Animal Symbolism:
Meaning of the Owl

Owl Symbolism. Owl picture by Avia Venefica


Owl Meanings in the Realms of Animal Symbolism

The owl is sacred to the Greek goddess of learning, Athena and is even depicted on some Greco-Roman currency as a symbol of status, intelligence and of course, wealth.

In ancient Egyptian, Celtic, and Hindu cultures the symbolic meaning of owl revolved around guardianship of the underworlds, and a protection of the dead.

In this light the owl was ruler of the night and seer of souls. A misunderstanding of this necessary relationship gave the owl some negative associations with death.

It should be clear that the owl was honored as the keeper of spirits who had passed from one plane to another. Often myth indicates the owl accompanying a spirit to the underworld - winging it's newly freed soul from the physical world into the realm of spirit.

Being aware of the owl's symbolic meanings is a good way to connect with this fascinating creatures, and also become more in-tune with the owl's wisdom.

A Quick-List of Symbolic Owl Meanings:

  • Wisdom
  • Mystery
  • Transition
  • Messages
  • Intelligence
  • Mysticism
  • Protection
  • Secrets

Native Americans associated the meaning of owl with wisdom, foresight, and keeper of sacred knowledge. This may largely be due to the fact that the owl is a great foreteller of weather conditions. Also its ability to see at night is legend among the Native Americans, and this attribute would be invoked during ceremonies when an oracle of secret knowledge was required.

Similarly, West African and Aboriginal Australian cultures viewed the owl as a messenger of secrets, kin to sorcerers, as well as companions to seers, mystics and medicine people.

During medieval times in western and central Europe it was fabled that owls were actually priestesses (witches) and wizards in disguise. To this day the owl is considered a witch's familiar (an animal soul-spirit linked to a spiritual person via a unique, communicative bond).

The owl is a creature of the night. It's important to note the symbolism of nocturnal creatures because night-time proclivities have specific philosophical meanings. Combine the following nocturnal symbolic meanings with that of the owl for a broader interpretation.

Nocturnal Animal Symbolism Includes:

  • Dreams
  • Shadows
  • Otherworldliness
  • Secret knowledge
  • Psychic awareness

When we connect with the owl in its own environment, and according to its way of life, it helps in deciphering the messages the owl has for us. Why? Because owls and all creatures ofthe animal realm are pure energy, and they come from a place of wholeness. As such, they communicate in a unified voice. They speak in the language of the trees, the wind, the moon, the sky, etc. Learning the owl's habitat is a great way to learn her language, and more clearly understand her voice when she chortles in our spiritual ears.

Check out this great home video taken by Phostenix. It's a horned owl stopping for a sip.

I hope you have enjoyed this these thoughts on symbolic owl meaning. Continue your exploration of other animal symbolism by clicking through the articles listed at the end of this page, or return to

Air Animal Totems List here.

Books on Animal Symbolism Recommended by Avia



An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings

Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.

This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."

Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)

As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!



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