The Ubiquitous Owl.
Symbol of darkness and of death and of night…the owl was also a
symbol of female wisdom. The owl was sacred to Minerva–Zeus’
favorite child–as well as Hecate and Persephone. The goddesses of
the underworld loved the bird that flew on silent wings and could see
where none other could. It was only Native American lore that
bestowed upon our owl the gifts of wisdom and divination. So then…
mes amis…why do we wear owls as jewelry? Why do we hold this bird in
such exalted esteem? Shall we try to find the answer together?
Perhaps the answer is in the effect this creature has had on man. Let
us pursue this tack why don’t we…and let us see where it leads. Of
the owls…the most feared was the screech-owl. The Chinese
associated the owl with evil and crime and death…as did the
Mexicans, the Japanese, the Egyptians, and the Etruscans. It’s call is
considered “the song of death.” No reason yet to love this little
Ovid…the greatest of the ancient writers…claimed that the screech
owl attacked children by night and tore their flesh and drank their
blood. He claims they are the descendants of Harpies…those
disgusting little flying creature that left behind in their wake a
disgusting stench sickening to all living things. Not yet a reason to
wear this little guy on your lapel…is it? Let us pursue the mystery
a bit further.
It is thought that owls may well be old hags that were changed into
owls by ancient curses or spells. Pamphile–a nymphomaniac witch for
which I could find only one reference…turns herself into an owl in
order to fly into the room of the youth she desires. Handy little
trick for the lustful…don’t you think? Lilith…a demon in female
form who was said to have intercourse with men in their sleep…was
also identified with the owl. Oh what a quaint little creature our
The Scots called the owl the Night Hag…the English the Blue Hag. In
Welsh lore…a flower-maiden named Blodeuwedd was turned into an owl
for killing her husband. Even good old King Arthur’s wife Guinevere
was originally called Gwenhwyfar…a/k/a the White One…associated
with the owl. So then…some of you may be wondering…with all
this…what indeed is the answer as to why we wear owls. And may I
say…you all have a right to ask that question. Alas my friends…the
answer is I do not know. I do not have the answer to everything.
Life…to me…as it may well be to many of you…is a mystery.
However…I do have a graphic of our little winged marvel. It was
created in the early 1900’s and has a pearl and an amethyst and is
made of gold. It resides today in a private collection. If the picture
is a bit ‘off’…it is because I worked from a very dark black and
white image. I hope you enjoy it.
So now…for those of you who are new to this thing called
Tidbits…may I direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com
where you will scroll down the table menu till you get to the box
that says Tidbits…and inside the box where it says Tidbit
Graphics…click on the link that says: Owl…where you will see a
rendering of our adorable little creature.
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
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