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Owl Symbolism: 6 Symbolic Meanings From Differing Beliefs

Last Updated on: April 10, 2024

Owls are exceptional creatures that have been deeply involved in spiritualism and mythology over the years. They’re skillful hunters who are active at night, which is why they’re referred to as the kings of the night. 


It’s no surprise that they are part of several cultural heritage and folklore.

Do you know what an owl symbolizes? Well, owl meaning includes observation, listening, independent thinking, supernatural power, intuition, and wisdom.

Owl Symbolism in Different Religions and Cultures

As a spirit animal, an owl exists for a certain reason, but it’s not here for human beings, but they can teach us a lot and have been symbolic to us for centuries. For thousands of years, numerous cultures all over the globe have tied this creature to the spirit world.

And while several cultures and traditions feared owls for their spiritual powers, they have also been celebrated and praised by some folks for their spiritual sight. Therefore, knowing how this creature is used and interpreted in different cultures will give you a deeper understanding of the owl’s complexity and mysterious nature.

1. Native American Owl Symbolism

Native American Owl Symbolism
Native American Owl Symbolism

Whether feared or positive, owls play a crucial role in the American Indian culture by helping foretell spiritual events. The exact stories and meaning behind owl sightings varied with the tribe, but owl legends showed stories involving rebirth, transformation, and death in most cases.

Sightings of owls like the snowy owl, white owl, and the great-horned owl are usually associated with shapeshifters, spiritual messages, and supernatural signs.

They represent the mysteries of the spiritual realm that are hidden behind the darkness. Therefore, they played a key role in their cultures, especially for the young ones who they served as teachers.

The tales of owls hunting human beings and stealing their souls at night were used to teach kids the dangers of walking at night. In fact, spinning tales to scare kids to teach them numerous crucial life lessons was quite common among several American Indian tribes.

2. Owl Meaning in Christianity 

Owl Meaning in Christianity 
Owl Meaning in Christianity 

The meaning of owl sighting in Christianity and the bible is of sacred importance. In fact, the pictorial, holy, iconic, and symbolic representation of owls in Christianity dates back to early times when ordinary men were not able to write and read.

In Christianity, it symbolizes what’s hidden by the darkness, which is in reference to the mystery behind the unknown future and prophetic visions.

In fact, most folks believe that seeing owls is a bad omen and a warning that something bad is about to happen. But some mythical Christians associate this creature with some deeper wisdom that we can learn from the darkness.

When Christians have visions or dreams of owls, they usually examine how the challenges in their lives are helping to strengthen their spiritual relationship and faith.

3. Chinese Symbolism of the Owl

Chinese Symbolism of the Owl
Chinese Symbolism of the Owl

An owl is a powerful symbol of intuitive energy, wisdom, protection, and a Yang in China. In fact, the Yang’s expansive energy is considered an omen for increased abundance and good luck; plus, it can help repel negative energy from your house.

In Feng Shui, it symbolizes an increase in intuitive sight and knowledge, but it can be overwhelming when used in a relaxing place like yoga or meditation places.

It can also be more effective in places like the workplace, where you need increased mental activity.

The Chinese have placed it at the entrance of their homes to help deflect negative energies and near kids’ playing regions to make them feel secure and safe. Owls can be very effective if you live in a place with huge traffic as they can help deflect harmful energies that can damage your chi from entering your house.

4. Celtic Owl Symbolism

Celtic Owl Symbolism
Celtic Owl Symbolism

The Celtic owl tradition and symbolism portray this bird as a guardian of honor and a warrior. In fact, they believe that it’s the wisdom of the owl that gives it the knowledge of a path to the underworld.

They believed that it represents a fierce defender of the truth and honor, which means that they can’t tolerate deception.

And being nocturnal creatures, they are the best messengers that can deliver messages all-night and all-day between our world and the underworld, which is why they believed that they knew their way to the underworld.

An owl is a symbol of the fertility goddess of the ancient Celtic. This is the main reason why they branded it on their clothing and various household items.

