Owl Tattoo Meaning
Are you a shadow-walker? What I mean is, do you appreciate the magic of the night...the mystery of darkness...the deep secrets cloaked in shadow? If so, an owl tattoo might be a great way to express your appreciation for the shadow side of life.
Owls are sentinels of the night, and are infinitely comfortable with the realm of unknown. If you dig that, then an owl tattoo might be a way to symbolize your comfort with mysteries lurking in the darkness.
The owl is an intensely sensitive creature. Most owls cannot bear exposure to light. It's their eyes that cannot take in full sunlight to capacity. But that's okay, because owl eyes are expertly equipped to handle the darkest of night.
This is symbolic on many levels.
Have you endured a 'dark night of the soul'? A time of life in which it appeared all hope is utterly exhausted? A time of despair, when it felt like it seemed no light would ever grace you again? I think we've all experienced a dark night of the soul to one extent or another.
The owl is a symbol of hope in those murky, frightening times. No matter what blackness surrounds her, the owl sees her way through the gloom. The owl has superior vision that lifts the veil of shadow. This is a powerful concept. The owl is a stalwart reminder that even without the presence of light (hope), we can expand our vision - open our view - and still see the contours of promise in our lives. An owl tattoo might be the perfect testimony to the fact, that indeed, light IS present - even in the darkest moments. Call upon owl energy as a constant assurance that shadow cannot keep you in fear as long as you adjust your view and wisdom to see beyond.
On the subject of wisdom, owl tattoo meaning is symbolically connected to knowledge. There are several historical links to the owl and wisdom. Athene, the Greek goddess of wisdom (Minerva in Roman mythology) claims the owl as one of her symbolic totems. The Greeks observed the owl as a keen strategist in nocturnal hunting and maneuvering. It's skill at providing for itself - even under dim conditions is a metaphor. This ability says something like: "I see no restriction - only opportunity." If you find that motto inspiring - an owl tattoo might bring that affirmation home on a deep level for you.
What about that legend that holds the owl as a symbol of death? If you're worried about that kind of message being tattooed on your body - don't let it hold you back if you're devoted to the owl. Why? Because this connection between owl and death is kind of a misnomer. It's not that the owl is exclusively a sign of death...it's more accurate to say the owl is a guardian of the sacred realm of afterlife. To wit, many tales tell of the owl ferrying souls to the otherworld (afterlife). This theme of soul-carrying to the other side of life crops up in Incan, Egyptian, Algonquin and Welsh mythology. Depending upon your interpretation of these and other legends, the owl can be seen as a merciful conduit or path-finder through the passage of death. Quite simply, the owl inherited its association with death because of its ability to see clearly through night, which is often considered a symbol of death.
The owl is also a symbol of magic. I'm not talking card tricks and pulling rabbits out of hats. I'm talking about a communication with incalculably powerful cosmic forces for the purpose of shifting form and reality. Why is the owl a symbolic spokesperson for big magic? It has to do with that theme of darkness again. Think on it. Some of the greatest mysteries of the Universe are nestled in a black blanket of mystery. Consider dark matter, and the vast darkness of the cosmos. It takes vision to tap into that dark void of pure potential. It takes faith to connect meaning in order to weave magic. The owl, on a symbolic level, is a master at this. Adopting the metaphorical essence of the owl encourages connection with the great unknown, and facilitates clarity.
The moon is often featured as a magical, mystical symbol in many philosophies. Not coincidentally, the owl is affiliated with the moon. Here again, this alliance comes from the owl's nocturnal nature. The moon (and the owl by association) is symbolic of intuition, mystery, magic, dreams and the cycles of time. Countless cultures have honored the moon for serving as a bright beacon piercing the dark of night. The owl serves the same symbolic purpose.
To be sure, owl tattoo meaning is heavy. Really heavy. As a powerful nocturnal raptor, the owl is no light-hearted commitment. Owl asks for devotion, wisdom and clarity of soul. Keep this in mind before you embark on setting your owl tattoo as a permanent marker.
Also keep in mind the owl is a guardian of the sacred. She protects the secret forces of life and afterlife. If you possess the awareness of that gravity, then an owl tattoo might be a worthy expression of the respect these deep concepts deserve.
In the owl-tradition of wisdom, don't let this page be the end of your journey in gaining symbolic knowledge about this amazing raptor. I've written more about the owl for your continued research. Check out my article on Owl Meaning and Symbolism here. And don't miss more owl articles listed at the end of this page.
Owl blessings and happy tattooing,
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!