Old Testament Rules about Owls

We have had a Barred Owl visit us several times in the middle of the night recently. She must be resting on our bedroom window ledge, 35 feet above the ground, because the sound is deafening as well as scary.  The first night we were both pretty freaked out wondering what the heck had just happened. It sounded nothing like an owl.  More like the shrieks of a monkey. Our Great Dane sat up in her bed, but did not make a sound. The next night we got several “hooo hooo hooo hoooooorah”s.  Who knew that owls had such a great repertoire of sounds? Recently, we’ve heard more quiet hoots.

I am a vegetarian so I wouldn’t think of eating an owl, but apparently it was once a thing in the ancient world.  So much so that a law was made.  The Israelites weren’t allowed to eat the run-of-the-mill desert owl, the little owl, or even the great owl (Leviticus 11:13-19). In fact, they weren’t allowed to eat any birds that weren’t vegetarians.

Every night now, I long to hear our owl, hoping she will come for a visit. The Romans believed that if you placed an owl feather next to someone sleeping, they would speak in their sleep and reveal all their secrets. The Greeks believed that the goddess Athena received her wisdom from the little owl that sat on her shoulder. The Ojibwe Native Americans tell the story of Little Red Feather, who the owls kidnapped and placed inside a tree because he made too much noise at night. His grandfather eventually convinced the owls to bring him home. Some indigenous tribes in Mexico believe owls carry messages from the dead to the living.

For me, she makes me marvel… as if the Creator was bringing her to my window just because the Creator knew how much I would enjoy hearing her call out for her lover at night.

April writes about scripture and spiritual practices. Check out one of April’s Books!

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