Animal Spirit and Medicine: Owl Medicine, Totem

Have you ever been captivated by the mysterious allure of owls? These enigmatic creatures are more than just striking figures in the night. In the realm of totemic wisdom, every owl carries a unique message, a special medicine that speaks to us in profound ways.

Each breed of owl, be it the ethereal Snowy Owl or the common Barn Owl, holds its unique wisdom. But what’s truly fascinating is that there’s also a shared wisdom, a common thread of insight that weaves through every owl species.

So, whether you’re drawn to a specific breed or the owl as a whole, remember to listen to both of these voices. The unique whispers of each breed, and the shared song of all owls. Together, they form a symphony of wisdom that can guide us on our journey. Let’s spread our wings and delve into the world of owls together.

Messenger Between Planes

Messenger Between Planes

Like all Bird Totems, the Owl is considered to be a Messenger Totem, responsible for carrying messages from the Blue Road of Spirit to the Red Road of Physical Life.  As such, he/she delivers omens, messages, and information from the Elders to us of the Two-Legged as we journey along this Earthwalk.

As mentioned above, there are a wide variety of breeds within the Owl family, and while it is important to consider the specific keywords and Medicine particular to each sub-species, it is equally important that the keywords that are common to all Owls be kept in mind.  As this pertains to the Medicine of Messenger, each owl will manifest this Role differently.

For instance, the Snowy Owl is the Animal Spirit that is a Messenger who is responsible for carrying Wisdom from the Elders, and the two-legged beside whom Snowy Owl flies will have the gift of Channeling the words of the elders via inspired written words or automatic writing.  By contrast, the Great Horned Owl is the Messenger that Portends new cycles and the vehicle through which the two-legged beside whom Horned Owl flies will receive their messages is most often via the gift of Clairaudience.

In assessing what the specific Role is assigned to each sub-species of Owl and blending that with the General Role of the Messenger, the two-legged beside whom the Owl flies may better embrace and fulfill the unique Medicine of carrying messages between planes, assisting both the evolution of his/her soul and enlightening their fellow two-leggeds with Wisdom carried over from the Higher Planes and dimensions.

Sight Beyond Illusion

One of the principal characteristics that all Owls are recognized for is their large and alert eyes.  As most Owls are nocturnal creatures (active at night, and sleep during daylight hours), their eyes must be able to accommodate this lifestyle.  In response, Nature has outfitted these splendid creatures beautifully, giving them binocular vision and to have the capacity to penetrate the darkness in search of food and to alert them to any threat or encroachment upon their territory via the specialized cones and rods of the retina which allow in greater amounts of light in the darkest of conditions.

Much like their Animal Totem, the two-legged beside whom Owl flies will possess an uncanny ability to penetrate beyond the masks, untruths, “white lies” and deceits of others to see the Truth of the matter, individual or experience.  Depending upon which breed of Owl one journeys around the Sacred Hoop with, this insight may or may not be shared directly with Others.

For instance, if one has Screech Owl as a Totem, then the human counterpart is not only to be able to see beyond a mask worn, but part of their responsibility is to share this insight with the person from whom the information has been gleaned.  If the breed of Owl is the Barn Owl, then the knowledge is there to either be transmitted via thought to the subject of the scrutiny or to be kept for information purposes only by the Owl Soul.

Again, by looking not only at the broader implications of this Keyword as it relates to Owl Totems in general but to the specific manifestations unique to each breed, the two-legged blessed with this most perceptive and intelligent of Totems may better align with his/her own Life Path.



Throughout the ages, the Owl has been a symbol of Wisdom from many tribes throughout North America to ancient Greek and Roman mythology, Owl is synonymous with the Gift of Higher Knowledge and insight.  In Greek mythology, Athena (the Goddess of Wisdom) was often seen with an owl either perched atop her shoulder or flying along beside her.

The large eyes of these beautiful birds certainly seem to reflect an otherworldly knowledge and wisdom, their stare is direct and penetrating as though they see beyond the masks that are presented to them to the truths that lay beneath.  Likewise, the one beside whom Owl journeys will be gifted with higher wisdom.  In some instances, this is reflected as one who has attained great academic heights in traditional educational systems and universities, yet more often than not, Owl Wisdom is forged via life experiences that are later transmuted into greater understanding.

