I stumbled across the story of this owl that was rescued in Thailand recently – and I can’t quite get her (or really, that face) out of my mind.
It got me thinking about how amazing it is that many animals are symbols with shared meanings across many centuries and cultures.
How can it be that the ancient cultures around the world, otherwise unconnected, come to revere an animal for similar reasons? It can’t be coincidence. So for anyone who thinks all of this animal spirit business is nonsense (or “for the birds” as they say)—perhaps the owl is a perfect example to demonstrate otherwise.
So what’s with this wise, mysterious creature of the night?
The Goddess of Athena has an owl by her side as a symbol of wisdom.
Egyptian, Celtic AND Hindu cultures symbolic meaning for Owl is rooted in guardianship and protection.
Native Americans cherish Owl for wisdom and foresight. The oracle and keeper of sacred knowledge.
For West African and Aboriginal Australian tribes – Owl is messenger of secrets, companions to mystics and seers.
In Medieval Western and central Europe, Owls were thought to be witches and wizards in disguise.
And in the U.S., of course, the owl knows how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.
Owl is one smart and stealth little traveler. So I invited him to answer a few questions and perhaps clear up some common misconceptions.
JR: So Owl, how did you get this reputation for being such a wise guy?
OWL: Hard to say. It's just who I am, and there is real truth to it, I have to say.
JR: How so?
OWL: Well, I have the ability to see great distances in total darkness. My supernatural vision and hearing provides me accesss to many things that humans cannot perceive. Essentially there is a whole world out there that you don’t get experience. I believe my knowledge of these other dimensions is what may have earned me my scholarly reputation. Plus, I look fabulous in glasses and a graduation cap. (laughs) Sorry, that's just a little owl humor.
JR: Fascinating. I understand that some cultures have actually feared you, and others may associate you with death. What can you tell me about this?
OWL: (feathers ruffled) Yes. I’ve heard about such prejudice and I’d like to clear some things up.
JR: Please do, that’s why we’re here.
OWL: Humans have a fear of the dark. The unknown. What you cannot see, you cannot accept. Actually, you also have a great ability to block out what you don’t want to see—even in broad daylight. Right in front of your face. But I digress.
Like other nocturnal animals, I am sometimes associated with the “dark” that for you is scary, mysterious and for some, even evil.
But the irony is, I’m here to help guide you though the darkness. I have eyes to help you see what you cannot.
My gift is to help you face the unfamiliar. Show you how to hone and trust your intuition. Support you through a challenging time. Try and think about death not as the end of your phsycial existence—but the letting go of what no longer serves you. There is nothing to fear. I’ve been there, and I know. Come with me, and you will discover something that has escaped your awareness….until now.
JR: Wow. You’re right. That’s not what I thought you were going to say. So our own limitations are the reason for our fear—it’s not really what Owl is about?
OWL: Not at all. We are here to guide and protect. Your Egyptian brothers understood, as have many others through the ages.
JR: That said, what other advice can you give? If Owl shows up for people in their dreams, outdoors or in random places…any suggestions?
OWL: Well, I am a little biased. But if I show up, please do pay attention. Trust that your guide has arrived.
Do not fear the darkness. There are lessons in your shadows that can lead you to amazing awakenings.
If you can accept and appreciate what lies beyond your senses, it will no longer be scary, but in fact a doorway to discovery. Move through mystery with me and find answers you are seeking. Be present and open. Trust your own wisdom, and Owl will show you the way.
JR: I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you.
For more information on the adorable owlet pictured above. Visit Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand.
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