Owls come in many shapes and sizes. They are ambivalent birds in folklore, associated with positive as well as negative aspects. They are birds of the night, the moon, darkness, wisdom and witchcraft. In modern folklore the owl is considered a wise bird. This goes hand in hand with classical mythology, where the owl is the bird connected to the goddess Athena. But the Romans considered the owl an omen of death, putting the creature in a different ‘light’. In many medieval and Renaissance depictions of the owl, the meaning is almost the exact opposite – a foolish bird depicting the sins of the people.
There are many folktales about how the owl came to be – many of them have to do with unlikable to downright sinful women being transformed as a punishment…more