At times, this Wisdom is boldly shared and the two-legged blessed to have the companionship of this Totem will often be sought out for advice.  At other times, this Wisdom is very circumspect with the human counterpart reticent to impart the depth of their Knowledge to others out of either a lack of self-worth, or born in the sense that their Wisdom will not be fully understood or embraced, and so they chose to remain silent. For the one beside whom Owl flies, the Gift of Wisdom is a lifelong quest, and within the hearts and minds of these souls is a never-ending desire to know more.

Often, they are voracious readers and will feel a little unbalanced when they are not entertaining their minds enough which may eventually manifest as physical and/or emotional ailments, hence it is vital for their sense of equilibrium to challenge their minds via new studies, reading stimulating books or taking up new endeavors that will later be fashioned from the base material of knowledge into applied principles that become another wellspring of Owl Wisdom.



As an Animal Totem, the Owl, with its ability to cross from the plane of the Red Road of Physical Life to the Blue Road of Spirit, symbolizes the continual state of the Soul`s Transformation.  As such, these Animal Spirits have been associated with the process of Reincarnation, or the evolutionary process of the soul as it enters into the Great Schoolroom of Life.

Our souls exist as an eternal spark of energy that then chooses to enter the Sacred Hoop via taking up the Robe of Physical Life.  With each successive incarnation, we inhabit a new body, traverse the Medicine Wheel absorbing a new set of Life Lessons unique to each experience, and then transition from this physical plane once more as pure energy.

It is believed that at this point, as the soul journeys along the outer rim of the Medicine Wheel, we review the lessons that have been learned and absorbed from the “life” left behind, and next examine what Lessons & Goals we have yet to fulfill, as well as what Gifts might we bring in with us to assist the All.  At this point, we then re-emerge once more on the Hoop at the Golden Doorway, arriving in a new body with a new set of Life Lessons.

For the one beside whom Owl Journeys, there will be an innate understanding of the recurring cycle of Life, Death, and Rebirth.  Often the Owl individual will have very intense past-life connections and memories.  These will either be subtle nuances that draw them to places and individuals to whom they feel an immediate bond or the memories of lives previously experienced will be brimming so close to the surface that they will often surface as very vivid dreams and conscious recollections.

Equally, it is also quite likely that this same gift for seeing/feeling other lifetimes led will be transmitted to being able to offer insight into the past lives of Others, affording assistance in the understanding of Lessons learned, those still needing learning, and any “karmic” balances left unchecked.

This is a fine line however, as the challenge here for the Owl Soul is to not become so engrossed by memories and fascination with lifetimes past that they lose sight of their Now, for although the past serves as a reminder of where we have previously walked, the soul lessons we have learned and the connections we have made, the focus of the Soul must always be in going forward and embracing with the enthusiasm and trust of an innocent child, the here and Now.



The Owl is thought to be one of the several Animals blessed with the Medicine of Shape-shifting, that is the ability for them to change their form from that of the Owl to a human form, and back again.  With the Owl, in particular, this shape-shifting ability is closely linked with Lunar Magic since this beautiful creature is a sister to the Moon.  In observing the phases of the Moon, we witness ever-shifting and changing cycles that affect all within the domain of Luna, including the inhale and exhale of the Ocean`s waves.

Much like their Animal Totem, the two-legged Owl as an animal ally will shift and transform itself like the waxing and waning phases of the moon and the ebb and flow of the ocean`s tides.  It isn’t so much that their emotions are like shifting, restless sands as they are always partially attuned to the calls of many different planes and energies.

If this tendency to be completely open and receptive is not monitored, some measure of protection is taken to guard against becoming drained or distracted, such heightened sensitivity can lead to mental, emotional, or physical exhaustion.  Yet when the delicate balance between grounding and receptivity is found and practiced, the Owl Soul takes flight into a higher form of awareness, intuition, and Light.

Spirit of Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl – Totem Sister to Red-Tailed Hawk

The large eyes of the Owl appear to miss nothing as they glimmer into the night, and indeed their vision is amongst the keenest in the animal kingdom, the rods, and cones of their eyes designed in such a way as to allow the smallest amount of light to penetrate through the veil of darkness in search of prey.

This uncanny vision has earned the Owl the reputation of being able to pierce beyond the veil that separates the physical world from the spirit world, a reputation that as an Animal Totem is well deserved.  Yet in filtering out the light from the darkness, Owl reminds us that both exist simultaneously and that it is up to us to recognize both.

For the two-legged beside whom Owl flies, the implication of the Gift of such penetrating sight is highly significant, for there will exist the ability to see beyond the masks that are worn by Others to the true face beneath.  This ability may also be nurtured to give the Owl Soul greater insight into the lessons which exist cocooned within every encounter and experience they face while on the Earthwalk.

