Owl Tattoos: Designs, Ideas, Meanings, and Photos
The owl is a beautiful and meaningful tattoo choice. Owl tattoos aren’t necessarily mainstream, but they are popular as they worn by both men and women. Often colorful and detailed, they commonly portray the owl alone, but may include other symbols and elements.
In this article, we will discuss owl tattoo designs and symbolism. We've included photos of some truly stunning owl tattoo designs. We hope that you leave inspired, with plenty of ideas for your next tattoo.
The owl is the wisest of all birds because the more it sees, the less it talks.— African Proverb
Owl Tattoo Symbolism and Design
Just like most animal tattoos, the owl tattoo has a rich symbolic value. The owl is a symbol of wisdom, knowledge, and transition.
The owl has been associated with many different ancient civilizations over time, all over the globe. The owl plays a part in Hindu, Egyptian, and Celtic lore and mythologies. These cultures believed that the owl was the protector and guardian of the dead and believed it was able to communicate with the departed. The Romans believed that an owl hooting atop a public building predicted the death of an important public figure. Because of this, the owl is commonly called the "angel of death" and was believed to guide or carry recently-departed souls to the underworld. For ancient Greeks, the owl was sacred to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom.
The owl was also symbolic to Native Americans who believed it was the guardian of sacred knowledge. They would also look to the owl to forecast the weather. Several cultures believed that the owl would accompany the soul in the afterlife and some believe if you see an owl in your dreams, it means that you or someone in your life will experience death.
When we take a closer look at the owl, we can better understand all the symbolism behind the animal. They are known for their large eyes and skillful hunting abilities. Their eyes are designed to see far in low light and they hunt quietly, barely making any noise at all when they fly, for they have evolved extra-soft plumage which gives them "acoustic stealth" and allows them to sneak up on their prey. Owls have a mysterious vibe, perhaps because they are nocturnal and rarely seen during the day. As most winged animals do, the owl symbolizes freedom, but they also represent vision, due to their ability to see so far at night.
You can do a lot with an owl tattoo. These designs look good in vibrant color or black ink, in intricate realistic detail or in abstract or cartoon design, as large or small tattoos; the owl can be sitting on a branch or flying, wings stretched out or hugged tight. Because of this, owl tattoos can be placed nearly anywhere on the body. Owls are often portrayed with other symbols: a key, a clock, a flower, whatever looks and feels right.
When designing your owl tattoo, take the time to explore the possibilities and find out what your tattoo artist has to offer. Make sure that you take the time to view as many owl tattoo designs as you can, as this will give you an idea of what is possible.
Night is purer than day; it is better for thinking and loving and dreaming. At night everything is more intense, more true. The echo of words that have been spoken during the day takes on a new and deeper meaning.— Elie Wiesel
Owl Tattoos: Meanings and Ideas
Considering the rich symbolic history and the colorful beauty of owl tattoos, it is no wonder that they are so popular. As mentioned before, both men and women can wear owl tattoos. If you want something cute, you could go with a cartoon design. If you're into something more serious, you could go for a fully-detailed realistic design.
Tattoo artists have gotten creative over the years and taken owl designs in many directions; you'll see owls with jewel eyes, or holding lanterns in their talons. The owl is associated with time, so it is not uncommon to see owls with clocks or hourglasses. Some parents have tattoos of baby owls to represent their children. You can have your children's names under the baby owls.
What Does an Owl Tattoo Represent?
Death (Literal or Symbolic)
Before You Tattoo
There are some important things you should remember before you get a tattoo.
- Make sure you take the time to research thoroughly before you decide.
- Make sure you know exactly what it stands for—you don't want to get a tattoo and find out later that it represents something different from what you thought.
- Don't rush to get tattooed if you are not sure! Make sure you are completely sold on your tattoo.
- Those that rush to get inked usually have regrets later on down the road. Remember, even with laser removal and cover ups, all tattoos can't be fixed. Make the right choice the first time around.
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat— Edward Lear
A wise old owl sat in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why can't we all be like that bird?— Anonymous