The iconic image of an owl never fails to fascinate the imagination because of the rich array of symbolism attached to the elegant bird. As a bird with rare flight, nocturnal monarchy, large and alert eyes and with a silent yet deep resounding voice, the owl symbolizes deep wisdom and is a perfect specimen for an appealing tattoo. Unfair negative connotations attached to the bird are rooted to the fact that the bird is a nocturnal creature that is always busy at night. On the other hand, favorable impressions about the owl can be is due to its physical appearance, including the possession of large, shiny and curious eyes. Owls are extremely sensitive birds, which their modest flying betrays. Their eyes cannot stand exposure to light but are best suited in the night where sensitive eyes are required. The final verdict on the merits of owl tattoos will depend on the bearer and the cultural beliefs.
Most tattoo owners are believers of magic and they associate their body decorations with some mysterious form of force that helps them in their daily undertakings. Whether psychologically or in truth, tattoos had helped individuals boost their confidence levels. As profound and mysterious as its magic, the owl is associated with the night and a deep wisdom that radiates from the deep unknown, a realm where the owl can comfortably connect. Owls are a common decoration in ancient book of spells.
There are also rare occasions when people use owls as a means to represent death. The term angel of death is a term coined to identify owls, which is mainly due to their association with nighttime. While a few cultures view them as an omen of imminent death, the vast majority of logical cultures view the owls in a clearer and brighter light. These cultures believe that owls can freely move between life and afterlife. The ability empowers owls to guide souls from one realm to another, a protective duty appreciated by individuals with owl tattoos.
Types of Owl Tattoos
The design communicates the message and should be attractive and elegant at the same time to give pride of ownership. Owl tattoos are versatile in both color and monochrome, at still or in motion. Tattoo designers showcase their craft to the highest level when requested for owl design motifs. The most popular owl tattoo designs include the following:
Barn Owl Design
This design is particularly impactful to onlookers who are amazed with the white feathers of the snowy owl. The prominent physical features of the bird add an air of dignity and elegance. The design successfully fulfills the true purpose of the tattoo-that is to let the viewer appreciate the beauty of the tattoo and the associated mysterious virtue associated with the barn owl.
Owl with Hourglass Design
The origin is vague but owl and time has for a long time been associated hence the hourglass motif. Some individuals request for a baby owl figure to emphasize and represent their love for their children and the names of their children are even included in the design.
Tribal Owl Design
A popular design option that touches on the Native American Culture, whose design inspirations include turquoise, coral and dune colors to create an earthy and spiritual template. Members of this culture view the owl as a sign of impending misfortune including death. The belief may have originated from the nocturnal lifestyle of the bird. The bearer deems the design also as a protection from their gravest fears.
Celtic Owl Designs
It incorporates the Celtic spiral, knots and key patterns that are characteristics of the ancient Celtic designers. Although this design template can also signify the threat of death to the barer, it on the other hand also represents wisdom and intelligence associated with the bird. The personal view of the bearer holds weight on the significance of this motif.
Meaning of Owl Tattoos
The owl as a symbol existed since ancient times. Archeologists in the Pyramid of Giza, an ancient Egyptian structure, have discovered mummified remains of owls. The mysterious bird is also in olden Egyptian hieroglyphics. Mayan etchings of statues and rock walls contain beautiful owl figures. The spiritual impact of owls among many cultures and peoples is hard to explain but the effect on the collective psyche is undeniable.
Besides ancient Egypt and the Mayans, special mentions of the nocturnal bird are also present in Ancient Celtic, Greek, Roman, Hindu, and Native American myths. Also in myths, Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, considers the owls as her reliable symbolic totems. Greeks find the owl as a sharp strategist during maneuvering and hunting in the night. They are the protectors of the sacred past and are significant creatures of many prophecies. Owls are creatures that have crossed East and West barriers and time. People with owl tattoos take pride in having their body as a part of a rich and timeless tradition.
Ideal Placement of Owl Tattoos
A right tattoo placement compliments a right owl tattoo design. The owl figure inherently has intricate and rich details. Although a silhouette alone is easily recognizable and could stand as the design subject, many people still prefer to include more elaborate detail on their design. The most common depiction of this bird is its static pose or dynamic flight action. The tattoo placement can still however determine the success of a tattoo design idea. Tattoos on shoulders generally convey sense of protection and guard. An owl tattoo on the nape cleverly imitates the real lifestyle of the bird as the nape can conceal the bird during the day and reveal during the night. Consulting the tattoo artist on the placement is crucial and there are many areas including chest, back, feet and others aside from the shoulder and nape.
Preparation Tips for an Owl Tattoo
On the day when the prospective tattoo bearer decides to fulfill his desire of self-expression, he must heed the following advice:
- Eat a proper diet, not too full, not too lean, before going to the tattoo shop. Eating enough is necessary to give the body reserved energy to neutralize rigorous tattooing activity. Suitable vitamins from foods aid healing.
- Choose clothes suitable to the procedure. Wear something that is light and easy so you don’t have a hard time changing clothes after the tattoo session. Consider wearing something comfortable foe during and after the tattooing.
- Prepare something to while away the time with when expecting a long tattoo session. Books, music players, tablets and the likes are very helpful.
- Prepare your own tattoo aftercare items before the first needle prick. Although the tattooist often provides aftercare products, preparing one for yourself isn’t a bad idea at all. Having your own personal aftercare kit allows you to choose more suitable products based on your preference such as antibacterial ointments or gauze and other useful aftercare tattoo products.
Average Service Cost & Standard Prices for Getting an Owl Tattoo
The best method in choosing a reliable artist is through recommendation from a friend or knowledgeable person. They can also give you an idea on how much a tattoo job can cost you. Some basic guidelines on pricing include:
- The rates of tattoo artist vary according to the location. Tattooist from big cites charge more compared to those from small cities with a difference of about $50 per hour. A small town artist will usually cost $150 per hour while his big city counterpart around $200 per hour. Customers benefit better equipment since big city tattooists regularly update their wares to justify the higher cost. The smallest tattoo could cost somewhere from $40 to $60, depending on the location of the tattoo shops.
- Elaborately designed owl tattoos are more expensive than simple ones, mainly in consideration to the longer time it takes to execute them. More experience is required from the tattoo artist and some compensation is proper.
- Colored tattoos are more expensive than black and white, not entirely because of the cost of ink, but more on the artist’s higher skill level and the longer time of working.
- The owl tattoos is rich in repeating patterns and elaborate detail, especially in the wings. Trusting the tattoo work to a cheap and inexperienced tattoo artist will not only jeopardize the design, but will also pose serious health issues regarding the sanitation of tattoo instruments. Reputable tattooist will not compromise their work because of low pricing.
Maintenance Tips after Getting an Owl Tattoo
Getting a detailed owl tattoo requires patience. The true beauty of the tattoo will not show up yet due to the soreness of the tattoo area, and the skin will require careful attention to prevent infection. Remember to wash your skin with lukewarm water and mild antibacterial soap. The idea is to limit the possibility of skin irritation to a minimum. Avoiding direct sunlight and unnecessary skin contact are highly recommended. Washed skin should be immediately dried with light tabs of a clean soft towel and avoid scratching. Sore skin area that gets redder by the minute may mean early signs of infection that requires a doctor’s attention.
An owl tattoo when properly healed is a view to behold and delights both bearer and onlooker.