Owls stand quite alone among birds of prey. Whereas others are fierce hawks of speed, owls are heralded as symbols of wisdom, change, transition, and the balance between life and death.
Few men choose to align themselves with such an ambiguous image.
Even fewer decide upon placing an owl’s visage on their necks. If a beard is to impede the frontal view, however, the back of the neck can be striking real estate for the subtly powerful owl statement.
Depending on the intended meaning, such a piece may include a face with open wings, owl eyes piercing a dark background, or a full body in flight. Many artists recommend small or medium-sized images, due to detailing and the curvature of the neck. Whatever the case, the options are endless. A heart-shaped owl face (as on a Snowy Owl) may convey elegance, style, quietude, and grace; a circular-faced owl (such as a Great Horned Owl) conveys ferocity of spirit, the hunt, a journey of transition, or even death. Both wordlessly carry a message of wisdom, for owls listen more than speak.
Owl symbolism is entwined in human history. Meanings change from culture to culture, so it’s important to find its personal significance before an ink request is drawn. Again, having an owl image on the neck is among the most unique of expressions, despite its innumerable interpretations.