Owl Symbolism: Meaning of the Owl as an Animal Totem

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Owls are known in Native American lore as the keepers of sacred knowledge.  Other ancient cultures believed that owls were actually priestesses and wizards in disguise, and to this day they are still considered to be messengers and companions to these magical folk. Sacred to Athena–the Grecian goddess of wisdom and war–owls are often considered a symbol of intelligence, status, and protection.  Ancient armies believed that an owl flying over the battlefield portended their certain victory.  Many representations of Athena show an owl perched on her shoulder, whispering words of wisdom and giving the goddess the power of seeing the whole truth of things (while the rest of us see half).  The ancient Egyptians, Celts, and Hindus considered owls to be guardians of the underworld and protectors of the dead.

Owls see clearly in the dark, and this strength makes them a powerful guide totem for journeys into shadow work.  With their gift of heightened senses, owls see through illusion and deceptive external appearances to find hidden truths.   Call upon owl in confusing times, when you need to make a discerning decision that rests on a solid foundation.  Her clear vision and innate mystical knowledge can help you to find a clearer path, even when the situation seems too dim to ascertain on your own.

If an owl has swooped into your life, listen and look for subtle signs and synchronicities around you.  Try to be consciously attentive to things you usually pass by or take for granted, as there may be important lessons there.  Owl may also be guiding you to uncover hidden potential and abilities.  Again, pay attention to the signs around you, particularly at night!

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