Q:

What is the symbolic meaning of seeing an owl?

A:

Cultures throughout history have viewed owl sightings differently, with some believing that they are reminders to rely on personal wisdom and others that they are harbingers of death, sickness or general misfortune. The Greeks believed that owl sightings were a sign of good fortune. Ancient Greeks portrayed the goddess Athena, who was known for her wisdom, as being accompanied by an owl much of the time.

Human beings have paid special attention to owls since prehistoric times as evidenced by cave paintings depicting the nocturnal birds.

For centuries in much of Europe, owls were viewed as messengers of doom and destruction. The writers and poets of the continent, including Sir Walter Scott and Shakespeare, often included owls in their works as literary devices that portend death. Most famously, Shakespeare imbued owls with premonitions of both Julius Caesar's and Macbeth's deaths.

Many Native American cultures viewed the owl as a totem animal representing wisdom and prophecy. They believed that those who saw owls should take the sightings as a sign to stand back from everyday life and turn inward for wisdom found through being quiet and listening to a person's inner voice. They also considered owl sightings to be signs that release aspects of life, including attitudes, that no longer serve a person.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Is the owl an herbivore?

    A:

    The owl is not an herbivore. Owls are carnivores and hunt their prey, which consists mainly of insects, amphibians, reptiles, rodents and other small mammals. Owls are capable of killing animals that are larger than them.

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  • Q:

    Is an owl an omnivore, an herbivore or a carnivore?

    A:

    Like all birds of prey, owls are carnivores. Most live by hunting small mammals such as hares, rats and mice, but they are also known to catch and eat other birds. Very small owls, such as the elf owl, feed mostly on insects.

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  • Q:

    What is the symbolic meaning of a scarab beetle?

    A:

    The scarab beetle, or dung beetle, is associated with death and rebirth or eternal life. Though the best-known culture revering scarab beetles was ancient Egypt, the scarab beetle is a widespread symbol throughout the ancient and prehistoric world.

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  • Q:

    What animals are predators of the snowy owl?

    A:

    Foxes, jaegers, dogs, wolves and large birds are predators of snowy owls. Many owls are also killed by humans. Snowy owls are very protective of their young, swooping over the nest and attacking predators to insure survival of the species.

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