By: Orly Niran Yahalom
The Owl is a bird of prey (of the Strigiforemes family) active under cover of night’s darkness and the silvery rays of the moon. In Hebrew, the root of its name Yanshuf comes from neshef which means night and the hissing sounds the owl makes.
Owls do not build nests and make their homes in tree trunk hollows, niches and barns. They hunt mice, rodents, small mammals and birds.
For most people, night is commonly associated with the dark and mysterious aspects of the human soul. Owl’s medicine is healing emanating from the void, seeing the whole truth is a blessed illumination, intertwining the sub-conscious into the conscious. Owl is the perfect healer. In treatments and ceremonies of Soul Retrieval, I clean the patients’ auras with a tail of owl feathers to bring in to the process Owl’s gift of healing.
The connection to night-time turned Owl into a symbol of the moon and femininity, the occult and sorcery. These qualities are connected to the elements of Air and Water. Nonetheless, some perceive Owl as connected to the element of Fire, maybe due to its yellow eyes and its excellent sense of sight which is linked to intuitive vision and a precise analysis of reality, qualities which are centered at the Solar Plexus Chakra.
The Owl totem is a discrete and quiet companion for those who deal with magic and for clairvoyant healers.
Owl medicine connects us to sight. Owl’s eyes are anthropomorphic, located at the front of its head and protrude slightly. The owl has the ability to change its vision from wide to macroscopic range vision in fractures of seconds, to quickly respond to any change in the velocity of light and to perceive any slight change that occurs in its vicinity. Its ability to turn its head 270 degrees to the right or left enables it to see truth from 360 different viewpoints within a circle. This trait along with sharp night-vision turns Owl into the seer of truth beyond what is apparent, beyond the masks and deceptions – a symbol of wisdom.
The ancient Greeks believed that Owl accompanied Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom.
The owls, like other birds of prey, have a third eyelid which moves from side to side, cleans the eye and sharpens vision.
Those who are connected to Owl medicine are able to see and hear what others try to hide. They observe the subtlest nuances in people’s behavior and recognize thoughts un-said. Owl urges us to attentively observe the present situation we are dealing with and to see beyond the masks and dark side of our self or of the other.
Owl people have the ability to uncover deep secrets and predict the future, knowing things without a need for deep investigation. They have highly developed instincts and a strong sense of intuition.
Camouflage is a key quality when it comes to owls. Their feathers are usually brown and beige colored with darker stripes so that they become practically invisible amongst tree foliage and the shadows between branches and leaves. Unseen – they see everything.
Owls’ flight is silent. They have soft plumage on the inner side of their wings and at their tips making their flight soundless – their prey senses there presence only when they are already upon it. This quality depicts the discreteness of those accompanied by Owl and their ability to camouflage their real power.
The Owl as a Spirit Animal is a priceless gift. Some types of owls have unique qualities. The white Snowy Owl teaches us to reserve our energy for the right moment and is connected to prophecy and prediction. The heart-faced Barn Owl teaches us how to balance heart and mind. The Short-eared Owl bears the gift of enthusiasm about life and an active use of imagination.
I am usually able to discern Owl people by their physiognomy, particularly their eyes which are very similar to those of owls. I was once invited to conduct an Animal Totem workshop at a private residence. When I met the daughter of the lady who had invited me and who was to attend the workshop I immediately knew that she was connected to owls. I was curious to find out if Owl will appear in her totem map. In the workshop the following day it turned out that Owl did not appear in her totem map. I was taken by surprise but did not mention it. Later that day she invited me to visit her home. Once I entered, everything became clear – the house was filled with collections of owls, statuettes and different objects from a clock to a napkin holder – all shared the owl figure.