Owl Tattoos – Are Not For Everyone.

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Owl tattoo ideas are not so popular, as tattoos of other birds. Meaninig of owl tattoos is much more comlicated as it seems to be, that is why not every person decides to have one for themselves.
Since the ancient times chiefs and respected people used to make owl tattoos. It was considered to be not only the leadership mark, but also the sign of a high intelligence and wisdom. Only the oldest and the wisest tribe members could make such tattoo, which made others follow their lead and treat them with a special kind of respect.

indian owl tattoo

Such attitude used to be among the inhabitants of the Northern America. However, the bird is widely spread in others parts of the world, where owls got treated in the absolutely opposite way. Let’s take a look at the meanings of owl tattoos in other countries and ages.
The owl for many people all over the world became the symbol of a strong night and dark powers, as any night predator bird. It provokes fear with its eyes glowing in the darkness, swift silent moves in its flight and the grim sound of its voice. So, there are some obvious reasons, why the owl became the sign of evil in many ancient people, especially in China. Due to its night way of life people used to connect owls with dark magic, underworld, death and sadness. However, some nations gave the owl some positive meanings.

Rose Girl and Owl tattoo sleeve

Globe Owl Japanese tattoo sleeve by Jack Gallowtree

That’s why nowadays there is a contra versive general meaning of owl tattoos – wisdom and fear, loneliness, higher intelligence, sadness and happiness.
Ancient Celtic culture claimed owls the bird of corpse, the messenger of death. Chinese people also treated owls as any kinds of evil – devastating principals, crime, sins, misdeeds and death itself. Also, Chinese people believed that owls have a habit to peck eyes of their mothers. In other words, there were no more unreasonably evil bird, than the owl.
And Indians, or native Americans worshiped those birds, giving owls only positive meanings. Owl used to be an embodiment of the great wisdom and worked as a quite good charm. In the ancient Greece and Roman mythology, owl used to be a companion of Athena – the goddess of wisdom, strategy and knowledge. Owl was considered to be a profit (probably due to its night vision ability) and in this context it was engraved in greek coins. That’s where all European tales about the wise owl came from, and all the modern wisdom associations as well.

Owl and Themis tattoo sleeve by Three Kings Tattoo

The bird with such a night lifestyle drew a lot of attention to itself, as it’s hard to spot, not speaking of catching it. In early Christianity, this bird was connected with witchcraft as a symbol of spiritual blindness, ignorance and lack of faith. However, in the Hinduism the owl was chosen to symbolise the cosmic spirituality. Among African people meaning of owls again is just negative. On Madagascar, it is believed that owls gather with witches and dance of the graves. And people of India thought that owls lead souls of dead to the underworld.

Cool Flower Mehendi Owl tattoo in Thigh Red and Black Owl Blackwork tattoo by Tantrix Body Art

In Mexico, an owl was a symbol of night and cold. In Egypt, it was also considered to be the bond between our world and “the other side”. In Japanese culture, the same as in Chinese one, the appearance of the predator was considered to be a bad sign. And modern goths believe that owl symbolise the restless soul.

mexican owl tattoo2 Owl and Skull Chicano tattoo by Ollie Wallace

mexican owl tattoo3 сайт

SKull body Owl Dotwork tattoo by White Rabbit Tattoo  Owl Skull Dark Arm tattoo

Skeletons and Owl Couple tattoo sleeves

Nowadays all those different meanings mixed up. And the tattoo idea’s sense depends on the way the object is drawn, rather than on the bird itself. So, different tattoo styles provoke different emotions and feelings.

First of all, it’s necessary to mention the old school traditional owl tattoos. This style remains rather popular and tattoos here has a purely symbolic meaning. In the case of the owl tattoo ideas – it can range from the darkest to the meaning of wisdom and enlightenment. It depends on the tattoo owner.

Awesome Heart Holding Owl traditional tattoo   Flower Eyes Owl New School tattoo by Chapel tattoo

Owls are also very popular in the new school tattoo style. Here, due to the absence of limits in techniques and rules, tattoos with owls can be different – cute and funny, till those who suggest the world’s order and cosmic spirits.

Clock One Eye Owl New School tattoo by Illsynapse

Owl Clock Chest tattoo by The Art of London

Razor Owl New School tattoo idea on hand Chest Owl attacks tattoo

Enlightened Owl traditional tattoo

In styles based on usage of black inks, like they do in blackwork, dotwork, all tattoos usually gain some shades of sadness. That’s why to read the owl tattoo in those style you would want to refer the negative senses described earlier.

Curious Owl on Leg Cool Flower Mehendi Owl tattoo in Thigh

Owl Watching Sea Death Dotwork tattoo by Ien Levin

Flying Owl Realistic tattoo by Westfall Tattoo

Watercolor colorful owl tattoos are rather the inspirational one as the whole style is.

Amazing Owls in Space tattoo by Liisa Addi Kask

The meaning of the owl tattoo nowadays is good mostly. The image of this bird can be treated as a sign of wisdom. independence. freedom, knowledge and mystical nature of the owner of the owl tattoo idea. Often owl is associated with time, as they live long, and to underline that particular meaning of the owl tattoo artists draw them beside of clocks.
Owl tattoo ideas with unusual eyes are also very popular among the artists – instead of usual eyes, tattooer makes them with diamonds, clock faces or something else according to the client’s desires.

Moth Lantern Holding Owl tattoo by Led Coult Maple Leaf Owl Realistic tattoo by Agat Artemji

Realistic Owl Full Back tattoo


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