I’ve loved the wise and beautiful owl for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been both in admiration of and drawn to this magical bird, in all its forms (although the barn owl is my absolute favourite).
I call on the owl when I need wisdom and have tattoos of this wonderful bird to represent its place in my spiritual team as a powerful totem.
Many people around the world are equally fascinated by owls and find the thought of an owl incredibly calming and the sound of it, even more so – I know that’s true for me. But there are others who find an owl flying through the night sky, or the sound of its hoot, to be quite haunting.
So what does an owl symbolise? Is it a good or a bad omen? Looks like more into the spiritual meaning of owls in this post:
What Is The Symbolism Of An Owl?
Unsurprisingly, the owl is a symbol of thoughtfulness and intelligence. Owls are considered to be highly insightful and intelligent – they are able to see things others miss. This is evidenced by their appearance and their large, all-knowing eyes and sharp sight and night vision.
In modern times, individuals commonly also associate the owl with symbolic references to meditation and self-inquiry. However, this ancient symbol has also been used to represent an individual’s inclination toward service and selflessness — qualities important in life.
The owl is a wise and knowing creature of spiritual significance, often bearing messages from the greater spiritual planes, making it an excellent spirit guide.
What Is The Spiritual Meaning Of An Owl?
As mentioned above, the owl exudes intelligence, and so it’s no surprise that the spiritual meaning of an owl is also tied to wisdom and smarts.
Fables and stories of old, from all sorts of countries and cultures, always depict the wise old owl – it’s an image we’re also well-versed in as part of modern culture. The owl represents intelligence in the traditional sense of the word, but it also represents wisdom and knowing – an ability to understand situations from a wider point of view – seeing the whole picture – as well as the ability to understand the thoughts and motivations of others.
As well as being known for their wisdom and intelligence, owls are also thought to have an impeccable memory, although perhaps not as strong as the memory of the crow.
Owls are said to be able to remember everything that happens around them, as well as the past, present and future. This makes them an invaluable asset to have on your spiritual team, and to call upon these qualities, especially for those working as psychic mediums.
The spiritual meaning behind an owl is connected with the nature and awe inspiring qualities of this creature. It’s not just an ordinary bird that has a spiritual meaning, it’s an ancient symbol representing an observer of unseen things, a watcher of magic and divine powers. Through their appearance and behaviour, even non-believers can sense something of the fantastical from this wonderful creature.
Owl Hooting At Night: Spiritual Meaning
The spiritual meaning of an owl hooting at night has different interpretations.
On the one hand, the spooky, haunting sound of an owl hooting at night is considered a bad omen. This concept dates back to the Roman times where owls were viewed as harbingers of death. An owl was believed to foretell the death of well-known Romans Agrippa, Commodus Aurelius, Augustus and Julius Caesar!
Some tribes shared a similar view – believing an owl to be a symbol of death, just like the robin. The Hopi Tribe believed the Burrowing Owl – which they called ‘ko’ko’ (meaning ‘watched of the dark’) to be the god of death.
However, other cultures and belief systems disagree and hold the owl as a good omen.
The Greeks, for example, interpreted seeing an owl, or hearing it hoot at night as a positive sign as it was associated with Athena – Goddess of Knowledge. The owl was viewed as encouraging symbol of protection and victory for troops.
The Spiritual Symbolism of Different Owls
Different types of owls hold different symbolism and spiritual meaning. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular owls and what they mean:
Barn Owl Symbolism
I couldn’t create a guide to the spiritual meaning of owls without talking about my absolute favourite of these winged beauties – the barn owl.
Barn owls are keen night-time hunters with precise hunting abilities. This can convey a number of meanings:
- Focus: Seeing a barn owl can be a sign that you need to focus more in life. Keep your eyes on your goals.
- Awareness: If you’re identifying with the barn owl, this could be a message from spirit to make you more aware of your surroundings and what’s going on around you.
- Wisdom: The barn owl may appear to encourage you to use your wisdom, intuition and intelligence – either to achieve your goals or to fully understand a situation.
- Positive guidance: The barn owl may appear if you are in a dark place in your life. It is a beacon of positive white light against a black sky – call on its resilience and allow it to lead you out of the darkness.
- Silence: Sometimes, just like the barn owl, it’s a good idea to be silent and to just listen to what is being said.
Spiritual Meaning of a Snowy Owl
The snowy owl often features in magical stories and mysteries (think Hedwig from Harry Potter) and as such, this bird holds a lot of magical symbolism. The white plumage of the snowy owl represents light, positivity, and hope so, like the barn owl, the white owl is a good spirit animal to call upon if you’re going through a difficult time.
Other meanings associated with the snowy owl include:
- Resilience: The snowy owl is native to arctic regions. They can survive and thrive in some of the harshest climes on our planet. Call upon the snowy owl if you need help to persevere through a trying situation.
- Adaptability: This bird, due to where it lives, has to be adaptable. It you’re resonating with the snowy owl, you may need to also be more adaptable.
Great Grey Owl Spiritual Meaning
The great grey owl is a pensive and wise-looking bird and, as such, its symbolism largely revolves around this. But the meaning of the great grey owl can also be interpreted as:
- Light and Dark: The colour of this birds plumage symbolises the importance of accepting both the light and the dark, the positive and the negative. We can’t have one without the other.
- Instincts: As a great hunter with keen vision, the great grey owl teaches us to use our skills and to trust our instincts.
Great Horned Owl Symbolism
The great horned owl exudes wisdom and intelligence, but there’s also an air of warning in its gaze. Great horned owl symbolism can be summarised as:
- Be fearless: The great horned owl is a fearless predator; if it’s appearing to you, it’s a sign that it’s time to be fearless in your endeavours.
- Strength: This is a strong bird, as well as a fearless one. Call upon the great horned owl to embrace your own inner strength or when you require a physical boost.
- Connection with spirit: The ‘horns’ sit on the crown chakra and point upwards – some view this feature of the horned owl as a connection to the spirit realm. Call upon the great horned owl if you are working with your third eye or crown chakras to strengthen your connection to spirit.
Owl Dream Meaning
To dream of an owl is a call from the spirit realm to utilize one of this bird’s many skills.
The most obvious interpretation is that you need to practice wisdom – be wise in your choices in your waking life, and be aware of what is going on around you. If you work with spirit, it can be a sign from your ancestors that you carry their wisdom within you – lean on their support and use this wisdom in your own work.
An owl guide in your dream could be telling you to see things more clearly. Is there someone trying to deceive you?
To dream of a snowy owl is an indication that you need to be more adaptable. Practice flexibility in your waking life to achieve your goals or cooperate with someone you are struggling with.
If you dream about an owl hunting, this may be a sign that you need to hone in on your own goals and what you want to achieve. Be fearless in working towards your desires.
If you see a snowy owl or a barn owl flying against a dark night sky when you sleep, this is a sign that it is time to move away from the darkness, and into the light. The owl is there to guide you.
The owl has long since been associated with magic and mystery, and this is true for many cultures and traditions. The owl is a powerful spirit animal and guide, and can be called upon when you need to be wise. But the owl is about much more than its wisdom and, hopefully, after reading this post, you have a clear understanding of the symbolism associated with owls.