What the Owl individual does with information received via higher “sight” or intuition, is dependent upon both that person’s level of maturation as well as upon other Primary Totems.  For instance, if one has Owl as their Power Totem yet also has Lynx as a Mission Totem, then the knowledge and insight indicated by both of these Spirit Animals will be kept private and shared in subtle & unobtrusive ways with the person who the information has been gathered about if spoken at all.

On the other hand, if the Mission Totem of the Owl individual is Black Panther, then the information garnered will be spoken directly to the individual involved, then perhaps later utilized as an example to Others regarding the lessons inherent in that “knowing.”

When the Owl’s soul is not sufficiently mature, or there exist underlying and unresolved issues, the information gained can be either used against the person who has been “sussed,” or the personal details may be shared with others who have no business in knowing such details.  Though most Owl individuals are strictly confidential by nature, there are a few that can`t seem to resist sharing what they know freely despite a breach of confidence.

Yet for the Owl individual that is operating from Higher Intent, their code of ethics and confidentiality will guide them through the decision of whether or not, and how much, of the information received is meant to be shared with the one whom they have unmasked.  These are the souls that constitute some of the finest clergy and therapists, as their insight into human behavior and penchant for confidentiality and respect for privacy engender deep trust in those whom they have been sent to assist.



It has long been believed that the Owl and the Hawk are closely connected and enjoy a symbiotic relationship.  Each has dominion over a territory and shares that realm, the Hawk akin to the Sun god Apollo who rules the day, with the Owl the counterpart of the Moon goddess Artemis who rules the night.  Most owls are nocturnal (meaning they are awake and active during the night) and Hawks are diurnal (active during daylight), so this mythological correlation is not far from reality.

During the day, the Hawk flies throughout the territory, keeping the boundaries free of encroaching threats and trespassers while hunting for food.  Hawk`s patrol of the territory is relinquished at dusk as he journeys to sleep, while Owl awakens to begin her night duties.  In this manner, though they seldom (if ever) directly interact, Owl and Hawk are never the less closely linked to one another and their environment.

Each distinctive member of the Owl family is thought to be a counterpart of the Hawk family, for the Great Horned Owl, the counterpart is the Red-Tailed Hawk  By looking at this member of the Hawk family, one with the Great Horned Owl as a Totem may also gain some further insight as some of the keywords that apply to the Hawk will also ring familiar for this Owl as well.

In the Red Tail, the Kundalini energy is a powerful energy source that flows through that beautiful raptor.   Some envision the Kundalini as a powerful sexual energy, yet to view its potential only thus, is to limit its true breadth and power of this fundamental energy, for it is then keeping that energy coiled at the base chakra (sexual center), rather than encouraging it to reach further and higher.

At the time the energy is awoken, it begins to rise through the other six energy centers (chakras).  As it passes through each of these chakras, the lessons, issues, and areas of our lives which are symbolized and or governed by these energy centers, are opened for our acknowledgment through the process of Conscious Awareness.  Thus, when the Kundalini has completely uncoiled, its energy unfurled along the length of the spine and flowed easily through all seven energy points to emerge through the top (or Crown) Chakra, a state of Enlightenment is experienced.

Likewise, for Horned Owl, the Kundalini energy may not be quite so strong or of such focus, yet there will nonetheless exist within the Owl Soul a deep sensuality that will need to find free expression.  If this sensuality has been repressed due to early environmental conditioning, then there is a good likelihood that the individual with this Totem is not fully expressing themselves in other areas of their life as well.

If such blocks from expressing themselves can be removed, the Great Owl Soul will truly begin to unfurl under the Light of self-acceptance and personal freedom, giving the soul wings with which to fly to newer heights of Self-Expression and releasing a deep power that will otherwise lay dormant, one of the key lessons that the counterpart of Hawk can bring to these wise souls.

Harbinger of New Cycles

Harbinger of New Cycles

Birds and Raptors are recognized in Earth Medicine as Messengers with the type of message and method through which these messages arrive, being unique to each specific breed.  With the Great Horned Owl, it is believed that he/she arrives as a messenger heralding Change and New Cycles.

Perhaps it is her close connection to the Moon with its constantly shifting and changing cycles that are at the root of this particular Medicine, but the fundamental power of this Owl`s ability to alert us to Change and Growth is highly significant when one learns to hear and listen to, the messages this beautiful and wizened creature brings.

