This week a dear friend gave me an owl feather. It is exquisite and I was completely taken aback by his thoughtfulness. We had met for breakfast, and as soon as we had ordered our tea and coffee he handed me a white envelope and said, ‘I have something for you but you may not want it.’
‘Not want this?’, I said after opening the envelope, ‘I absolutely love it, it’s amazing.’
‘Well’, he said, ‘I know you love owls and it reminded me of the time that we went for a walk and we saw that great-horned owl up in the tree’.
I do love owls.
I always have. I still remember receiving a delicate little owl pendant as a young girl from a family friend. It was made out of wood and had sweet little wings that moved and I wore it for many years, feeling that it was my totem without even understanding what that meant.
There is something so elegantly mysterious and sacred about owls.
When I was in university and was student-teaching a language arts novel unit on ‘Owls in the Family’ by Farley Mowat, in a grade 4 classroom, I recall being absolutely captivated. We learned about all the varieties of owls in our area, the kids wrote their own stories and journal entries about owls, and we even dissected owl pellets. Enthusiastically, I learned along with the kids. As with all of nature, owls are fascinating.
Also years ago, I did a fun journaling exercise where I needed to do a bit of a meditation/visualization and see if any archetypal figure came to mind. The image that immediately popped into my head was of Athena~ goddess of wisdom, inspiration, and courage. I didn’t know much about greek mythology and had to look her up, and was absolutely delighted to discover that she is accompanied by owls.
After that, in my mind, it was settled – I would collect owls as our relationship was now well confirmed.
Never did I dream that collecting owls would then mean seeing them on walks, teaching about them, and having friends unexpectedly hand me their feathers.
It’s amazing isn’t it, how we can find something in myth or nature that we are drawn to, and then actually find comfort and strength in imagining a connection, a kinship, that actually then realizes itself.
There is such magic to be discovered about ourselves in the very claiming and investigation of the things we love, and then such continued joy and insight in following the inevitable thread of beauty.
And nature offers us such a rich tapestry of symbols and creatures and living things – all modelling characteristics and qualities that seem worthy or intriguing or that we may even be searching to embody….
I love that owls see things that the everyday, daylight world does not ~and that they observe without imposing,
self-contained and wise.
Their air of mystery reminds us that we don’t need to know and understand everything.
And they suggest to us that there are gifts to be found even in darkness.
Recently, Olivia found the owl pendant among my jewellery and said to me, ‘mom, can I have this – I love owls.’