The Meaning of an Owl Sighting

Mythological and Spiritual

Owls are fascinating creatures. Quite common in rural, suburban, and urban settings, but also playing a significant role in mythology and lore. An encounter with an owl is sure to be memorable; it may also have deep spiritual significance for you.

Facing Our Fears Head-On

Like the owl itself, which is often associated with the nighttime, an owl sighting is a signal to peer into the darkness and give thought to what we choose to avoid. In other words, if you go outside to avoid the 800-pound gorilla in your house (something that’s obvious but you’re not talking about it), the owl will hoot, telling you to go back inside and face it.

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The owl, in his infinite wisdom, urges us to face our fears and to shine a light on the things that lurk in the shadows. Perhaps that’s why, for some, an owl sighting is seen as a negative experience—because the owl seeks to expose secrets. However, an owl sighting is often a good omen because he helps free us from the things that can hold us back.

What are Owls?

As we consider an animal spirit’s meaning, it is wise to learn more about the animal itself. Often, the animal’s characteristics can tell us a lot about the message we receive from an encounter. Owls are birds of prey. This means that they actively hunt for their food and that their bodies have evolved to make them the masterful, solitary hunters that they are.

The owl is a nocturnal animal, which means that it rests during the day and hunts at night. It’s wings are designed for silent flight, they have excellent night vision, and amazingly sharp hearing to detect which direction their prey is coming from.

Owls can turn their heads 270 degrees, as they have the ability to pool blood to keep their brain going even when circulation is shut off due to the extreme turning of the neck. What you may not know, however, is that owls do not have the ability to move their eyes in their sockets as we do. Instead, their eyes remain in one position: They move their head to face the direction in which they wish to see.

Interestingly, owls have been known to hunt other owls, particularly those of smaller breeds.

Messages From Spirit

An owl, like any bird or animal, can be a messenger from Spirit. Do you know someone who has crossed over who was always a ‘straight shooter’ in life? Did they always get right to the point? Perhaps you know someone who believed this adage: “The truth shall set you free.”

Now that your loved one has passed, they might choose an owl to visit you, especially if you’re ignoring something important—purposefully or not. Also, if your loved one was just fond of this intelligent creature for its uniqueness and beauty, they may well send an owl to deliver a message. They certainly want you to know that they are around.

Your Spirit Animal

Anyone invoking the spirit of the owl will naturally become more observant and will be able to see signs others miss or overlook. If the owl is your spirit animal and you have an owl sighting, you may be an investigator of sorts—someone who seeks out the truth. There’s probably a driving urge in your life to uncover the truth and get answers to your questions—even the ones that seem uncomfortable or that no one wants to discuss.

Your Totem Animal

If you have an owl for a totem animal, there’s a good chance you have owl figurines and owl-related items in and around your home. You are also likely someone who seeks solace in the quiet moments. Whether it’s meditation, reading a book or just sitting by the ocean, you feel that wisdom can be found in silent moments.

Your Power Animal

Power animals are animals whose symbolism or traits we identify with, especially in urgent situations or in times of need. If the owl is your power animal, you are someone who seeks the truth. You need to get to the bottom of things and you probably have an intuitive sense of where to get your answers.

The Owl and the Akashic Records

The owl has the ability to travel between Heaven and earth. They open doors and travel through different realms. There is also the belief that the owl has the ability to fly through the Akashic Records, absorbing its wisdom and giving you access to information you may not otherwise receive. 

If you invoke the spirit of the owl, he will be your companion as you try to connect with your higher self and gain access to the teachers, angels, and ancestors who guide you in life. However, you must only seek the owl’s assistance for your higher good—not for anything negative. The owl is no fool. Therefore, if you are harboring secrets or secret agendas, he will expose them.

Cultural Symbolism and Beliefs

To the Celts, owls were defenders of truth and honor. They did not condone deception or lies—especially the lies we tell ourselves. The Celts also believed these winged creatures acted as messengers between earth and the Divine World. Both the Celts and ancient Egyptians believed that the owl guided souls in death; this kept them from losing their way.

Some Native Americans often refer to the owl as a “night eagle” because of its sharp vision. He is a harbinger of truth. Wearing owl feathers is usually part of a shaman’s attire. Shamans or medicine men/women believe the owl holds knowledge that can heal.

Encountering an Owl

If you encounter an owl, or an image of an owl, Spirit may be trying to tell you something. Take some time to ponder this encounter and determine what this message might be.

Owls are, after all, hunters. They are capable of pursuing their prey at night, being wonderfully adapted for this purpose. What is the thing that you want most in this world? Now may be a good time to focus on it so that you can capture it.

