Spiritual Meaning and symbolism of barn owl

symbolism of barn owl

Have you ever held a barn owl in your hand or on your shoulder? It is a beautiful and majestic creature, among others. The barn owl is also known by various names such as Owl, Strix, and Tyto Alba.

From ancient times to the present, barn owls have held special spiritual value in different beliefs. The symbolism of barn owl has a lot of diversity across various cultures, mythologies, dreams, tattoos, totems, and spirit animals. Let’s open the door to explore the spiritual symbolism of barn owl!

The spiritual symbolism of barn owl 

The symbolism of the barn owl, a magnificent creature, has many spiritual meanings and interpretations in various aspects, including:


The barn owl is a powerful symbol of wisdom due to its exceptional intelligence, heightened senses like ears like a hawk, night vision that’s as clear as a bell, and strategic hunting behavior. The cleverness of barn owls is known for being choosy, like a kid in a candy store, waiting for the opportune moment to strike precisely at their prey. They are good at remembering prey locations, have eyesight as sharp as a needle, and make selective vocalisations, which adds to their symbolic connection with wisdom.

In many popular cultures, such as ancient Greece with Athena and ancient Rome with Minerva, wisdom is linked to barn owls, who are often portrayed as academic figures, as wise as an old owl.

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The barn owl is symbolised as an excellent listener due to its unique ear placement, providing it with ears like a hawk, giving superb hearing capabilities. With one of the best hearing abilities among all animal and bird species, barn owls are really good at understanding and predicting the behavior of other creatures and their surroundings.

Mostly, barn owls prefer quietly listening to the songs of other birds, which spiritually teaches us that if you want to be good to others, you should lend them an ear without judging, pay attention, and give value to them. This is seen as a positive trait to adopt.


Barn owls are nocturnal hunters in low light, and that’s when they really burn the midnight oil, making their remarkable productivity stand out at night. They can catch over 30 mice to take care of their little owlets in a single night. Barn owl productivity drives home the message to be as sharp as a tack in achieving your goals, to be someone who can figure out things like a whiz, and to have a strong work ethic. Despite the abundance of owls, during the day, they usually rest and bide their time for the dark hours to hunt. It serves as a reminder to people to always be on the lookout for chances and to act quickly to take advantage of them.


The Barn Owl is a bird that relies on its intuitive sense for hunting, unlike others that follow their nose. When a Barn Owl is as quiet as a mouse, it is seen as an intuitive spiritual symbol that tells people to listen to their inner voice. 

Intuitive power is regarded as a super skill that helps us see more than others, understanding what’s on the surface and hidden aspects of human behaviour. If you encounter a Barn Owl, it might be a spiritual sign that you have a sixth sense to uncover hidden secrets and go beyond surface-level observations, just like how owls do.


Many people see the barn owl as a symbol of darkness because this creature stays awake at night with its nocturnal habits. Some folks believe that when the owl makes its eerie sound, similar to a woman screaming, it acts as a messenger from a mysterious place, representing the ups and downs of life.

As a symbol of darkness, the barn owl might remind us to watch out for hidden threats and problems. So, before anything happens, release negativity, overcome past problems, and take control of life’s difficulties. For those who consider this owl as a spirit animal, it may guide them to look for hidden truths or aspects in their lives, as wise as an old owl.


The symbolism of the barn owl is all about silence and quietness. Since creatures of the night, they are ideal companions for those who like being alone in peace. During hunting, these owls can’t make noise and usually remain silent, even when flying noiselessly; they only make noise when necessary, like when in danger. 

If you dream about a barn owl, it means it’s time for stillness and quiet. Listen to your gut feelings and intuition through practices like meditation and journaling. Also, the barn owl is linked with death. It doesn’t mean something scary but symbolizes the end of a phase in a relationship or job, indicating a transition into a quiet state where words are not important and hold no water.


The barn owl is imbued with mystique because it has special features like a round face, big eyes, and a face that looks like a heart-shaped mask. Owls, in general, are as mysterious as a locked room, and many people associate them with witchcraft and magic. The soft purring noise of their feathers or their screaming sound is especially mysterious, especially when heard at night, representing things we don’t know. According to some ancient mythology, people believed owls knew the secrets of the universe, watching every move of their prey in the dark, as mysterious as a riddle.

