AsÂ birds ofÂ the night andÂ birds ofÂ prey,Â the owlÂ has been associated with psychic powers, the “angel of death,” and the goddess of night. Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythology all have owls as representatives of spiritual influence, wisdom and knowledge. Hinduism usesÂ the owlÂ as a symbol of cosmic spirituality as well.
Native American religions and shaman priests have placed numerous spiritual associations uponÂ the owl. The Cree believed that the whistlesÂ of the Boreal Owl was a call to the spirit world. If an Apache dreamed of an owl, it meant that death was eminent.Â Cherokees hamans looked to Eastern Screech Owls forÂ guidance on punishment and sickness.
In AfricaÂ the owlÂ is associated with witchcraft and sorcery. To the BantuÂ the owlÂ is the associate of wizards. In eastern Africa, the Swahili believe thatÂ the owlÂ brings illness to children. Zulus in southern Africa viewÂ the owlÂ as a bird of sorcerers, and in the western part of the Africa the bird is considered a messenger of wizards and witches. In MadagascarÂ owls are said to gather with witches and dance onÂ the gravesÂ of the dead.
As a spiritual symbol, owls can be found throughout the world. Australia, China, Greenland, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia and Sweden all have cultures or mythical traditions that give considerable spiritual significance toÂ the owl.