Unlike lion tattoos which portray power and strength, owl tattoos are more cerebral, so to speak. Traditionally, owl tattoos symbolize knowledge and intelligence. This symbolism stems from Greek mythology in which Athena, the goddess of wisdom, is often associated with owls. Many paintings and statues commonly depict Athena with an owl.
Even in animated visual works, an owl usually represents a wise and intelligent character. A great example would be Owl from Winnie the Pooh, who acts as the wise elder that guides the other characters. For those who take pride in having a wealth of knowledge and consider themselves wise, an owl tattoo is a perfect design. No other animal-based tattoo design is a more suitable representative for wisdom, knowledge, and intelligence. Dolphin lovers might argue, though, considering dolphins are one of the most intelligent animals on earth.
Owls are often regarded as mysterious animals. This is because they are nocturnal animals who typically operate during nighttime. Humans seldom see them in their natural habitat, and perhaps the most reliable way to see them up-close while awake is to go to a zoo or an aviary. This is why owl tattoos also symbolize mystery, perfect for those who prefer to keep to themselves.
Due to their large, round eyes and their ability to see in total darkness, owls can also represent vision. Or, more poetically, an ability to focus on goals even during dark times. Not everyone comes with an unwavering focus. So if this description fits you, then an owl tattoo would be perfect for you.
Like other tattoos based on birds, owl tattoos also represent freedom. This makes them a great alternative if you find eagle tattoos too bold. If you want to get an owl tattoo in order to symbolize freedom, make sure the design depicts the owl with its wings spread wide open. An owl with its wings folded doesn’t really scream “freedom.”
In some places, owls are seen differently. For example, they are sometimes associated with witchcraft because people in the past once thought witches could shape-shift into owls. Some superstitions also depict owls as an omen or sign of death, which is why owls are sometimes used in horror films to give off an eerie vibe. There’s something about an owl’s hooting that makes it creepy. It’s like something is watching you in the darkness.
Owl tattoos are open to customization. You can have them in solid black-and-gray or in a colorful watercolor style. You can also complement them with different designs like a compass, a clock, or even a book. As for the location, well, it depends on the design that you go for. For an owl tattoo with folded wings, the biceps, legs, ribs, and forearms make excellent canvases. For an owl tattoo with open wings, the back and chest areas are recommended.
Here are the best owl tattoos for men.