9 Most Common Owl Superstitions: Origin & Meaning

Despite owls being delicate and magnificent animals, they are often connected with both a variety of bad and good omens. 

Another important thing to add is that owl is a sacred spirit animal in many cultures and civilizations. 

Let’s review some of the most common superstitions and myths connected to owls, as well as discuss their hidden meanings.

Dreaming an Owl Indicates Someone’s Death

Owls are commonly associated with death and dying due to their quiet demeanor and predatory habit. 

Dreaming about an owl or hearing an owl’s cry may indicate impending death. 

An owl perched on a roof is generally thought to predict the death of someone who lives there, and owls are said to be able to see ghosts, therefore any home or barn where an owl dwells is likely to be haunted. 

Burrowing owls are revered as the gods of the dead and guards of the underworld in Native American Hopi tradition.

Owls are a symbol of death in many cultures, therefore seeing one in a dream foretold death for the Apaches

Psychologists suggest we consider the emotions we experienced when dreaming about an owl. Fear and anxiety might force you to confront a problem that you might avoid when you are awake. 

This might also be the meaning of hearing an owl hoot in your dreams: they are attempting to awaken your consciousness. 

In other words, it’s a wake-up call to pay closer attention to certain events in your life and not brush things under the rug.

Feeling emotional in an owl dream might also be a sign that you need to utilize your mind more to cope with a problem and discover solutions rather than responding emotionally.

Owls in Witchcraft

People were afraid of owls as early as the Middle Ages. 

They connected owls with witches and believed that any spot where an owl lived was plagued by wicked spirits.

The link between owls and witchcraft might simply be owing to the bird’s nocturnal habit.

However, the bird’s intellect and ability to move and see in the dark also contribute to the owl’s reputation as a witch.

Owls Represent Evil 

Even if owls aren’t explicitly related to death, they are frequently seen as bad omens. 

Owls are considered dirty and unpleasant in many cultures, and these birds are commonly connected with witch doctors or shamans. 

They have also been considered spies, and fastening an owl to a door is said to defend the home or barn from lightning or to keep the bird’s bad soul at bay. 

Different cultures think owls may kidnap children, and seeing an owl circling during the day is considered a bad omen.

Barn Owls Indicate Presence of Evil Spirits

The barn owl was the personification of evil in England.

This owl was connected with doom and damnation, as recounted in Robert Blair and William Wordsworth’s poems.

Among the prevalent superstitions about barn owls was that if one shrieked near a sick person’s house, the person would die.

Others interpreted the barn owl’s shriek to indicate impending weather, with a loud screech indicating a cold front or storm.

Because of their strong suspicions about owls and evil spirits, the English established a cultural tradition of attaching an owl to their barn door to fend off lightning strikes and evil spirits.

Owl Parts Bring Good Luck

Many superstitions surround the use of owl parts for certain purposes. 

Eating an owl’s eyes is said to improve eyesight or allow a person to see in the dark, while owl broth or meat is thought to heal convulsions, relieve rheumatism, promote knowledge, or even function as a powerful aphrodisiac. 

In some circumstances, simply owning owl feathers or talons is said to have the same effect.

Feminine Power in Owls

Many cultures associate owls with women, even believing that owls are the manifestation of women’s spirits or that women may transform into owls. 

The small owl (Athene noctua) was thought to be Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. 

If the link with women is favorable, the birds may be considered sacred; nonetheless, in many cultures, the owl is perceived as a representation of a vengeful woman or a woman’s fury.

Owls Mark Good Harvest

When a swarm of owls gathers over farmland, it is said to be harvest season. 

This is something we can apply to the spiritual sphere.

When you see an owl, it is a sign of impending harvest. 

In the spiritual sense of words, this indicates that your efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

As a result, the presence of an owl should be interpreted positively. 

Take it as a sign that the universe appreciates your efforts and has decided to bless your efforts with production.

If you’ve been putting in a lot of effort into your business, the owl is a sign that things will work out.

White Owl’s Look Is a Good Omen

When a white owl looks at you, the spiritual realm respects the white owl for its purity and innocence. 

This is why it is a monster that enters people’s life when they are in despair.

When things are going wrong in your life, the white owl will appear to restore order.

Furthermore, an owl’s gaze provides clarity to perplexity. 

The owl’s white hue also indicates optimism. 

The white owl’s presence also helps to restore equilibrium to your chakra.

Owl Myths & Superstitions in History

  • Native Americans adored the owl, as they did nature and all living things. 

Some Native American tribes, like other civilizations, thought that an owl’s screech was a portent of death. 

They also connected owls with omens, midnight, and nightly spirits.

A number of tribes appeared to be particularly afraid of the horned owl because the feathers on the sides of their heads reminded them of horns. 

Some tribes believed the owl was a shapeshifter rather than a real bird.

Many cultures believed that medicine men could transform into animals, most notably owls. 

  • The medicine man would utilize owl medicine for both bad and positive outcomes. 

Medicine men, according to the Lakota, Cherokee, Blackfoot, and Caddo tribes, obtained wisdom via lucid dreams at night, owing to the owl’s keen vision. 

As a result, these medicine men donned owl feathers and pledged never to kill an owl. 

  • The Tlingit people thought the owl aided them in war: When soldiers headed into combat, they hooted like owls to boost confidence and instill dread in their opponents.
  • Members of the Mojave tribe thought that after death, they would convert into an owl, then into a water bug, and last into pure air.
  • The owl was closely identified with Athena, the goddess of wisdom, in Ancient Greece.

It was frequently shown in Athena representations, and an owl is even depicted alongside Athena on one side of an Athenian tetradrachm coin.

Owls were plentiful in Greece, and the Greeks thought that each one possessed a unique inner light.

The wise owl is claimed to have inhabited and defended the Acropolis in great numbers. However, because the goddess Athena was also the goddess of battle, the owl became the defender who accompanied the Greek army to war. 

It was an omen of triumph if an owl flew over the Greek army before a fight.