What Does Owl Symbolize In The Bible

History of Owls in the Bible

Owls have featured prominently in the Bible since its earliest days. The Hebrew word for “owl” – “ayit” – is mentioned eight times in the first four books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers). The Old Testament also mentions the “great owl”, the “little owl” and the “arrow-headed” or “arrow-legged” species of owl. Ancient historians have written extensively about the owl, with some citing its ominous presence in many sacred texts.
The owl is featured prominently in the New Testament book of Leviticus, which is the third book of the Bible and contains an extensive list of birds that the Israelites were forbidden from eating. An observant reader of Leviticus 11:16-17 can find references to an owl designated as an “abomination”. This is because the Israelites were not allowed to include unclean creatures such as the owl in their diets, despite it sometimes being a source of food and clothing for other cultures. Some Biblical scholars have suggested that the owl was seen as a symbol of death in the Ancient Near East and so its presence in the Bible could represent death and destruction.
The presence of the owl in Christian culture has been the subject of much discussion among experts. In the Christian tradition, the owl is often viewed as a warning of impending doom and has been associated with both good and evil. For centuries, Christians have seen the owl as a symbol of wisdom and death. This belief stems from the fact that owls are known to be wise and quiet creatures and are found in many sacred texts and stories.

Symbolism of Owls In the Bible

In the Bible, the owl is often seen to represent two distinct things – death and wisdom. In Leviticus, the owl is described as an “abomination” and this has led to the belief that it is a symbol of death and destruction, negative things that the Israelites should keep at arm’s length. This is reflected in the New Testament where owls are used to symbolically represent death and judgement in stories such as the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.
As for wisdom, various ancient cultures believed that owls had the ability to see in the darkness, making them an animal of great wisdom. Owls were thought to be messengers of the gods of the night, a belief which is still found in folkloric tradition. Another element which ties owls to wisdom is the fact that their nocturnal habits made them difficult to find and so they were a symbol of hidden knowledge.

Owl Symbolism in Different Cultures

Owls have featured prominently in several different cultures around the world. In Greek and Roman mythology, the owl was associated with Athena, the goddess of wisdom, while in Hindu and Buddhist cultures, it is seen as a symbol of spiritual protection and divine providence. In many Native American cultures, the owl is seen as a sign of the soul or spirit, representing inner knowledge and a connection to the divine.
Owls are also found in African folklore, where they are said to serve as intermediaries between the world of the living and the dead. According to African legend, when an owl hoots it is a sign of impending danger and its presence is believed to be a warning from the afterlife. In certain European cultures, the owl was seen as a messenger of either good news or bad news and was thought to possess the power to predict the future.

The Role of Owls in Contemporary World

Today, the owl is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge, with both children and adult looking to them as a source of inspiration. While they are still feared in some parts of the world, they have become somewhat of a mascot of sorts within popular culture, featuring prominently in books, television shows and films. Their symbolism is also found in numerous pieces of art and literature, ranging from classical symphonies and operas to modern-day novels and short stories.
Owls continue to play an important role in the religious fabric of both Christianity and Judaism. Owls are often used as a passageway to some of the deeper moral and metaphysical lessons of the Bible, with some viewing them as messengers of peace or harbingers of doom. They are also still seen as a symbol of death, with their nocturnal habits coming to represent the end of the day or the passing of time.

Psychological and Spiritual Meaning of Owls

Owls have captivated the minds of humans for centuries and it’s no surprise that they have been the object of myth and mystery. Beyond representing death and judgement, both in the Bible and in other cultures, owls are often thought to symbolise the connection between the spiritual and physical world. They are said to be messengers from the divine, guiding us on our journey and protecting us from danger.
On a psychological level, the owl is often seen as a symbol of inner wisdom. They are seen to represent deeper insights and the courage to face the unknown. This has become especially relevant in this day and age, as many of us feel overwhelmed by life’s questions and struggle to make sense of the world around us. Owls serve as a reminder for us to look within and trust in our intuition.
The owl is also seen as a sign of intuition, receptivity and higher knowledge. From its veiled eyes to its ability to see in the dark, the owl has come to represent an otherworldly sense of perception that allows us to see through the darkness and make connections between seemingly unrelated things. It encourages us to break free of our conscious minds and awaken our higher consciousness.

Esoteric Meaning of Owls

On an esoteric level, owls are thought to represent spiritual mysteries and secret knowledge. In many cultures, they have come to represent the mysteries of the unknown, a reminder that what lies beyond is much greater than what we can see with our physical eyes.
Owls are also considered a symbol of hidden strength and courage and are often seen as a guide for those undergoing spiritual transformation. It is believed that in times of spiritual crisis, the owl’s wisdom can help guide and protect us by showing us the path to understanding and enlightenment.
In Kabbalah, the owl is seen as a symbol of divine feminine energy and the path to personal transformation. This is because the Hebrew term for owl – ‘ayit’ – is closely associated with the feminine word ‘Yod’, meaning ‘hand’ and a ‘flood of light’. In this part of the world, it is believed that the owl can lead us to inner knowledge and higher consciousness.


Owls have long featured in the Bible, representing death and judgement as well as wisdom and hidden knowledge. The owl continues to hold an important place in both Christian and Jewish cultures and can be found represented in books, television shows and artwork from around the world.
While still seen as a symbol of death in some parts of the world, the owl today is largely seen as a symbol of wisdom and courage. It serves as a reminder to look within ourselves and trust in our intuition. On an esoteric level, the owl symbolises spiritual mysteries and hidden knowledge, guiding us on our path to self-realisation and higher consciousness.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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