Tolerance And Discipline

Because of the way they behave in the wild, barn owls are seen as symbols of discipline and tolerance. It was seen as a warning sign of lethargy, indiscipline, and intolerance throughout the Middle Ages. If you come across an owl, it’s like a wake-up call to stay disciplined with a cool head and to be tolerant of other people’s mistakes, as patient as a saint.

Some additional interpretations and symbolism of the barn owl.

Barn Owl Symbolism

Barn Owl Symbolism

Aspect Symbolism
Guidance in Change Barn owls are like guides during times of change, helping you face challenges and become stronger.
Freedom and Liberation They represent freedom and liberation, suggesting a desire for more freedom in life.
Spiritual Vision People think barn owls can see into the spirit world, bringing messages from higher realms.
Special Insight Seeing a barn owl’s eye means having a special insight, being able to sense things that aren’t obvious and connect with divine energies.
Friendship and Clarity The heart-shaped face symbolizes true friendship. White stands for peace, and grey deals with confusion, aiming to bring clarity to loyalty in relationships.

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Symbolism of Barn Owl in Different Folkloric Cultures

barn owl meaning
barn owl meaning

Barn owl Native American symbolism

In Native American culture, barn owls are linked with mystical importance. As spirit or totem animals, they symbolise foresight, intuition, and a deeper understanding of the spiritual realm in the eyes of Native Americans. Different tribes interpret barn owls according to their own beliefs, so among them, some see the owl as spiritual wisdom, holding its secrets and spiritual wisdom close to the chest like a well-guarded treasure. In Native American mythology, the rattlesnake holds special significance. If you wish to explore the symbolic importance of the rattlesnake in Native American culture, click here to read this post.

Some tribes believed and saw these owls as protectors, especially for women and children. When the owl’s call resembles the voice of an older woman, it is like an oracle bidding openly, foretelling future events with an air of mysterious certainty, as if unlocking the secrets of time.

In certain tribes like the Hopi and Ojibwe, barn owls are regarded as messengers of death. When the owl screams, it is believed to predict someone passing, casting its ominous shadow over fate yet paradoxically symbolising wisdom if encountered. These beliefs in Native American tradition are deeply rooted and have persisted through many generations, standing like ancient sentinels guarding the sacred flame of cultural wisdom.

Many folks born under the owl sign (May 21 to June 21 in the Southern Hemisphere and November 23 to December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere) are believed to have a clever mind, think quickly, and communicate exceptionally well. It’s like the cosmic owl has handed them the keys to the kingdom of wisdom and eloquence, as per Native American astrology.

Barn owl European symbolism

In European folklore, barns are symbolised as mystical protectors who serve at night against evil spirits and creatures. They believed that an owl’s nest close to home would bring good luck, acting as a sentinel standing watch capable of warding off negative energies.

In Ancient Greece, barns were linked to the goddess of wisdom, Athena, but they were also seen as symbols of death. The belief was that their presence around could bring ill fortune or signal impending doom. Basically, according to European folklore, barn owls reflect dual-nature symbolism; on one side, they are considered protectors, spreading their wings like guardians of the night, and on the flip side, they might bring bad omens, carrying a shadow of uncertainty like a double-edged sword.

Barn owl Christianity symbolism

In Christianity, the barn owl has special spiritual meanings linked with hidden wisdom, symbolising spiritual maturity, akin to a beacon in the dark, as owls fly and hunt in darkness, revealing profound insights like a lantern in the night. For Christians, encountering a barn owl is considered a sign to focus on spiritual growth, as the Bible emphasises the importance of desiring spiritual maturity, urging believers to cultivate their inner gardens like careful stewards of the divine vine.

The spooky sound and quiet flight of the barn owl are considered symbolic lessons in Christianity. They teach us about achieving personal goals or spiritual growth with humility and encourage us to listen to God’s voice in calm and quietness. When encountering the spirit of an owl, whether it’s real, in a dream, or a picture, this symbolism encourages believers to face challenges, strengthen their faith, and examine their spiritual journey, as if the owl’s presence acts as a mirror reflecting the depths of the soul.

