Wisdom and lore
Owls are one of the few birds to have been found in prehistoric cave paintings.
They have long been associated with life and death and today there are still many cultures that surround owls with myths. In ancient Greece, owls were seen as a symbols of good fortune and the idea of the owl as a wise bird may have come from the bird’s association with Athene, the goddess of wisdom.
Romans, on the other hand, believed they were omens of impending doom and it was considered bad luck to see one before a battle. Many famous emperors including Julius Caesar and Augustus supposedly had their deaths predicted by a hooting owl.
In Indian folklore, the number of hoots are believed to be able to forecast the future, whether it be death, good fortune or arriving guests.
In Tibet they are seen as divine messengers while some Native Americans see owls as protective spirits of the recently departed, or even the embodiment of gods.
Closer to home though, and the depiction of the ‘wise old owl’ is perhaps most recognisable.