The owl is an elusive and mysterious animal that has deep-rooted spiritual meaning throughout history and in many cultures. The barn owl signifies seeing and hearing in the darkness, is a powerful omen and symbol of both the afterlife, hidden knowledge, and journeys yet to come.
The barn owl is a strong symbol that must not be ignored, their spiritual significance spans generations and multitudes of religions. They are seen as the ultimate teachers and bringers of arcane elusive knowledge such as clairvoyance, mediumship, stealth, and spirit contact.
In this guide we’re going to study the symbolism of the barn owl in great depth, looking at how they are interpreted across different cultures, how to interpret the presence of owls in your dreams, and more.
Barn Owl Symbolism & Meaning
As with many bird symbols, the owl represents travel and journeys, with the owl specifically representing journeys of knowledge and journeys from life to death.
They are messenger birds and radiate intuition and dark knowledge. Listen to the barn owls haunting cries and see how they can relate to your life and spiritual enlightenment.
Those who come across the barn owl are usually empathic people, (those who easily pick up on others emotions) so can sometimes be a sign to be aware that the emotions we feel from others are separate from our own, and not to internalize other people’s suffering if harmful to ourselves.
The barn owl can also be seen as a link between our souls and our minds, a reminder to put things in perspective and not be ruled solely by our emotions.
As with all spiritual meaning, the barn owl can represent a multitude of things according to one’s own personal beliefs. Bear in mind what you are experiencing when you are visited by a barn owl to get the best interpretation of what it could mean to you.
Barn Owl Spirit Animal
Barn owls are relatively rare to see in the wild as they are nocturnal animals and naturally excellently camouflage. So seeing an owl in the wild is a strong and powerful omen. Though even seeing a barn owl in the wild or in your dreams or as a symbol on tv, books and games can all pose a strong symbolic meaning for your spirit animal.
If the barn owl is your spirit animal, you are most likely good at finding that which is lost. This can be as simple as remembering what is misplaced, or a deeper meaning.
This deeper meaning could refer to being good at uncovering deep truths and knowledge or uncovering people’s true motives and feelings. The barn owl as a spirit animal is perceptive and wise beyond its years.
If you let the spirit of this animal guide you along your path, you will be able to unlock the wisdom you hold within, uncovering people’s true motives and unspoken truths.
The barn owl as a spirit animal can also be an omen of the journey between life and death, either as a messenger from someone who has crossed over or as an omen for the death of an old spiritual journey or path.
Barn owls as spirit animals have long been associated with mysticism and the dark arts for their ability to hunt silently and see in the blackest of nights.
This association with death can also be seen in a positive light, however. The death of a path that no longer serves you for example or the death of the naïve self.
Barn Owl Totem Animal
The barn owl is also a peaceful and knowledgeable totem. If you have a barn owl as your personal totem it can be a reminder to follow your own spiritual path and look deeper than the face value truths you are being presented with.
It can be a totem to re-examine the facts and embrace the journey of learning, as knowledge is power in all things.
It can be scary to let go of the naïve self, especially when it brings us happiness and security, but true spiritual growth is when we accept hard truths and allow our minds to discover more about the world and ourselves.
The barn owl is a totem for higher understanding and arcane knowledge. Let your totem animal guide you to uncover the deepest meaning about yourself.
If the barn owl is your totem animal, you have a deep love of unraveling the mysteries of the universe and a fascination with uncovering the unknown.
Barn Owl Power Animal
Owls may appear as your power animal when you are being asked by the world to listen to your own intuition. It is a sign to follow your gut and look closely at the facts presented to you and the knowledge you have in any given situation. As a power animal, the barn owl can fuel your search for the truth.
The barn owl as a power animal may be your sign to hold off on action until you have more facts available for you, a sign to not react based solely on your emotions as unthought-out consequences could be dire.
As a power animal, the barn owl can help you navigate the darkness in your life or in your own mind. Trust in its wisdom so that you might find your own.
If you feel you are blindly following your path in life with no sense of purpose or direction, it may be time to call on the wisdom of the barn owl as your power animal to help strengthen you and guide you until you are out of the darkness.
Barn Owl Native American Symbolism
There are over 42 different species of the barn owl, with the Native American species being by far the largest. It is comfortable hunting in the darkest of nights and it is just as adept at finding prey in a prairie field as it is in a barn, hence its name.
The Native Americans have long held the barn owl in a position of great reverence, and it symbolizes a great deal to them.
The barn owl is a symbol of death, transformation, and rebirth in many Native American stories however, the specific meaning of the barn owl changes from tribe to tribe with many seeing them as omens of a dark future, and others seeing them as a sign of spiritual enlightenment.
As many tribes taught, and still teach, children’s lessons through the use of folk tales, tales of the owls who would hunt humans and eat their souls during the night when they wandered out into the dark was a way of teaching children to not go wandering in the dark alone.
Many stories across generations and cultures use these scary stories to teach children lessons about the world and the dangers it can hold if you are not careful.
Owls are also often the symbols of shapeshifters and spies hidden in the realm of spiritual darkness.
The most universal Native American meaning for barn owls is that they were the ones who guided souls from the living into death and accompanied them on their journey into the afterlife.
Therefore, the cry of an owl could be seen as a bad omen, and as a forebear of coming death, and often mothers would use this symbolism to scare children and get them to not wander off into the night.
