What Does It Mean To See an Owl: Meanings Explained

Owls sometimes referred to as bird cats and forest penguins, are distinguished by their arcane features and stealthy hunting tactics. These enigmatic creatures are generally considered as a symbol of wisdom, knowledge, change, transformation, and spiritual awakening. However, in other cultures, they are regarded as an omen and harbinger of death. So, what does it mean if you’ve come across an owl? What spiritual message is it trying to convey?

With their regal, mysterious, and uncanny attributes, owls are often associated with witchcraft, sorcery, darkness, and supernatural encounters in literature, legends, and folklore. On the other hand, in many parts of the world, they are regarded as a spiritual guide who offers truth, wisdom, a higher perspective, and deeper insight into life’s secrets.

To determine the spiritual meaning and significance of your encounter with an owl, you’d have to tap into your intuition, evaluate your circumstance and figure out which one best suit your situation.

Symbolism of an Owl

forest owl

Wisdom

An owl typically represents wisdom and deep self-awareness. Just like how they can locate prey in total darkness, owl sightings could indicate that they will offer you insight and guidance through a challenging period in your life. Additionally, it might imply that you should broaden your horizons and become more interested in the world.

Death

In certain ancient civilizations, owls were believed to presage a looming misfortune. Throughout North America, many perceive them to be signs of imminent death. It could be the death of a close family member or a renowned individual.

According to some Native American folklore, owls are not merely a messenger of death but psychopomps who escort the dead to the afterlife. To date, owls are a source of anxiety for many North Americans, perhaps due to these legends, that’s been inculcated in their minds through the years.

Transition

Seeing an owl could also be a symbol of change. If you’ve recently gone through a divorce or broken up with someone, owl sightings serve as a reminder that you have nothing to fear because better things are coming your way, and the long period of suffering you’ve endured is coming to an end.

Female Energy

female energy

Due to its long, slender neck, which bears a resemblance to those of the fertility goddesses like Isis and Ishtar, the owl is generally associated with feminine energies.

The owl’s feminine side represents intuition and seeing clearly into everything lost to us in the fog of darkness and societal expectations. It also denotes the capacity to perceive what others can’t and the innate intuitive wisdom not acquired through life experience.

An encounter with an owl could be a sign to reconnect with your feminine side—the side that is bursting with vitality, creativity, empathy, receptivity, and curiosity.

Adventurous Spirit

Owls are natural explorers. Because of their intrepid nature, they are constantly exploring uncharted territories and new landscapes. When you see an owl, it could be a sign from the universe that you should get out of your comfort zone. Be bolder and more inquisitive. Don’t be afraid to take the leap, go on a spur-of-the-moment adventure and explore new horizons!

What Does it Mean When an Owl Crosses Your Path?

An owl crossing your path signifies that you’re undergoing a major life reconstruction or about to do so. The owl also represents the awakening of your intuitive consciousness. There might be dissonance between your intellect and intuition, and the owl is guiding you to listen to your emotion, trust your “gut feelings” and be patient.

What Does It Mean When an Owl Is Flying Above You?

flying owl

A flying owl represents inner wisdom and self-awareness through meditation and self-reflection. If you’re facing problems that seem insurmountable, it’s a hint that you should take a step back and reassess your situation from a bird’s eye view.

When an owl hunts, it is silent, calm, and systematic until they’re ready to seize their prey. This is a reminder to be honest with yourself and figure out what you want from life. Having clarity of your desired outcome will allow you to take deliberate and swift action towards achieving any objective you set your mind to.

What Does It Mean to See an Owl at Daylight?

Because owls are nocturnal predators, seeing them in broad daylight is a rare occurrence. Therefore, if you see one, consider yourself lucky. There are several interpretations for witnessing an owl in daylight, all of which are considered favorable.

For one, it could indicate that you are on your way to experiencing divine enlightenment. It might also mean that you’re about to receive news that will change your life.

For some, it might serve as a wake-up call to pause, ponder and alter your viewpoint accordingly. You’ve probably been seeing things from a narrow perspective, and taking your time to reflect on this will be your turning point.

