I’ve had the honour and privilege of hosting a family of Great Horned Owls in my yard this past year. I really began to notice their presence in the late autumn, and they made themselves well known to my family and I in the dark winter. I have a few enormous old grandmother spruce trees outside my bedroom window, and because it gets dark so early in the winter, the owls would get to hunting early in the evening. I would hear 2 distinctly different “hoo’s” and one day, I finally got to see these magnificent creatures. One was big and brown, who I later would find out is the Mama, and a slightly smaller silvery, white owl who I’d come to know is the father.
My family and I wondered if we would eventually see baby owls flying around. One day in early Spring I was having some tea on my back deck and saw both Mom and Dad owl sitting in the willow tress. By this point I have taken a million pictures of them and I’m sure they knew me as “the human” who showed an interest in them. On this day, they let me get closer than ever, and I looked into the Mama’s eyes for quite some time.
I went back in the house and carried on with my day. A little later on, I was walking my daughter out to the bus, and something stopped me dead in my tracks. Whatever that something was told me to go look under a particular Spruce tree, and so I listened to it and did. To my surprise, a little baby great horned owl lay shivering in the tall grass. I quickly scooped it up and it was the beginning of our adventure together.
I took it inside and put it in a warm blanket and made some phone calls to wildlife rehabilitation places for advice on what to do. We fed it some raw meat, kept it warm, and my husband went out and got a basket that he secured back into the tree. Up the ladder we went with baby and the Mama owl quickly swooped in to her babe. Success!
The spiritual significance of owls is profound. “Owl medicine is symbolically associated with clairvoyance, astral projection, and magic, both black and white… Since time immemorial, humanity has been afraid of the night, the dark, and the unseen – waiting fearfully for the first crack of morning light. Conversely, night is Owl’s friend…. Is it any wonder that in many cultures Owl is a symbol for wisdom? This is because Owl can see that which other cannot, which is the essence of true wisdom. Where others are deceived, Owl sees and knows what is there.” – Jamie Says & David Carson – Medicine cards
So being able to observe these predatory birds the last year has taught me so much about their essence – their medicine. In no particular order, here’s a few lessons I’ve learned.
- Owls don’t get involved in things that aren’t worth their while. When gangs of crows and ravens bully and harass them, they ignore them, or fly away. This for me translates to… its not about what they call you, it’s what you answer to.
- When you get stuck in life, too focused on the little things, rise up high and fly. See the bigger, whole picture. All the little stuff is just pieces of a bigger puzzle.
- Embrace and explore the darkness. The dark side of yourself, the world, your dreams, your shadow, the new moon… all of it. Darkness has so many uncovered gems.
- Listen with more than your ears. Listen with your gut and let your intuition guide you above all else. Listen with your heart, and read between the lines. Watch for the signs the universe is sending you. They are everywhere… all around!
- Don’t be afraid to spread your wings and let others see you in all your glory. It’s on thing to watch an owl sleeping, but it’s another game to watch it soar and do its thing.
- Sing your own song. Don’t tweet like a chickadee or caw like a crow when what you are born to do it hoot.
- Take long naps in the sun
- Don’t mess with Mama. I witnessed a murder of crows harassing mom owl near the nest this morning. I’m quite certain it could’ve taken them all down in a flash if it needed to. Even owls can channel bears when needed. Some traits run through all living things… don’t mess with a Mama and her babes.
- I would fantasize about having a relationship with these birds… and my dream came true. I guess the lesson is DREAM BIG and EXPECT MIRACLES!
“A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?”