“The owls are not what they seem” according to Twin Peaks, and neither are their tattoo counterparts. Much like the moon, owls have long been revered for their nocturnal powers, ancient symbols of both higher wisdom and sight in the dark.
Western cultures adopted the owl as a mark of education and studious discipline, while Native Americans viewed one’s owl totem as an ability to see what is hidden from most, the ultimate creature of otherworldy intuition.
Egyptian, Hindu, and Celtic cultures believed the owl to act as both translator and guardian of the dead, often delivering messages from the departed. The ancient Romans held the belief that an owl hooting from the top of a public building was surly an omen of death for an important public figure, while the ancient Greeks welcomed the owl as a harbinger of Athena, the Greek goddess of war and wisdom.
From barn owls to Great Horned owls, each species represents a facet of our own inner nature and needs. Snowy white or rich brown, the realistic owl tattoo can be inked in black and white or drawn in luscious earth tones, often worn on the arm or shoulder to indicate one’s respect and connection with this knowing creature of the night.