Barn owl Eastern culture symbolism

Like other mythologies, the barn owl holds significance and spiritual symbolism in Eastern culture. From ancient China to present-day Japan, the barn owl is revered as a symbol of mystery, magic, knowledge, and intuition. In some Japanese folklore, this owl is believed to bring bad luck and death, especially when it frequently flies over homes.

In Chinese Feng Shui culture, some people consider this creature as a spirit animal, particularly the white barn owl, seen as a symbol of wisdom for wise individuals and a protector, standing guard like a guard on the walls of ancient wisdom. According to a myth, a white barn owl’s eyes can protect against a jealous person’s bad luck. People in the East continue to be captivated by and show interest in these cultural beliefs.

Barn owl Celtic culture symbolism

Much like Athena’s owl in Greek mythology, Celtic symbolism about the barn owl is also associated with wisdom and knowledge. The barn owl has a special connection to the Cailleach, a strong Celtic goddess associated with death, wisdom, and the underworld as if holding the keys to the mystical realms like a gatekeeper of ancient lore.

For the Celts, they considered the barn owl as a divine messenger of important knowledge, encouraging people to inspire reverence and respect, especially in the context of the “Cailleach-oidhche gheal,” or the “white, old woman of the night,” as if the owl carried the weight of profound insights like a sacred courier on silent wings. Some interpretations view the barn owl as an omen of death. In general, barn owl symbolism in Celtic culture is seen as that of a spirit animal representing wisdom and divine messages.

A barn owl crossing your path means what?

Suppose a barn owl crosses your path and looks directly into your eyes. In that case, it might signify an unexpected change coming ahead on your way, as if the owl’s gaze is a harbinger of a storm on the horizon. It could indicate an impending conflict or disagreement with someone close to you, adding a dramatic twist to the unfolding chapters of your life.

In some cultures, spotting a barn owl is seen as a good sign, meaning something good might happen. It could also mean you’ll meet someone who will support you, recognize your skills, and bring good luck. Another idea is that if you’re feeling sad and then you see a barn owl, a guide is entering your life to cheer you up.

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Seeing a barn owl means what?

Seeing a barn owl frequently? Be careful of your surroundings. If you hear the owl screech, it might symbolise spiritually that your environment is not safe, a canary in a coal mine forewarning of danger. Thus, in order to protect your well-being, it is best to depart as soon as possible.

Conversely, some people think that encountering a barn owl is a positive sign. It hints at potential good things, such as discovering unexpected financial support or having someone caring to enter your life. All these explanations rely on personal beliefs.

Seeing a barn owl at night meaning

Seeing a barn owl at night is seen as a mysterious happening. Since the barn owl is a creature of the night, in this situation, if you spot an owl at night, it might indicate that a friend or relative from far away has come to visit you.

It also hints at revealing a secret part of your life, something you haven’t spilled the beans on. This nighttime meeting with a barn owl points to past experiences you’ve kept under wraps. The symbolism emphasises the importance of paying attention to what’s around you and showing your wisdom and awareness of the world, which earns respect from others.

Seeing a barn owl during the day

Seeing a barn owl during the day might be strange because they usually come out at night. This event could carry an important message for you like you’re having trouble, a sleep disorder, or feeling stressed. In Eastern folklore, some believe it’s a sign of good luck if they encounter an owl during the day.

During the day, if you see a barn owl, it might be a favorable sign or a discreet communication from the cosmos. People think such an encounter is significant and contains a crucial message from someone who has gone away.

Symbolism of Different Color Barn Owl

barn owl symbol
barn owl symbol

White color barn owl

Sightings of white barn owls are uncommon and are thought to be messages from the afterlife. Some people believe it’s a message from ancestors and loved ones who have passed, bringing good news and hinting at positive things like job opportunities or meeting someone who will positively impact your life. The white barn owl also symbolises rebirth, indicating your ability to make a fresh start and move forward even in tough times.