When one is blessed to have Great Horned Owl as one of their Primary Totems (Power, Theme, or Mission), there will be an emphasis placed upon cycles and new beginnings.  Frequently throughout the life of these individuals, circumstances will thrust upon the two-legged change that will often initially arrive (or be seen) as “forced.”  In reality, the changes occur as part of the process of growth and learning, a part of the process of continual renewal and rebirth, key components to New Cycles.

If the Owl Soul resists such change, the consequences may be quite profound and often very painful, and this arrives to teach the Owl individual the importance of relinquishing control and embracing in faith, the change that is so much a part of their Earthwalk.  In this way, each transition that later occurs in the life of these sensitive and perceptive individuals may then be embraced and seen as the opportunities for growth and evolution that they truly offer, rather than seen as a threat to their basic security.

If this soul can tap into that intrinsic part of their fundamental nature that is excited and stimulated by such change, then they begin to realize their potential in a much broader and deeper sense and are willingly able to let go of models of behavior, thinking and feeling that have out served their usefulness, and step into the light of a new day.

Once the one beside whom Owl flies embraces, with an eager and open mind/heart, the changes they will frequently face, this ability to recognize such transitions as a fundamental cornerstone of new life may be transmuted into assisting Others through their moments of upheaval and accelerated growth.

This ability may be honed into one of intuitively picking up on when new cycles are beginning, and then assisting themselves (and their fellow humans) through the moment of transition that exists in the golden doorway which separates the old from the new.  In this manner, the Owl soulfully embraces the Medicine of Harbinger of New Cycles and aligns him/herself with the beauty of their Life Path.



One of the physical characteristics that easily distinguishes the Great Horned Owl from other members of the Owl family is the tufts of feathers that resemble ears or “horns.”  These remarkable feathers that set this Owl apart, are the reason for the Great Horned Owls namesake.

It has not been established whether these feathers are merely adornments to attract mates, or if they serve a biological function such as increasing and/or filtering sounds as they travel through the air and to this beautiful bird’s ears.  Regardless of their function (if any), these feathers create a signature appearance for the Great Horned Owl that is also closely linked to his/her Medicine of Clairaudience.

For the two-legged beside whom Great Horned Owl flies, there will be an inherent focus on communication in all forms, but as good as these individuals are at speaking and writing, they will also make excellent listeners.  These souls are the best of friends, providing a listening ear and excellent advice that is based on their own rich experiences.

Likewise, music is deeply stirring to the Horned Owl Soul and they can often elicit healing experiences for themselves by listening to some favorite music, or (if other creative Totems travel beside them) they will be gifted themselves in musical endeavors.

This responsiveness to sound is a reflection of the Horned Owl`s elongated head feathers that resemble ears, and hence much of life is processed through what these individuals hear.  Often, they will pick up subtle voice inflections and tones that will alert them when another is attempting to deceive them though the process may be so quick and automatic that they may not even be aware of this acuity.

Another form that this ability to “tune in” takes on is Clairaudience.  Where a Clairvoyant can often see other realms, alternate futures, realities, spirits, and all manner of that which unseen to the average two-legged eyes, a Clairaudient will have the ability to hear messages that will elude Others.  This ability may be somewhat startling for those Owl individuals who develop this talent later in life, rather than being born with it, as often the Gift will arrive as a result of an accident or a by-product of delving into spiritual and mystical philosophy.

In the instances where the individual has been born with this talent, there is not so much trauma attached to the talent, but for those to whom the blessing of Clairaudience comes later in life, naturally, the emergence of this gift can be quite alarming.

Much stigma has been attached to individuals who “hear the voices” of departed relatives, spirit guides, and others who speak across planes, with accusations ranging from “fantasy” to schizophrenia being leveled against individuals who are often fearful of coming forward and acknowledging such unique abilities.  So long as no medical or psychological factors are the key behind the sounds and voices heard, the Great Horned Owl would do well to acknowledge and heartily embrace this Gift, for it has been given by the Great Mystery for a reason.

If the talent has remained thus far dormant, then it may be that the Soul beside whom the Great Horned Owl flies still receives messages, yet instead of “hearing” the words spoken, the messages will arrive in the form of vivid dreams and strong intuition.  By embracing this talent with a humble acceptance and enthusiasm to be of service to his/her fellow two-legged, the Great Horned Owl soul matures fully into their unique and mystical heritage.