What Do Owls Symbolize

Many people wonder, “What do owls symbolize?” Most of them assume that owls are a sign of death or something negative. Some people even panic when they’re in the presence of an owl because they expect something bad to happen to them. Owls are often seen as a bad omen. However, this isn’t historically true. In many different cultures, the answer to “what do owls symbolize” is more good than bad. Whether you often see owls where you live or you simply have an old owl lamp that gives you the creeps, get to know a bit about owl symbolism before you judge these animals too quickly.

Common Meanings Of Owl Images

Some of the most common symbolic owl meanings include:

  • Brilliance, intelligence, and wisdom
  • Perspective
  • Wit
  • Intuition
  • Independence
  • Protection
  • Power and mystery

Specific Meanings of Owl Images In Different Cultures

  • People in ancient Athens had owl images on their coins. The Greeks thought of owls as symbolizing Athene, the Goddess of Knowledge and Foresight.
  • Many Native American tribes people thought that owls were there to protect them. Many Native Americans wore owl feathers to keep evil spirits away.
  • During Europe’s Middle Ages, owls symbolized witches. This is largely due to the fact that owls are nocturnal creatures and the night was associated with witches.
  • In ancient Rome, owls were thought to be evil. However, if a person nailed a dead owl to their door, they believed that it would ward off the evil havoc it once created.

Owls and Death

What do owls symbolize in terms of death? A common misconception is that owls mean that death is around the corner. However, while owls have been associated with death in some culture, it’s not necessarily in a negative way. However, In China, India, and Egypt, owls are thought of as the ones who guard the afterlife. Owls aren’t feared but instead honored for being guardians to the next life.

Owls in Folklore

As to what do owls symbolize in the 19th century, poets William Wordworth and Robert Blair called the Bam Owl the “Bird of Doom.” People in England thought the Bam Owl to predict weather. For example, if the owl screeched, that meant that a storm was on the horizon. A traditional English tale is that if you walk in a circle around an owl that’s up in a tree, it would twist its neck to look at you and end up killing itself. A 12th century preacher told the story that owls only come out at night because they are punished by other animals for stealing a rose.