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6x6 relief carved ceramic Celtic Owl tile
Available at http://earthsongtiles.com/
Owls are one of the oldest types of creatures alive today. Fossils have been found showing owls already existed as a distinct lineage some sixty million years ago. By the time human evolution began owls were already well adapted, masters of their environment in almost every part of the world. People have always beheld these magnificent birds with awe and wonderment. Intrigued by their mysterious nature there have been and still are many stories and beliefs surrounding the ability and behavior of owls. Many cultures hold owls to be powerful symbols of both wisdom and protection, believing them to possess physical strength and cognitive powers far surpassing that of any other creature. They are also associated with the nurturing, maternal forces of nature by way of their deep connection to the moon. Metaphysically able to see through the darkness of time and space as they can see through the dark of night, an owl’s real strength of vision comes not only from their extremely good eyesight, but also from advanced and complex capabilities of perception. The goddess Athena found the owls ability to look into the soul and subconscious a great asset, for it helped her to know and speak full truths as only owl could see it. It is in the form of a great white owl that the moon goddess Arianrhod is said to spread her protective wings over the night bringing peace, safety and solace to all who beseech her. In eastern lore the goddess Lakshmi, known as a keeper of spiritual and maternal prosperity as well as for her loyalty and beauty rides upon an owl which symbolizes many of the same blessings as the goddess they carry. The owl’s connection to the spirit world and dark often leads them to be associated with aspects of death and reincarnation and in many cultures their ability to fly silently is attributed to them being either part or all spirits themselves. They represent the North and the North wind in the Native American Sacred hoop tradition. Whether the owls silent flight, stealth, agility, superior eyesight, hearing and ability to camouflage to near invisibility is due to their spiritual status or not, they are at the very least a marvel of evolution deserving of respect and reverence. Should we neglect to give that respect and recognize their entitlement to the earth as their home, one should hope they truly are spirits, able to transcend the boundaries of life and death, an evolution which would enable them to survive humanity, the only threat to their majestic existence.