Why Do Owls Represent Wisdom? (Explained with Reasons)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Owls are said to represent wisdom in certain cultures because of their mysterious and all seeking nature.

A lot of cultures attach certain symbolic value to certain animals, like owls that represent wisdom in various cultures and death in some others.

In many cultures that believe owls represent wisdom, this is usually due to the mysticism of the night and how owls are associated with the night; they see in the dark and are nocturnal.

The ancient Greeks also associated owls with wisdom because it is the animal associated with Athena: their goddess of wisdom.

Why do owls represent wisdom?

Why Do Owls Represent Wisdom

Different things represent different ideas and concepts for different reasons. There is no particular reason why owls are considered to represent wisdom.

However, there are several reasons that different cultures and different sets of people consider owls to be a representation of wisdom.

To the ancient Greeks, the owl represented wisdom for mainly two reasons which are associated.

The ancient Greeks believed that for an owl to be able to see at night it had to have an inner light and that inner light was a representation of wisdom and also owls were the symbol of  Athena and you know that Athena is the goddess of wisdom in Greek mythology.

Mythically, an owl helped Athena see through her blind spot, and because of that, she could see the entire truth of any situation.

In Greek mythology, the owl was not just a symbol of wisdom it was also regarded as a guardian.

What do owls represent?

Owls represent several things, from wisdom to death, you can find that owls represent so many different things to different sets of people.

Symbolism is as old as human societies and religion and intelligence.

It is easier for humans to associate natural things like animals and trees with concepts that are directly linked to the lives of humans as individuals and as part of a group of people.

This is a great reason why an owl doesn’t simply represent one thing all over.

For some owls are the Eagles of the night, they symbolize wisdom of a higher sort.

Not just normal human wisdom but wisdom that draws from the spiritual and the paranormal.

Owls also symbolize intelligence and not just basic intelligence but an intense kind of intelligence that is almost divinely given.

In their natural environment, Owls are predators, they haunt skillfully, and this requires great intelligence.

When owls hunt, they strategize, plan and execute their hunt with almost laser precision.

These are admirable features to humans so it is not a stretch that humans would idolize, or attach great symbolism to these magnificent creatures of the night.

On the other hand, some religions and cultures perceived the nocturnal nature of owls as evil so for these people owls represent evil and things associated with the night.

Obviously, the night is tied to darkness, witchcraft, sin, robbery, and other things that are less than savory to imagine.

To some people the owl does not represent something specific, it is the look and features of a particular owl that tells what it represents.

A white owl could represent light and goodness while a black owl would represent death and darkness.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on can owls and hawks coexist

What do owls represent in the bible?

Generally in the Bible, owls do not represent good things.

They are considered unclean and symbolize negativity.

In the Bible, especially the Old Testament, birds that are predators or that eat flesh are unclean for consumption by humans.

They cannot be used as food. Owls specifically are associated with more negative things, much like vultures.

Owls are considered creatures of the desert and darkness.

Owls in the Bible symbolize the following:

  • Desolation: There are several references in the Bible of owls Bing harbingers of desolation and being possessors of desolate places. This way it is projected that owls bring and maintain desolation.
  • Torment: owls also symbolize torment and are portrayed to live around torment and torture.
  • Loneliness: since they usually symbolize desolation, they usually inhabit lonely places and thus symbolize loneliness.
  •  Death and Mourning: Owls are symbols of death, mourning usually follows death.
  • Judgment: Owls also symbolize judgment, the kind that leads to destruction, desolation, death, mourning, and loneliness.

Why are owls considered evil?

The association of owls to evil is mainly tied to the nocturnal nature of owls.

Many cultures believe that an owl coming around you symbolized the night coming into your life.

And we all know that the night is dark, and darkness is evil. One symptom of this evil was death, others include sickness and bad luck. This belief is still held till today.

For these reasons and more many people and cultures consider owls undesirable and used for diabolic and evil things.

What does it mean when an owl comes to your house?

What it means when an owl comes to your house is relative to how you, your culture, and your religion view owls.

An owl coming to your house might mean wisdom is coming to your house but more often than not people usually interpret this to mean evil is coming to your house.

Many people believe that when an owl comes to your house death has come to your house, evil luck has come to your house.

This is because to many people owl symbolizes darkness and the night, therefore no good could be associated with an owl coming to your house.

For some people an owl coming to your house means change is coming to your house.

It might also be a symbol that you are at a crossroads and you need some type of guidance to make some decision best for the owl comes to you to give you wisdom and herald change.

And this all sums up to mean an owl coming to your house is a good thing.

There is no strict meaning attached to an owl coming to your house, your belief system determines what you view this old man as.

It could Forebode good things or herald bad things, it could also simply mean an owl just came to your house and nothing more.

The choice is always yours to attach whatever meaning to it.

Also check out this article I wrote on why do owls scream

Are owls a good omen?

For some owls are a good omen while for others they are bad omens.

The association you have with symbolism as it relates to animals especially owls would go a long way to affect how you interpret the omen that an owl brings.

In some cultures and religions, owls are an evil omen, They are creatures of the night and therefore the herald bad things.

Even when no specific evil thing is attached to owls in a culture, there is still a general association of evil to owls.

They are considered omens of bad luck, bad news, and death, when seen around anyone or house it signifies evil.

Some cultures view owls as good omens, such as Japan and Mongolia.

They are considered as messengers from the gods and they carry only positivity. Native Americans regard owls as an emissary of the gods.

To a lot of people, owls are neither good nor bad omens. They are just animals that do not signify anything spiritual or other-worldly.

Is the owl a symbol of any myth god?

The owl is usually the symbol of the Greek mythological goddess Athena.

In this vein, it symbolizes wisdom because Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom, truth, and knowledge.


Whatever you associate with owls is usually a personal thing, of course, it is possible to be influenced by one’s culture or religion but the choice is usually always yours.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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