Friday, September 24, 2010
Legends of the Guardians
The Owls of Ga'Hoole
I just returned from indulging in an afternoon cinema adventure and was pleasantly entertained by the 3D version about owls. I always had an affinity toward these furry creatures and I found myself wanting to reach in the screen and take each one home with me. I think I may have been an owl in a past life and/or definitely have a few as my spirit guides. Today I share what I know about my little buddies.
Owls are nocturnal hunting birds that usually live and hunt alone. They are closely related to hawks. Owls sleep during the day and emerge at night to hunt small prey. Some owls can see well enough in sunlight to hunt by day as well as by night; however, the majority of owl species hunt for food at night. Most night-hunting owls have keen vision in the dark; however, some have such sensitive hearing that they rely very little on vision.
These owls locate and catch their prey in total darkness by listening to the rustling noise the animals make running through the forest. Owls are stealth hunters and their fluffy feathers give them almost silent flight. Owls eat mostly mammals. The larger owls catch rabbits and squirrels, the smaller ones catch mice, rats and shrews. Some owls hunt birds and insects, others have been known to take fish from shallow waters. Like hawks, owls tear large prey into pieces when they eat it. If the prey is small enough, they swallow it whole and later they cough up pellets of undigested bones, fur, scales and feathers. These owl pellets are found under their nests and roosting areas. The owl is at the top of the food web; it has no major predators.
Owls have a large head and large eyes that face forwards (unlike other birds, whose eyes are on the sides of their head.) This eye placement gives them binocular vision and very precise depth perception. There are circles of radiating feathers surrounding each eye, giving them a wide-eyed, alert look. Some owls have feathered ear tufts; these are not ears, but are a part of the owl's camouflage. Many owls have thick feathers that absorb the sounds that their wings make in flight.
There are about 145 different species of owls. They are found throughout the tropical, temperate and subarctic regions of the world and on many oceanic islands. The smallest species is the tiny elf owl, measuring about six inches long, that lives in Southwestern United States and western Mexico. The largest species is the great gray owl that lives deep in woods of Canada and Alaska as far north as trees grow. Gray owls grow to about 30 inches long and have a wingspread of up to 60 inches. Owls are unable to build their own nests and depend on cavities in trees.
Some familiar owls are Barn, Barred, Burrowing, Eagle, Elf, Great Gray, Great Horned, Long-eared, Northern Hawk, Saw-whet, Short-eared, Snowy, Spectacled, Spotted and Western Screech.
To our past ancestors, the animal held great spiritual power and symbolic meaning. In Native American culture, mythology and ancient civilizations, each animal is embodied with its own symbolic meaning and held its own spiritual power. A particular animal crossing your path had deep significance to your life and indeed a strong message to impart. The presence of animal wisdom may appear to you in a dream, on the physical plane or intuitively. We can also utilize and tap into the energy of animal guides around us to assist us in the daily challenges that life sometimes brings to our door. We can ask that we be imbued with the energy and strength and call forth the energy and spirit of a particular guide for their character and special abilities that is unique to that animal. We can utilize that energy to assist us in general life, or in a specific situation we may be facing. To the Shaman, the owl has many special energies, as the owl is a noble and powerful spirit guide.
The owl is a bringer of wisdom. The all-seeing owl possesses supernatural qualities and is often associated with intuition, clairvoyance and clairaudience. The owl's energy is at its peak in the very heart of darkness. When we are plunged into blindness and disorientation, he penetrates the darkness of the blackest night, seeing and hearing that which others cannot. The owl is considered a magical creature of the forest, enigmatic and powerful. If the owl is calling you, or you are aware of the owl being present in your life, dreaming or waking, you are being called upon to open your eyes, ears and mind to the truth of a situation; to listen to the wisdom deep in your heart and soul; that still, small voice is trying to reach you in some way; to assist you or help you in a current challenge you may be facing. Tap into the power of the owl by calling on your own intuition, listen to your own wisdom, for there is something you need to see or hear. As the owl is so strongly associated with the night time, his wisdom may come to you while you slumber. Take the time to be aware of your dreams or make a special effort to remember and write down any important dreams you may have. The owl is a messenger that can bring clarity and illumination.
The owl perceives truths that are unveiled thanks to its silent flight at night. An owl spirit guide is skilled in detecting untruths thanks to its acute hearing which detects what others do not. The legendary intelligence of the owl is indeed a characteristic of the totem and a Shaman with an owl spirit guide is an old soul with much wisdom thanks to this maturity. The symbolism on a totem includes the barred owl which is a very vocal creature that will duel with its mate, is gifted in speech and cooperative with others; the barn owl which is graceful and beautiful, can hunt at night using hearing alone, has the gift of clairaudience, excellent hearing and persistence in difficult situations; the tawny owl is an adaptable hunter, brave and bold, and offers ingenuity, courage and resilience; the little owl is a determined creature that will tackle prey many times its own size and is naturally persistent and optimistic. These are the traits of the spirit guide energies that you may wish to tap into.
I open my heart and soul to the truth
And ask that my life's journey be illuminated before me.
I ask for the wisdom to see
Even in the darkness of life's challenges
And the ability to manifest my true path. xo