The owl is a beautiful and meaningful tattoo choice. Owl tattoos aren’t necessarily mainstream but are popular, worn by both men and women. Often colorful and detailed, they commonly portray the owl alone, but may include other symbols and elements. In this post, we will discuss owl tattoo designs and symbolism. We’ve included photos of some truly stunning owl tattoo designs. We hope that you leave inspired, with plenty of ideas for your next tattoo.
Just like most animal tattoos, the owl tattoo has a rich symbolic value. The owl is a symbol of wisdom, knowledge, and transition. The owl has been associated with many different ancient civilizations over time, all over the globe. The owl plays a part in Hindu, Egyptian, and Celtic lore and mythologies. These cultures believed that the owl was the protector and guardian of the dead and believed it was able to communicate with the departed.
The Romans believed that an owl hooting atop a public building predicted the death of an important public figure. Because of this, the owl is commonly called the “angel of death” and believed to guide or carry recently-departed souls to the underworld. For ancient Greeks, the owl was sacred to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom.
The owl was also symbolic to Native Americans who believed it was the guardian of sacred knowledge. They would also look to the owl to forecast the weather. Several cultures believed that the owl would accompany the soul in the afterlife and some believe if you see an owl in your dreams, it means that you or someone in your life will experience death.
When we take a closer look at the owl, we can better understand all the symbolism behind the animal. They are known for their large eyes and skillful hunting abilities. Their eyes are designed to see far in low light and they hunt quietly, barely making any noise at all when they fly, for they have evolved extra-soft plumage which gives them “acoustic stealth” and allows them to sneak up on their prey. Owls have a mysterious vibe, perhaps because they are nocturnal and rarely seen during the day. As most winged animals do, the owl symbolizes freedom, but they also represent vision, due to their ability to see so far at night.
You can do a lot with an owl tattoo. These designs look good in vibrant color or black ink, in intricate realistic detail or in abstract or cartoon design, as large or small tattoos; the owl can be sitting on a branch or flying, wings stretched out or hugged tight. Because of this, owl tattoos can be placed nearly anywhere on the body. Owls are often portrayed with other symbols: a key, a clock, a flower, whatever looks and feels right.