An owl encounter might also be telling you that it is time to operate quietly, under cover. Not only are most owls capable of silent flight and are adapted to see in the dark, they are also masters of camouflage. You can stealthily pursue your goals, bypassing competition and naysayers, by imitating the owl and going about your work in secret.

While owls often share territory with other owls, they are also solitary creatures. Spending time with others is important, but sometimes it is wise to retreat and spend time alone. If you haven’t been able to take some quality time for yourself, now is the time to do so.

Dreams, Myths, and Legends

If you dream of an owl, it may be a sign there’s someone or something to be wary of. However, it could just be a message from Spirit, much the same as a literal owl sighting. Because the owl can travel through realms, it’s easy to see why he has a connection to negative or dark things. 

However, the owl has a connection to truth, light, and wisdom. Meditation on your dream, along with journaling, can help you to understand the purpose of encountering an owl in your dreams.

If you’re interested in our other animal sighting articles, you can find them here.


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25 thoughts on “The Meaning of an Owl Sighting

  1. Lindsey Boyko

    I went to pick up food tonight from a little restaurant in town. When I got out of the car an owl swooped right over my head and perched ontop of the car next to mine and stared at me. I walked up to the little thing and I’ve never ever come this close to a wild animal like this before. I reached my hand out and touched its feathers carefully. It didn’t do anything but move his little head and kept looking back at me. We stared at each other for minutes and it felt like forever. I walked into the restaurant, picked up my food and came back expecting the owl to be gone but instead it was in the same place looking at me. I thought it was so strange. I told the owl goodbye as I got into my car and then as I drove away the owl did too. I had to see what that meant if it meant anything. I can’t stop thinking about how close I had gotten to this owl and how I held eye contact for so long with an animal like this.

    Reply
  2. Anna

    Several years ago I was out late at a local casino. I am a night owl (no pun intended) and so I could not sleep. I finally had my fill and decided I’d walk home, which was about a mile walk. I do remember it was a chilly night but not super terrible. I went outside and looked around at the street, and nearby stores. Everything was quiet. I pulled out my pack of smokes and turned back towards the casino. As I lit my cigarette something caught my attention. There was a great horned owl sitting up on the edge of the roof of the casino. At first the owl just starred straight. Like the owl was spacing out. Then after a few seconds past I said hey there how are you doing? The owl didn’t hesitate and looked down at me. However the owl looked at me like why are you talking to me… The owl looked at me for a moment more, and then back up and straight out. We both were just silent as I was just smoking my cigarette. Finally I said well have a good night… I suggested the owl could come with me if it wanted too. The owl looked back down at me but a little differently this times when I said that and then I waved and then I started walking. I got about a block down and suddenly I noticed a bird fly over me and land on a light near me. It was the owl. I finally realized and said heyyy all excitedly. I thanked the owl for coming with and kept walking. The owl would wait until I was so far away and would zig zag back and forth in front of me. Then I was approaching my porch and as soon as I put one foot on my porch, the owl flew away. I said good night one last time and went inside. This happened many years ago and I still often wonder about that night. What a beautiful owl it was. I think about why the owl decided to come with me? Was the owl watching my back or was it board? When I first said hi the owl acted like I didn’t exist, and then after I said it could come with it was like the owl understood…. strangest coolest thing I have witnessed. I still talk about that experience to this day. The owl kept a slight distance between the zip zags but followed me the whole way home and then flew off when I made it home. How beautiful!!! I didn’t feel scared. Quite frankly I felt quite at ease and it was a little bit more of an enjoyable of a walk.

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  3. Miranda

    I’ve seen two owls in my life. One the night my father in law passed, it was in the driveway and wouldn’t budge even after I honked and tried to get out and shoo it. The other the morning of my grandmothers passing, it was sitting on my back porch right up on the back door window, it too didn’t fly off for hours, even after my kids banged on the window.

    Reply
  4. Kaycee Mitchell

    My friend saw an owl die. The owl flew into through my friend’s open windows and landed in the middle of the road. As my friend went to help it – another car hit and killed it. To me this is a message but I am not sure what. I have yet to find any information about seeing an owl’s death as most articles usually talk about owls symbolism of death or transition.

    Wondering if anyone has thoughts on my friend’s experience.