Barn Owl Celtic Symbolism
For the Celts, the barn owl was the living embodiment of the goddess of death, referred to as Cauilleach-oidhche gheal or Cailleach.
Cailleach was referred to as the hag goddess, an old woman who was the goddess of the dead and guided souls to the underworld. The white old woman of the night, or white goddess, was often represented as a wisened owl throughout many Celtic tribes, from Ireland, Wales, and beyond.
The owl’s cry was often seen as a bad omen in Pagan society, a coming death was to visit the tribe if hooting was heard in the night.
This is a common theme amongst many religions, and the silent flight of the owl often represents the journey between life and death and the unknown knowledge from behind the veil.
The goddess Cailleach is seen as a clairvoyant, and a seeker of truths and can help one uncover deceptions by those who wish to harm you. Because barn owls have superior sight and hearing even compared to other owls, they are seen as the most revered and can sense that which is unspoken and uncover the real truth behind people’s lies.
The Welsh goddess Arianrhod is able to shapeshift into the form of an owl and uses the sight of the owls to see deep into the human soul to discover one’s true intentions. She gives comfort and healing to those who seek it from her as well as knowledge to those on a spiritual journey.
The representation of the owl is heavily linked with that of the triple goddess, the three elements of femininity and spirituality. The owl is linked to the crone, that of wisdom, elder knowledge, and fortitude.
Barn Owl Christianity Symbolism
In the Christian world, the barn owl is often seen as a representation of what is hidden from sight. They are usually used as a symbol of prophetic visions and to represent hidden meaning and the unknown future.
Along with many other cultures, the barn owl has a dual meaning, one is that it can be seen as a dark omen symbolizing death and evil tidings.
The other meaning that is held by more mystically inspired sides of Christianity is that the barn owl is a symbol of wisdom and embracing the dark struggles God has brought us in order to grow.
This meaning is all about embracing the challenges one is faced with in order to deepen our faith and belief in Christ.
As a Christian, if you are visited by the spirit of an owl either in real life, in dreams, or in imagery around you, it may be a sign to examine your faith and go inward to strengthen your spiritual relationship with God and the natural world.
Barn Owl Dreams
When you dream about a barn owl, it may be your spirit guide trying to warn you of an incoming threat or challenge that you should pay attention to.
It could also mean that part of your intuition is calling out to you, and you have been willfully ignoring signs about someone in your life. You will do your best to listen to your intuition and see the barn owl’s visit as a sign to listen to your gut about someone’s true intentions.
Consider all the emotions you felt during your dream- were you feeling fear and anxiety? If so, you may be putting off a situation that you need to rip the bandaid off and confront. A screeching barn owl can also be a sign to wake up your unconscious mind and tackle something that you refuse to acknowledge.
Dreaming of a dead owl can signify change and transformation within your life.
Barn Owl Tattoo Meaning
A barn owl tattoo usually symbolizes free-thinking, morality, and the willingness to delve deep into the well of knowledge.
Barn owl tattoos can also symbolize a wise old soul, the faithful crone, or the seeker of truths. As a powerful symbol, it can be a sign of your belief in spirituality and the sacred elements of the natural world.
Barn Owl Spiritual Meaning
The barn owl represents knowledge, seeking truth and divine justice. The spiritual meaning of owls changes from place to place. Much spiritual significance holds true regardless of the religion.
On a spiritual level, the owl can be there to teach you about your purpose and give you direction when you need it most.
The owl is a symbol of the universe and its spiritual significance often represents the dual world of life and death and the journey one must take in order to traverse them.
The barn owl can also represent loneliness as it travels by itself in the dead of night seeking out its prey.
Barn Owl in Astrology & Zodiac Signs
According to Native American Astrology, people born under the sign of the owl (May 21st to June 21st in the Southern Hemisphere and November 23rd to December 21st in the Northern Hemisphere) are blessed with a powerful intellect, quick-wittedness and are exceptionally good communicators with a virtuous sense of honor.
Barn Owl African & Greek Myth & Symbolic Meanings
In many African myths, the owl is not a positive symbol in folklore. Some Africans believed that barn owls often brought illnesses to young children and they were often associated with death. Along with many other cultures, the barn owl is associated with witchcraft, sorcery, and the Dark Arts.
Much like the way that Native Americans saw the eagle and wolf spirit animals, many Africans symbolize owls as the travelers between the living and dying bringing messages of ill-will and misfortune with them.
In Greek myths, the goddess Athena was often accompanied by the symbol of an owl and she often visited Heroes and humans alike in owl form.
She is famously the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, and also war surprisingly, but more in terms of tactics and understanding one’s opponent in order to defeat them. Owls in Greek mythology also symbolize cunning and wit.
Romans believed that if they slept with an owl feather next to their pillow they would understand the deeper meanings of life and be able to gain insider knowledge in how to defeat one’s opponents with both wit and skill.
Barn Owl Symbolic Meanings
- Independent thought
- Seeking knowledge
- Seeing deception and fakery
- Observant listening
- Supernatural powers
- Connection to the spirit world
- The journey between life and death and carrier of souls
- Wisdom and learnedness
- Cunning and trickery
The barn owl represents cunning, independence, and spiritual connection. It is a powerful and great omen and one should heed its sightings as they are likely of great importance to your path in life.
It is incredibly rare to see an owl so be mindful if one visits you and pay them the respect they deserve.
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