The owl has long been regarded as a mystical entity, more a creature of the other side than this one. Ancient civilizations the world over have revered the owl as a symbol of intelligence, intuition, the ability to see in the metaphorical dark.
The Greek goddess of war and wisdom, Athena, was depicted with an owl messenger, while the ancient Hindu, Celtic, and Egyptian cultures believed the owl to act as a guardian and courier of the underworld.
Native Americans equated the owl with knowing and foresight, a vessel of sacred knowledge, and its powers were often invoked during rituals and prayers. West African and Aboriginal tribes similarly viewed the owl as a keeper of secrets, as well as an assistant to healers, sorcerers, and mystics.
The owl is the undisputed nocturnal ruler, as well as an ethereal symbol of what we cannot search for in the light of day, but must pursue in the dark. For that reason, tribal owl tattoos are hauntingly powerful totems, a symbol of the wearer’s own connection with the unseen but all-knowing.
Perched on the shoulder or wrist, the owl is there to serve as man’s messenger and guide, as well as a second pair of eyes in the night.