    Reply
  5. Jocy

    Hi, I’m Jocy.
    Just this night, i was driving to my boyfriends house and as I was driving there was an owl right in the middle of the street and I saw it fly up and as I looked out it looked back 🙂 I had never even seen an owl so clearly and so close and I wanted to know if this was any sort of symbolism or maybe a loved one trying to give me a message

    Reply
    1. Constance Washington

      I saw a owl laying in the middle of the road. Not knowing what in was I turned around and stopped. The owl got up, looked at me . I then honked my horn and telling it to fly away so the other car wouldn’t hit it and it flew away into the woods. Since then I’ve seen it three more times. Flying over my car. On different occasions. I feel it was my son that passed away in December of 2017. I have a picture of it and I feel he was giving me a chance to save him and to let me know he’s watching over me. ☪️♾

    2. Carmen

      OMG…something very similar happened to me yesterday! I was driving and the owl flew down from the top of the tree where it was at too land in the middle of the road, I stopped it turned to I look at me and it flew back up to the tree. I, too, am in search of what that means.

  6. Charise Murphy

    It was a normal routine to take my dogs outside every morning. On this day as i stepped outside with coffee in hand standing. While my animals were looking for a place to use restroom. I look above the railings on third floor a owl was resting. As I looked up its head turn down toward me and eyes directly at me. I was shocked as I pulled my animals inside. Continued with my morning upon coming out of my apartment parents of my neighbors mother. As I heard a loud cry coming from outside to my surprise the woman said my son upstairs deceased. Which I couldn’t understand because before seeing that owl her son was seating on top steps with his head resting in his hands. So didn’t believe what I was hearing then she said it was meningitis. Scared my so because seeing the seating on the railing within inches from were I seen him. I always remember the eyes of owl and this mother’s cry often.

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  7. Johnn hummer

    Did everything go good?? I had a owl land right beside me standing outside Tuesday morning than last night at my job I was on break sitting on forklift outside n turn my he a and a huge horned owl had been suiting by me again first night it was screech owl ….it startled me cause sound of huge flapping wings when it flew off so yeah curious if everything went well with your sight? Thanks John hummer

    Reply
  8. Kehaulani tahi

    Hi my name is Kehaulani I’m in smithfield N.S.W Australia, for the last 5 evenings I’ve seen an owl in or around my back yard. It’s not often that I see one and I have in the past but 5 nights in a row?! Either something’s coming or someone’s trying to tell me something. Please let me know your thoughts.

    Reply
  9. Jennifer

    Hi I am curious about what the meaning is of seeing an owl. I live in California well actually to be exact in Lancaster CA about 30 minutes ago let me say right now is 10:55 I went out to move my car closer to my apartment as I was getting out I suddenly looked up and I saw a big bird very quiet it was brownish with with white I believe it flew so low and I kept staring at it as it flew right accross and juts desepeared into the darkness’s. I still can’t believe it what could this mean. Can anyone give me some kind of info thank you

    Reply
  10. Judie

    It was an “owly” day~walked to my exercise class and on the way home saw what looked to be a dead owl on the ground-then my husband and I went for a walk a few hours later and an owl flew right past us and landed in a tree and let us photograph him-on our walk back we looked for the “dead” owl and it was gone-then last night we went to a show and there were owls stenciled in the bathroom stalls. Woke up this morning having had a very vivid dream (although it didn’t make sense) about my dad who passed several years ago. Trying to connect any significance~any suggestions?

    Reply
  11. Wendy P

    My neice who is 22mo has seen an owl in our garage turned living area for extra sleeping room while I am here visiting .She sleeps down with me from time to time.I know there is no owl flying around ,nor perched anywhere .I am very certain that this something she see . I also know she is very intelligent yet owls are not an animal we have really taught her about I personally know of only one time and it is because she was uncomfortable about them on the show she was watching at the time just as she was last night when she saw her owl that I could not. Please any insight at all.

    Reply
  12. Ashley Witherspoon

    Last night, as I was wallking up the stairs to my apartment in the new home I just bought I looked up andnperched above me next to my door was a beautiful little owl staring straight at me. This was an incredible moment. I have seen owls in the past flying by and fro afar bu NEVER this close. We gazed at each other for a quite a while and when I went back outside to see if he was still there, he was. Not sure what this means, but I did loose someone very close to me in the recent past. I hope there is a connection.

    Reply
  13. Samii

    So I had an owl land right beside me tonight while outside talking on the phone. I’m currently pregnant & my boyfriend & I are on rocky terms had a huge falling out Tuesday but we’re working through them. I’ve been researching what it means for an owl to fly & sit right by you & I’m still unsure. I’m not sure if it has something to do with our baby, our relationship, or even a family member trying to contact me. It owl sat right beside me until I got up to walk inside. Only moved once & it was closer to me.

