Are Owls Good Luck? Common Myths Explained

Updated April 13, 2022
Portrait of burrowing owl

Owls are powerful creatures in both the natural and spiritual worlds. Their unique traits and abilities, including turning their head in almost a full circle, have given them a mythical status in many cultures. Because there is so much superstition around them, the owl can be considered good luck or bad luck, depending on the belief system.

The Good Luck Owls

In some cultures, owls are considered very good luck. Whether they're prized for their association with knowledge or for their image as a protector, owls can bring good luck. In Japanese culture, the word for owls is Fukuro, which is written in characters that resemble the words luck and protection. Charming owl charms are popular in Japanese culture, as they believe owls are good omens.

When Are Owls Bad Luck?

There are cultures and superstitions that portray owls as a bad omen. Because owls are mysterious and are nocturnal, they generated fear in ancient times. As a raptor, the owl of these superstitions is seen as a predator and a destructive force.

Seeing Owl at Night: Is It Good or Bad Luck?

Based on mythology, seeing an owl can be either good luck or bad luck, depending on the circumstances. If you see an owl, it could also be an invitation to rely on your own inner wisdom. It's believed in some superstitions that it's bad luck to see an owl during the day and is an omen of a tragedy coming soon. In some Native American superstitions, owls were thought to be shapeshifters, or spirits of the dead who wandered aimlessly throughout the night.

Owls perching on branch

Mythology of Owls

In Greek mythology, Athena is the goddess of war and wisdom. She's depicted in owl form and an owl is both her familiar and the force that helps her to see the whole truth. This role of the protector and wise counsellor is assigned to the owl throughout Indo-European culture, but the ancient Chinese view of the owl is more nuanced.

Chinese Owl Culture

The owl was a totemic animal, central to the creation myths in the Shang dynasty (circa 1300-1046 BCE) and ubiquitous in sacred art recovered from sites dating back to Neolithic peoples as early as 5500 BCE. Ancient sculptures and legends conflated the owl (māo tóu yīng) with the dragon and the phoenix--a number of well-preserved clay, stone, and metal figures merge the attributes of the immortal phoenix with the fierce all-seeing owl.

The Magic of Owls

Owl qualities in Asia, as in classical Mediterranean cultures, emphasized wisdom, intuition (seeing in the dark), and the shield of protection. Owls have been associated with dark magic, based on their nocturnal habits and ability to hunt at night.

Are Owls Good Feng Shui?

Woman Holding Owl Figurine

Like other powerful animals in feng shui, consider the qualities of the owl and how you'd like to amplify them in aspects of your life and home. Owls can be seen as protectors in feng shui, and also as keepers of knowledge. Using a simple bagua map, you can find the most auspicious spot for your owls.

Owls in Pairs Bring Luck

The owl's twin strengths of safeguarding and intelligence shield against misfortune and physical threats, attract wise mentors, and stimulate visionary clear thinking. A pair of friendly owl figurines can also be used in your bedroom to enhance relationship strength.

Place Owls In the Home or Office

In your home or office, an owl figure enhances good energy in the career, knowledge, and the children and creativity areas.

  • A display of owls placed across your mantel pays tribute to the high regard for intellectual pursuits in your home.
  • A portrait of an owl in the fame and reputation or helpful people and travel area of your conference room may influence deals and negotiations to go in your favor.

Owl Symbol Placement Outside Your Home

The exterior feng shui owl is in protection mode, working around the clock to discourage misfortune on your property.

  • Outside a home or office, take care to place a decorative owl sculpture or a pigeon-hater owl (a resin or plastic lifelike owl designed to scare away pests) facing away from the house or front door/main entrance.
  • Use an owl placed to confront a busy street when the traffic flow is perpendicular to your home. The onrushing traffic creates a poison arrow that could lead to loss of health or prosperity. The presence of the owl deflects the poison arrow energy, clearing the way for only good energy-- positive chi--to reach the entry of your home.

Friendly and Fierce

A bulbous little owl figure with wide oversize eyes is as cute as a toy or a cartoon character and can bring joy to your home. More realistic sculptures with fearsome beaks and talons can be seen as menacing raptor omens and are best used to scare off harmful pests. For feng shui enhancements, beautiful or cartoonish owl art is the best choice to encourage positive chi in your home.

Are Owls Good Luck? Common Myths Explained