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Owl Always Love You!

owl charm 9ct yellow goldGiddy Aunts love owls. We love the grumpy owl from Bambi who gave us ‘twitterpated’ - having one's pate/head all a'twitter! We love wise, but easily discombobulated Owl of Winnie the Pooh fame. And we love the myopic owls with glasses and mortar boards that are found on so many teacher giftsBut owls haven’t always been so lovable. In fact, historically owls are enigmatic birds, mysterious and even a little sinister.

Partly this is because they’re nocturnal creatures who only appear under cover of night. Partly it’s because they’re powerful predators that soar on silent wings and strike with deadly force. 
It’s no surprise that owls have had an impact on nearly every culture in the world – after all there are 225 species living on every continent except Antarctica. And that impact has turned into a wide array of powerful symbols that still carry meaning for us today.

So, what do owls symbolise historically, and how much of that continues in the way we view owls now?


Owls as Symbols of Fertility

owl charm 9ct goldHistorically The ancient Welsh associated owls with fertility. If a pregnant woman heard an owl’s call, then she could rest assured that she would have an easy labour. They believed this came from the owl’s feminine nature, which comes from its connection with the night and the moon’s cycle of renewal.

Modern Interpretation Today, some pagan religions and studies still embrace owls as a symbol of fertility. They believe that women are more fertile during the new moon and most likely to conceive during the darkest nights – the type of nights that owls are abroad. 

Owls as Symbols of Death

owl keyringHistorically Owls have often been seen as harbingers of death. Ancient Christians believed that if you saw an owl at a home it was a sign that someone there was going to die. Within some Asian groups, it was believed that the owl was a death god who would come to carry one’s soul away upon death. And in Ethiopia, a man condemned to death was taken to a table with an owl engraved on it.

Modern Interpretation Today owls are still associated with spooky or sinister things, such as Halloween. They are also often seen haunting the pages of dark-themed fictional works or film noir. But we no longer believe that seeing an owl means death and the spooky owl is usually more fun and light-hearted like cute owl cookies!

Owls for Wisdom and Prophecy

owl charm mortar boardHistorically Both the ancient Greeks and the ancient Romans associated owls with wisdom and prophecy. For the Greeks, owls were a symbol for Athena, who was the goddess of wisdom and strategy. According to Greek mythology, an owl sat on Athena’s blind side allowing her to see the whole truth. 

Modern Interpretation Today that symbol of wisdom has moved towards the idea of intelligence and education. In Winnie the Pooh, the character ‘Owl’ is known for being brainy. As Pooh says, ‘If anyone knows anything about anything … it’s Owl who knows something about something’. And this is why we traditionally give teachers and graduates owly gifts.

Owls as Messengers

owl keyring silverHistorically  In the Aboriginal Dreamtime, the owl is the messenger of bad news. And Yama, the Verdic God of Death, sometimes sent out the owl as his emissary. The Native Americans believed that owls carried messages from beyond the grave to warn of people who have broken tribal taboos.

Modern Interpretation Today we see owls as messengers who deliver written notes in modern fantasy literature. In the wonderful Harry Potter books the half-giant Hagrid says, ‘All the kids want owls, they're dead useful, carry yer mail an' everythin'.  


Owl Jewellery and Keepsakes for the Modern World

owl pendant silverNo matter what you believe (or don’t!) owls have had a rich and wonderful symbolic history. They have entered our global subconscious and wildly varied cultures with aplomb – polarising what we believe them to be. Do they bring death? Do they bring truth? Will they bring you a new baby, or carry you on a journey to the underworld? 

Regardless, to the Giddy Aunts owls remain mysterious, wonderful and beautiful creatures. And people today love giving and receiving owl jewellery and keepsakes more than ever. But we do wish they would bring the post, very useful!

Is an owl in your future, or the future of your loved one? We’d love to help you find the right one to tell your story. Contact your Giddy Aunts, we're always happy to help.


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