    Reply
  14. James

    My wife who works at a school in Florida had an EXTRAordinary experience with 2 owls. At about 6:15 am while still pre dawn she heard an owl above her by a light pole in the clear open treeless parking lot. As she walked towards the school another owl joined whooshing over her head and as they landed made a heart shaped sign with their wings. She said they looked at her directly on the ground for 5 seconds together as to say hello. They flew away after that. Since then she’s had multiple situations where one of the owls will immediately fly onto the lightpole to visit her as she parks her car prior to walking in to the school. As she gets close to entering the school she looks back only to see the owl fly away. There is something special about these visits she feels. Thanks for any input, James and Marie

    Reply
  15. Lisa from Chicago

    Dear, LJ
    I shared this article with my brother and his wife. They loved it. Specially the comment I left. I felt it was a special day when I met them for the first time. I wish I could of met them years ago. I still haven`t met my other brother yet who lives in CA. I do stay in touch with him by phone. Some day I know I`ll met him. Thank you for writing this article on the sighting of an owl. It is very fascinating. I`ll always feel honored, seeing that beautiful owl. A time in our life will never forget.

    Reply
  16. Lisa from Chicago

    Last year I found out I had 2 older brothers whom I never met before. From our mom. My oldest brother with his wife live in Az. Last spring I got to meet them for the first time. Wow! what thrill!
    The last evening staying with them, we were hanging out on their patio. They lived on the 2nd floor at an apt. Out of know where, this big beautiful gray Long Horned Owl. Flu on a roof and landed right across from us. We were shocked in awe. The owl was maybe about a 100 ft. from us. My sister in law was taking photos on her phone of him. I ran an got my camera snapped some shots right before he flu off. I got a cool shot of him looking at us. We were all amazed. What`s even freakier, they told me in the 14 years they lived there. They never seen an owl at the apt. complex. Ever. I told them, this has to be a sign from our parents. finally meeting one of my brothers for the first time. They lost their father years ago. We lost our mom last year. They must of sent that owl. In a way of showing us that they are there with us. What a fun time we had.

    Reply
    1. LJ

      Dear Lisa from Chicago: That is a wonderful, heart-moving story. It would appear that the owl is both your spirit animal and your power animal, as you sought the truth and found your family. The owl brings truth to the light even in the shadows of secrets and long-untold stories. This is a beautiful story and I have a feeling you will be writing more about it or at least sharing this story with others who will find it as intriguing as I did. I’m so happy for you.
      ~LJ

  17. NORA MAE MCFALL

    HOW DO I KNOW WHAT MY SPIRIT ANIMAL IS ? I AM AN AQUARIUS, MY BIRTHDAY IS FEB.4 – 1954..I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW,, I LIVE IN THE COUNTRY ,AND I SEE MANY DIFFERENT WILDLIFE ANIMALS IN MY YARD AND THE COUNTRYSIDE.

    Reply
    1. LJ

      Dear Nora Mae: It is believed that we do not seek our spirit animals, that they seek us. Since you live in the countryside, I would suggest spend some regular time outside either to meditate or just take a walk. Think about everyday stuff like you normally would and when that moment comes, you will just know. It’s more of a feeling that resonates through you. Perhaps you’ll be thinking of someone or something and a bird will fly in your path or a rabbit will seem to follow you. And then you can come back to the blogs and see if I’ve written about “your animal” next or not – if not, write me again and suggest what you’ve experienced. Have fun!
      ~LJ

    2. LJ

      Dear Nora Mae: We can have more than one animal as our spirit animal – is there any particular bird, animal, amphibian that you’re particularly drawn to? You can ask a psychic to assist you with a power animal reading. If I were doing a Native American astrology reading on you, then based on your birthday one of your animals would be an otter. Otters are intelligent, imaginative and intuitive to name a few aspects. Also, if you collect statues, of perhaps turtles, or owls, that would be another animal symbol for you to look up. I suggest getting a reading for the most in-depth look. Thanks.
      ~LJ

    1. LJ

      Dear Christopher: I’m suspecting that you haven’t been reading all of my animal articles, or you would know the answer to that question. LOL. Spirit animals are typically animals that appear to you a lot – perhaps in dreams, on TV even or come up in conversations. They show up when you need an answer to something. Power animals are spirits we invoke in times of need – being a bear when we need to be a bit more ferocious, or calling in the otter spirit when we need to be more lighthearted. Totem animals are spirit animals we have an affinity for or that we may collect, as one author put it – “like flamingos on your front lawn.” That’s the short of it – the uber-abridged version – there’s so much more to learn about our connection to animals and their spirits. Take a short journey and do your research – use meditation perhaps to find your animals. Ask yourself who you are most like in certain situations. It takes a bit of work, but it’s worth it. Or just keep reading my articles and see if any strike a bell. Thanks Christopher.
      ~LJ

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