5. Ancient Egyptian Owl Symbolism

Ancient Egyptian Owl Symbolism
Ancient Egyptian Owl Symbolism

The ancient Egyptians had many symbols. One of the most popular symbols in history is the hieroglyph owl symbol, which is usually recognized as the letter “M” by most historians.

While they were associated with darkness and death, they were sometimes celebrated for their dark qualities.

In fact, all the creatures with supernatural ties to the mystery of the afterlife were worshiped and feared in hopes of getting an insight into the underworld. These birds were considered guardians of the supernatural wisdom and truth by folks who weren’t worthy of understanding them.

6. Other Cultures 

Mayan Owl Symbolism
Mayan Owl Symbolism

Like the Mayans, who called the screech owl a moan bird, other cultures believed that it represented death. Some cultures which have witches and sorcerers believe in owl medicine. They believe that if an owl is part of your medicine, then you can be drawn to some magical practices and explore some of the dark arts. 

What Does an Owl Symbolize?

Owls are actually rare creatures to sight, and being nocturnal, they tend to blend with their surroundings; therefore, if you see this bird, then you should consider yourself very lucky. In fact, an encounter with an owl or being visited by one brings up lots of information about your connection to your intuition and inner knowledge. 

After all, they’re linked to the moon’s energy and tap into your intuitive knowledge.

Therefore, it’s ideal to ask your higher angel or guides for the message being sent when you see this bird. You can meditate on it and ask for the answer to be sent to you; after all, an owl represents a new revelation about the inner you, and exposing something that was hidden in your subconscious can help you grow as an individual.

You may be going through a rough patch or healing from a trauma that happened to you in the past. An owl sight can represent a time for you to learn the truth about your purpose in life and who you are as a person.

What Does It Mean When You See an Owl Every Time?

If you see owls every time, then it means that an owl is your spirit or power animal guiding you in everything you do. The owl may appear in conversations with folks around you, in news stories, videos, and images. When you notice this, then it means that this creature has been intertwined in your spiritual life via synchronicities and signs.

What Does It Mean When You Keep Hearing an Owl Hooting?

In some of the most ancient traditions and cultures, hearing an owl hoot was considered a bad omen, and it was believed to symbolize darkness or evil nearby. But just because we know of its symbolism from the past, does it mean that we should be scared of hearing this creature hoot at night? And what do you think hooting at night means?

Generally, these birds hoot for a wide range of reasons, but in most cases, it does that to give warnings and set boundaries. After all, they’re territorial creatures that can hoot when claiming territory and warding off intruders. They also start hooting when they notice a predator nearby and want to warn them off.

But spiritually, hearing owls hoot can be a sign that you need to finally set your energetic boundaries.

These birds have protective energies, and they could be telling you that there are some harmful folks in your life, and this may include bad relationships and toxic individuals. Therefore, it may be informing you that it’s time to start healing and get rid of the toxic folks in your life or leave a bad relationship.

This is particularly true when you feel energetically depleted or have all of a sudden become unhappy in your current relationship.

If you hear it hooting in odd places like your bedroom window or on different occasions, then it could be a call for your attention. It might be informing you that it’s time to activate your hidden energies and explore the mysteries in your life. After all, your intuition may be activated, and your psychic energies start to awaken while you’re asleep.

Is Seeing Owls Bad or Good Luck?

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Despite being magnificent creatures, these birds have been associated with negative things over the years, including darkness, death, and even bad luck. So is this just a superstition, or do they represent bad luck?

Generally, they are considered bad luck because they’re nocturnal and associated with hidden mysteries and darkness. But just because you don’t understand why it operates at night, it doesn’t mean that you should associate it with bad luck. Unfortunately, most of us fear what we don’t understand, which is why we associate seeing an owl with bad luck.

However, the change is there to help you experience growth, spiritual evolution, and transformation in life, which is not necessarily a bad thing. So if you love changes, then with time, you will notice that every challenge introduces an era of new discoveries and new beginnings.

Owls help us unfold a truth about ourselves that we may have ignored for a very long time. The truth may be challenging and, in some cases, hard, but it does open us up to deeper wisdom of our nature and higher reality.

