things in order to reach your true potential.

It might be a indication that you really require to do serious work on your trauma if you’ve been having trouble emotionally. To overcome painful feelings and be able to move on, seeking treatment or engaging in shadow labor is required.

Owl encounters are sometimes seen as a indication that you’re about to discover something vital about yourself, which your subconscious was keeping hidden.

You may be about to have a crucial understanding of the way you’ve been living your life, why you’re engaging in certain behaviors, or what you need to do to improve your situation, so pay attention to what you’re thinking and feeling at this moment.


The fact that you don’t see owls during the day is enough to cause a lot of superstitious belief. Their association with the dark has resulted in a slew of negative superstitions, including their sometimes scary look with big black eyes and disturbing cries.

Witchcraft has been linked to the African Owl. Owls are considered bad energy carriers in many African communities, and they make the young and frail unwell. When you see this bird, it is famous for instilling terror in you.

The myth that seeing an owl signifies that death is at your doorstep is widespread believe. Several cultures have seen these birds as death messengers and spirit escorts. The Apache and Navajo cultures have long used owl symbolism to represent death.

Owl legends claim that if you speak a person’s name, he or she will die. In reality, these societies still caution that if you hear or see an owl, you should ensure that you remain indoors until the coming terrible news arrives.

There are a few noteworthy superstitions:

  • Your eyesight may be improved by eating them.
  • During wars, some cultures believe that they are protecting spirits.
  • They shouldn’t be harmed since they carry people’s souls.
  • Witches may transform themselves into owls, which is why they are linked to witchcraft.
  • hearing an owl hoot three times is considered unlucky.
  • The home is haunted if an owl is sheltering in it.



The way that owls are perceived by many people today can be traced back to ancient biblical times. There hasn’t been any scripture that has painted owls a good light.

An owl has been shown as an unclean creature that no one should eat in the Bible. Crocodiles, bats, ravens, and owls are among the animals forbidden by Moses in Leviticus for Israelites to eat as food. These are the symbols of disobedience and desolation mentioned in various Bible stories, as far as we know.

In terms of loneliness, barrenness, and desolation, owls are also mentioned in the Bible. The correlation was obvious when describing Egypt’s arid desert regions and abandoned ruins, where owls were said to dwell. Seeing the animals living amid ruins and abandoned lands was a powerful image to these early people.


Despite the bad omens that Native American cultures believe animals spirits carry, they revere and respect them. Owl symbolism can be found in their cultures, which illustrates this. Among Native American tribes, owls were frequently seen as symbols of death.

They were supposed to connect with the dead and deliver warnings to those who transgressed tribal law, or join with them and commune. Owls were commonly seen as gods of death’s companions in Aztec and Mayan religions.

It was considered an unlucky omen if you heard an owl hooting at night. They were also used to frighten children and keep them inside at night, with tales of owls coming to carry you away if you didn’t stay indoors and remain quiet.

Owls were thought to be shape-shifting spirits by several Native American tribes. Owls, they thought, were witches and medicine men who had altered into the night in order to help them.

However, not everyone considered owls to be frightening. The Great Horned Owl was seen as a “humorless lawman” by the Hopi tribe, who employed a burrowing owl as one of their clan animals. Burrowing owls were considered protective spirits by the Dakota Hidatsa. The owl was seen as a harmful mischievous freeloader by some tribes, who exiled it to only emerge at night as a form of punishment for being sluggish or bothersome.


The features of an owl impressed the goddess of knowledge, Athena, so much that she banished her crow associate. Owl symbolism associated with wisdom and knowledge is thought to have originated from this. In reality, an owl was a magnificent defender of the Acropolis in Ancient Greece, according to certain writings.

Moreover, the presence of owls was seen as a protective influence when Greeks went to battle. Furthermore, before any major fight, owls provided them with motivation. Because of how the goddess Athena treasured her owl companion, the Greeks had a great deal of faith in owls and what they symbolized for them.


Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, much has been published about barn owls. The owl was frequently employed as a “bird of doom” by poets of the period, and when an ill person heard one scream outside their window while flying by, it was regarded as a prediction that they would die.

Owl eggs were utilized as medicine in the past. Eggs cooked into ash were utilized in spells to increase eyesight, while raw eggs were utilized to treat alcoholism. Children with whooping-cough were given owl broth in soup.

Owls have been credited with predicting the weather on occasion. An owl’s scream signaled impending rain or a drop in temperature. However, if the owl was heard calling in harsh weather, that indicated that the forecast would improve soon.



The owl has strong connotations with clarity and being watchful as a spiritual animal. The owl uses its sharp eyes to view everything while perched on a tree limb observing its surroundings.

Being able to stop and observe, both physically and intuitively, is one of the owl spirit animal’s skills that can aid you in your search for answers. Shadow work is connected to owls in the sense that it involves inward digging to see where you are stuck, unpacking those blocks, and working your way past them to discover a new perspective. The owl urges you to dig past the exterior of events and see into the core of the problem.

Owls have superb hearing as well. Their ears are somewhat slanted instead of perfectly horizontal like ours. As a result, they may detect the origin of even the tiniest noises.

You may request the owl spirit creature to assist you hear more clearly, really listen to those around you, and cut through the clutter of your own thoughts in order to receive the essential core message when summoning it.


Within, spirituality,clairvoyance, and intuition are all strongly associated with the owl totem. The owl totem can aid you to recognize and utilize your gut instincts when you’re confused. Trust in your intuition and “spiritual radar” when it comes to people and circumstances in your life.

An owl tattoo nowadays generally signifies something totally different than it did throughout the past. It does not suggest bad luck or impending death omens. Owl tattooing has a wide range of connotations, including:

  • The carefree and independent spirit of the United States
  • Independent Thinker
  • Following Intuition
  • It is possible to be spiritually open-minded.
  • Wisdom
  • The Hidden Secrets of Magic and Ancient Wisdom
  • A significant life transition is symbolized by this.
  • In the absence of light, a ray of shines through.


Owls have a long association with bad luck and omens. People have long been terrified of them and their significance, from their relationship with witches to the spirits of the dead. They had a poor reputation, as far back as the Bible and numerous Native American tails.

Yet, in some cultures, the opposite was true for many creatures. Owls were considered as indolent or reasonable creatures by some Native Americans. The owl was seen as wise and protective by other tribes, as well as the ancient Greeks.

Many superstitions may still persist in today’s culture, however owls are mostly regarded as scary creatures linked with Halloween. I believe that most individuals nowadays would associate them with a bright, wise spirit, appreciate their company, and be fascinated by their birds.


Owls, who live in the dark and bring misfortune with them, have a long tradition as birds to be feared. The historical significance of their intelligence and protective aspect may also be discovered.

They are big birds with a lot of mystery and fascination, whichever way you slice it. Owls caution us to dig deeper below the surface, seek truth via spiritual inquiry, and trust our own potent intuition by looking beneath the surface.

Reading up and gaining a better understanding isn’t going to hurt whether you’re getting an owl tattoo or want to figure out what happened in your dream.

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