Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Wisdom of the Owl in Our Darkness

The night before last, Frank turned on the television in our bedroom at 1:00 a.m.
That woke me and, once awake, I have trouble returning to sleeping.

I remained in bed and thought that I saw an owl perched outside our window. I was not certain if it was an owl and we have many birds that gather outside our window. Frank counted twenty doves the other morning. I decided to retreat to my Wine Room, which is where I read my prayers, and I first noticed a figure of an owl that I have atop the curtain rod next to the wine cabinet.
I thought about the renewed interest in owls since the Harry Potter craze and I pondered my own fascination and interest in owls.
For as long as humankind has recognized animals as teachers, wise men and women have recognized traits worthy of respect in both wild and domestic creatures. 
The cultural and spiritual significance of certain animals transcends geographical boundaries, unifying disparate peoples. Not so the majestic and mysterious owl, which has over many millennia served as the focal point of numerous contradictory beliefs.
Though owls have been regarded with awe and fascination, they have also inadvertently served as agents of fear. Since owls are nocturnal, human to owl encounters tended to occur at night and likely when the bird was swooping silently down to earth to grapple with prey. Yet even as some shied away from the owl, calling it an agent of darkness, others recognized the depths of awareness in beautiful owl’s eyes. 
Often owls are understood to be patient messengers, bringers of information, the holders of wisdom, and capable of seeing the unseen.
In the classical Greek tradition, an owl could often be found perched on the shoulder of Athena, goddess of wisdom, while owls could ward off bad luck in Roman lore.
It is in Native American mythos, however, that the owl attains its own unique identity. With their keen eyesight, it is believed that they can glance into the soul to discern meaning and motive, and they are totems of truth. Unlike our distant forebears, we may never encounter an owl in the wild, but we can nonetheless internalize the wisdom of the owl by attuning ourselves to its most venerable qualities. Fully integrating the insightful abilities of the owl into our own spiritual existence is a matter of considering how we might open ourselves more fully to the wisdom that can be found in the larger universe. 
Should we find our efforts blocked as we attempt to comprehend and commune with the owl, we need to remember that it was not always revered as an icon of wisdom. 
This creature of the night has overcome many prejudices in its long association with humankind. To reveal those hidden elements of the self that impact our lives for better or for worse, we must often make our way through the darkest parts of our souls as if we are the nocturnal hunter in order for us to overcome prejudice and obstacles.
There is indeed darkness both inside the self and outside the self. However, like the owl, we can transcend the darkness by drawing nourishment from the insights we receive once we penetrate it and allowing ourselves to shine as clearly as the eyes of an owl.

May your true heart shine through the eyes of your soul with the wisdom of the owl.

With love & light,


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