What Does It Mean to See an Owl at Night?

night owl

The owl’s spiritual significance will vary based on your circumstances and how the owl behaved when you encountered it.

If you’re debating whether to apply for a new job or enroll in a class and an owl swoop down to catch a mouse in front of you, this might be a sign for you to grab the opportunity.

If, on the other hand, you walked outdoors to avoid confrontation and heard a passing owl hoot, it may be a signal that you should go back inside and deal with the problem.

What Does It Mean When an Owl Keeps Visiting You?

Recurring sightings of owls, be it on television, print media, your phone, or in its natural environment, might suggest that the owl is your animal spirit guide. Because owls are strong spirit animals, they will lead you through perilous times and will serve as a guide through the next chapter of your life.

What Does It Mean to Hear an Owl Hoot?

hooting owl

Hearing an owl hoot is generally deemed as a negative omen by most ancient civilizations and cultures. According to Greek and Roman superstition, this could also mean that a witch is approaching.

Owls frequently make noise to warn others or to draw boundaries. Owls are belligerent with their territory and will ward off intruders by hooting and screeching.

Hearing an owl hoot could mean that you need to create boundaries and protect your cognitive and emotional bandwidth. It could also be a sign to finally sever toxic relationships and environments to provide space for emotional healing and feel at peace.

What Does Different Colors of Owl Means?

white owl

White Owl Symbolism

White owls represent change, happiness, purity, good fortune, and pleasant surprises. Coming across a white owl could mean that a major shift is on the horizon. It could also indicate that you have a pure soul or that a guardian angel is watching over you.

Black Owl Symbolism

When you see a black owl, you might be undergoing a shadow work process. You might have some narrow point of view, limiting thought patterns and negative ideas that you’ve identified with throughout your life. It’s time to bring them into the open and flush them down the toilet.

Brown Owl Symbolism

Brown owls are usually linked with deep nurturing vitality, especially as it relates to your intuition and self-worth. This may be an excellent moment to devote some of your time to spiritual growth and mindfulness exercises.

In a dream, a brown owl could be an indication that you’re disoriented and not sure which path to take. You must take some time to re-evaluate your situation and figure out what you actually want from life in order to get back on track.

Grey Owl Symbolism

Grey owls traditionally signify mystery. Being in their presence means that you should start trusting that the universe is working for you, not against you, even if it sometimes doesn’t seem like it.

However, according to some dream analysts, seeing this owl in your dreams portend that you will soon be forced to deal with the repercussions of your actions.

Different Types of Owls and their Spiritual Messages

Barn Owl

barn owl

Because barn owls are known to be innovative, and out-of-the-box thinkers, encountering this creature also reflects your skill and ability to get things done with whatever resources you have at your disposal.

The sightings of this owl also serve as a reminder for you to remove yourself from all sources of distractions, reconnect with your higher self, and live your life to the fullest.

Burrowing Owl

A burrowing owl indicates that a person has a healthy sense of humor. This gives you the confidence to involve other people in rewarding activities while being a beacon of light, happiness, and wisdom to everyone around you.

Barred Owl

A barred owl’s appearance signifies that you need to reassess your proclivity to be overcompetitive. While it has its place, it might not be the best approach to the conflict you’re facing right now. Being compassionate goes a long way, and learning to work with others can be more efficient and fun.

Long-Eared Owl

long eared owl

The long-eared owl reflects your creative zeal. This owl also portends that your hard work will be paid off, and your ambitions will be realized. But first, to get what you want, you must be clear on what exactly it is that you want. This owl also reminds you to detoxify your life from people holding you back and might not have your best interest at heart.

Screech Owl

An encounter with this owl conveys that you should be more accountable and responsible for the choices you make. It also reminds you to do things because you genuinely want to, not because of social pressure and expectations.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the amount of workload you have, this owl advises you to take a step back and break down your tasks into small, manageable pieces, and remain focused with each step.