Does Seeing a Dead Owl Mean Death?


Owls are associated with death since they are nocturnal and their usual visits to the graveyard; in fact, if you have ever found owl’s pellets, then chances are that you have found pieces of bones of their prey, which shows that it’s a vicious killer.

Unfortunately, there are lots of tales and folklore of this spirit animal that represents hunting at night, death, and destruction. Do they truly represent death? While it does represent death, spiritual death doesn’t necessarily symbolize the loss of life. Instead, it means the end of something in your life.

Death represents renewal, rebirth, transformation, and change in our lives. Since it’s associated with intuition, inner knowledge, and wisdom, seeing an owl means the end of a certain part of your ego and the introduction to a higher and better version of you.

Finding a dead owl connotes the same meaning, too, which is a huge change coming your way soon.

What Does It Mean When an Owl Crosses Your Path?

An owl passing across your path shows that you’re experiencing a change in your life and awakening to some intuitive awareness. It is also a means of getting your attention and forcing you to stop and examine what is happening. When an owl flies across your path, then it shows you that it’s time to listen to your gut feeling and trust your decision.

Your intuition and logic may be fighting currently, and this sign shows that you should trust your feelings.

What Does Having an Owl Fly Above You Mean?

When this bird flies above you, then it means that it’s time to look at things from a different perspective and with higher insight and wisdom. At the moment, you may be too close to what’s happening and need to look at things from a bird’s eye view, which is a symbol of psychic insight, intuition, and wisdom.

Generally, owls are known for flying when looking for prey. They’re methodical and silent, but when ready, they’ll take decisive and swift action.

When you see an owl flying over you, then it is a sign that you need to create self-awareness and inner wisdom by meditating and listening to your spirit animal.

An Owl Power Animal, Owl Spirit Animal, and Animal Spirit Guide

In Shamanic symbolism, an owl represents death, wisdom, revelation, change, and intuition. In fact, according to Shamanism, death is considered one of the highest spiritual states anyone can attain, and it symbolizes the death of your ego as you experience spiritual ascension.

If your power animal is an owl, then you’re likely called into a role that will change and transform the lives of other people. In fact, folks are drawn to a person with an owl spirit animal and may ask them for advice or help. So if you have an owl spirit animal, then you might have to develop a thick skin and set boundaries to be able to deal with other people’s negativity.

Since the owl’s energy brings about deep subconscious transformation, most folks may feel uneasy around you and even deflect some of the issues to you.

Therefore, if you feel like you believe in the owl spirit animal, then you’ll be spiritually activated by the owl energy. If you see a barn owl frequently in your life, then it means that an owl is your animal spirit guide or animal spirit. This wise creature will be sent to you in a period of your life when you’re developing your psychic gift and tuning your internal wisdom.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Owl Totem?

An owl totem is an exceptional symbol that stands for all the protective attributes of this beautiful creature. Therefore it serves as a unique symbol for manifesting intuitive insights and more wisdom and protection in your life.

What Does It Mean When You See a White Owl?

In some of the world’s cultures, the white owls are considered symbols of knowledge, virtue, and wisdom. But the meaning will vary with the culture; for example, in the Roman Empire, the white owl was considered sacred since it flew at night and consumed the souls of men.

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What Does a Barn Owl Symbolize?

In some cultures, including the Native American tribes, this owl is considered a symbol of rebirth, transformation, and death that’s heavily associated with mythical signs, spiritual foretelling, and the future.


An owl sighting may have been considered a bad omen by most of the world’s communities, but there are some cultures that worship and listen to what the owl is telling them. After all, it does symbolize the death of certain parts of our lives and the rebirth of new traits that can improve our lives. 

So the next time an owl appears, you shouldn’t be in a hurry to chase it away; instead, you should consider its meaning and try and find out what knowledge it’s trying to teach you about yourself.

1 thought on “Owl Symbolism: 6 Symbolic Meanings From Differing Beliefs”

  1. Wow, I never realized how many diverse meanings the owl carries across different cultures – this article was really eye-opening!


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