Here are some beliefs from different cultures about the white barn owl:

  • In Chinese culture, the white barn owl is considered a symbol of wisdom, akin to a pearl of great price.
  • In African mythology, the white barn owl symbolises protection, with the belief that their eyes have the power to deflect evil forces.
  • According to Arabic culture, the white barn owl is linked to being a messenger of God, prompting people to pay attention to the messages it brings, as if it carries divine words on its silent wings.

Black color barn owl

Have you ever encountered a black barn owl, whether in a dream or real life? In various cultures, the black barn owl is seen as a symbol of dynamic shifts. If you see this owl, it signifies transformative events are on the way, which might be exciting or challenging.

Among other owls, the black owl is closely associated with wisdom and knowledge. You might see or hear these owls near graveyards or at funerals, and that’s why this owl symbolises rebirth and is considered a guide that leads a soul to the next life after death.

Symbolism of barn owl feather

The spiritual meaning of barn owl feathers varies across cultures. In certain cultures, feathers are given as gifts and considered talismans that bring good luck. On the flip side, in some cultures, finding an owl feather at your doorstep, in your home, or somewhere, especially in the eleventh hour before something important happens, is considered a sign of death.

Barn owl meaning in dreams

Dream Scenario Interpretation
Flying away from you You might not feel like learning because things are going well for you now.
Flying towards you You need to discover more about yourself before moving forward in life.
Flying alongside a barn owl It means freedom, liberation, and being aware of new things. It shows you’re open to trying new stuff.
Finding a white barn owl feather This dream suggests you’re getting a gift or blessing from the spirit world.
Being followed by a dark barn owl It represents being scared of things you don’t know about yourself – the owl is like your hidden fears.
Owl-catching prey with precision It shows your power and potential. You can do great things if you focus and plan well.
Discovering a nest of barn owl chicks This dream means new beginnings and innocence. It suggests you’re taking care of a new idea or project.

Barn owl tattoo meaning

A barn owl tattoo can have various spiritual meanings, and its interpretation depends on the design you choose and your beliefs.

The first thing to take into account while interpreting barn owl tattoos is their color. A white color signifies purity and good fortune, while a dark color commonly symbolises mystery and hidden aspects. The second thing to consider is the pose or action in the tattoo. For example, the open wings of the owl in the tattoo symbolise freedom, and closed wings could mean wisdom or thoughtful contemplation. Similarly, feathers in the tattoo might signify freedom, change, or communication with spirits.

Barn owl totem

spiritual meaning of barn owl
spiritual meaning of barn owl

Here are some key characteristics of the barn owl totem:

  • Try to meditate on the owl totem to establish a connection with it. Using an owl photo, consider the bird’s appearance and meaning.
  • Locate actual owls and observe their way of life. You may do this by viewing films or documentaries.
  • Write in a journal to understand the messages your totem is sending. Surround yourself with owl pictures to make the connection stronger.
  • See a dream interpreter if you dream that you see a barn owl. Your subconscious and spirit guide may be sending you a message in your dream.


Is barn owl a bad omen?

In some places, the barn owl is considered a good sign, as it holds the key to a brighter future, signifying good fortune and spiritual growth. In other areas, the barn owl is a bad omen, weaving a tale of death and being linked to magic, witchcraft, and negative events. Whether it is considered a feather in your cap or a thorn in your side depends on what you believe and the culture you are in.

Barn owl power and Spirit animal

A barn owl as your power animal can support you by:
_ Develop intuition and inner wisdom.
_ Navigate challenges with courage and grace.
_ Transform and grow into your full potential.
_ Connect with the spirit world and deceased loved ones.
_ Gain insights through dreams and meditation.

Barn Owl is associated with witches

In ancient myths, medieval fears, and artistic depictions, barn owls became associated with witches. Although this superstitious perspective persists today, it dies a hard death, navigating from generation to generation and lingering in some cultures.

The barn owl is a wise, listening, and mysterious creature with spiritual meanings like wisdom, productivity, and tolerance. It guides us through life’s mysteries with its unique symbolism.

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