The Short-Eared Owl

This owl serves as a reminder to build your foundations and be well-prepared in everything you do. It’s important to be mindful of every step you take and to avoid cutting corners to efficiently get things done without going back and forth.

Snowy Owl

snowy owl

The sighting of a snowy owl exemplifies spiritual development and embracing a higher purpose. This process will require you to let go of your harmful habits, negative relationships, and toxic environment. This owl also encourages you to be more innovative and devise a strategic plan to liberate yourself from your current situation.

Great-Horned Owl

Encountering a great horned owl signifies that you should take decisive action towards your goal with tenacity and ease. You may be on a rat race but aren’t sure if the path you’re taking is right for you. This owl is a reminder for you to get to know yourself and set clear intentions.

Moreover, this owl is also telling you that you must establish clear boundaries with others. Although it’s essential to hold space for people’s humanity, you should still look after yourself, especially when the people around you take your kindness for granted and invade your personal space.

Different Meanings Across Different Cultures

Egyptian

The Egyptians have had a long history with the owl, whose picture occurs in inscriptions dating back to the First Dynasty. Despite being a symbol of death and darkness, owls are nevertheless revered for these “dark” qualities.

According to Egyptian lore, the owl was considered the guardian of the underworld and an emblem for spirits seeking revenge. Additionally, they were seen as guardians of truth and divine wisdom, ensuring that this information remained secure from those considered unworthy of accessing it.

Ancient Greek Mythology

big eyes owl

Athenians often associate the owl with visual depictions of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and guardian of the Acropolis.  According to Ancient Greek mythology, when Athena saw the creature for the first time, she was captivated by its big eyes and serious demeanor and quickly picked it as her favorite bird and eventually became an icon of hers.

The Athenians also created the drachma, a splendid coin coveted throughout Greece. The coin was designed with the goddess’s face was on one side and the sacred owl on the other. Like how a dollar was referred to as a buck, the owl became a slang name for drachma.

Ancient Romans

In ancient Rome, owls were considered a bad omen and an augur of imminent death and calamities. As soon as owls were seen flying into the sacred areas of the city, a ritual wash-down of the sacred temples was performed. Those who come across an owl were also required to undergo a ceremonial cleansing.

Celtics

In Celtic legend, owls are depicted as a symbol of wisdom, honor, fertility, and truth. They are also regarded as messengers between our world and the underworld. Moreover, they are also thought to be ferocious defenders of honor and truth and will not tolerate any form of deception.

Welsh

In Ancient Welsh mythology, owls are considered symbols of fertility. It was believed that if a pregnant lady heard an owl hoot, she would have a smooth labor and birth experience.

Chinese

In China, owls are a prominent yang sign, representing protective, wise, and intuitive energy. They are believed to bring prosperity and good fortune. In Chinese feng shui, the owl emblem is deemed to enhance your retention and intuitive perception. When owl symbols are placed in entrances or windows, it is believed that they will act as a deterrent to toxic energy and low vibrational frequencies.

Native American

While various Native American tribes hold differing views regarding owls that range from positive, neutral, and negative connotations, they are generally regarded as emissaries from the spirit realm.

To the Ojibwe, owls are considered to be augurs of evil and death. For the Hopi people, owls are a symbol of danger and evil sorcery. In Seminole and Apache tribes, owls symbolize retribution.

Other tribal groups associate the owl’s eyes with ghost nails and lost souls. They interpreted it as a warning or message from their forefathers to avoid breaching the tribal rules.

Additionally, scary owl legends about owls attacking people at night and stealing their souls are told to induce terror in younglings, so they don’t venture out at night.

Final Thoughts

Owls have gotten a bad rap throughout history because their nocturnal nature and hunting style is usually tied with darkness, death, and bad luck. These days they are associated with wisdom, intuition, transition, shadow work, and spiritual evolution. If you’re trying to decipher what your recent encounter with an owl means, you should evaluate it according to the context of your situation. You are the only person who knows yourself best, so only you can decide what spiritual meaning and message you get from that encounter.

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