Holy crow, do I get asked this a lot…. “So, what made you name the farm eight owls?” In fact, I just got asked this yesterday by one of the neat-O students from Mountain Sun. I had been so focused on our permaculture lesson that it caught me totally off guard. So I stumbled through my answer and relayed some of what you will read below–and then after he had left, the forager turned to me and said, “You know, I guess it is time to write it down. The Legend of the Eight Owls. We’ve been meaning to for awhile, so maybe its finally time. to tell folks how the name seemed to come to us from some other place. maybe its time to say how much we’ve learned since then about the symbolism behind it and how glad we are that we named the farm what we did.” Talk about connected wisdom, that lady always sure does seem to have it.
So, seriously, this is going to sound hokey as all get out–but when the name “eight owls” came to us four and a half years ago… we didn’t even know where it came from. I don’t remember what inspired it, who thought of it, and we didn’t have a flipping clue what it meant at the time. We’d done none of this research below and had no idea what the symbolism of eights or owls meant. We just knew we really, really liked eights and owls.
Back when we were on the rental farm, and the closing of this 9.87 acres was just around the corner… the forager saw this GIANT owl outside one night. It flew down right across her path and landed on the bridge that was part of our driveway at the time and just…. looked at her square in the face. Before silently flying off, back into the forest. She came running back in to tell me about it after it flew away. Just like that owl did….the name just flew, silently, into the tiny house, landed in our hearts and looked us square in the face. we knew it was simply perfect, even if we didn’t know why yet. So just like everything else we’ve done since we went homesteading–we just picked it up, ran off, and took the name with us. Now, after the most epic four year journey either of us has ever had in life–it makes even more sense than it did then.
So here it is, what eight owls means to me today. The following is a cliff notes version of research I’ve done over the years on what the symbolism behind eights and owls means and I think you will see below why this name always was and always will be just perfect for the two of us and this land. We are both owls that live on eight owls farm. Eight owls is us and we are it.
To me, the number eight means connectedness, its ability is infinite. It literally is an infinity symbol turned on its head. Its curves and swoops never cease to connect back to itself. It means love–love of self and being connected to nature, connected to all things.
Typically, owls represent death–yet, there is so much more to it than just that. Owls live within the darkness, which includes magic, mystery, and ancient knowledge. Related to the night is the moon, which owls are also connected to. Owls become a symbol of the feminine and fertility, with the moon’s cycles of renewal. Even the mythology relates owl to this wisdom and femininity. According to myth, an owl sat on Athena’s blind side, so that she could see the whole truth. The Pawnee and the Sioux saw the owl as a messenger to the first of all evil creatures. Owls move silently through the landscape, disturbing nothing. To fly like an owl means you are soundless, without impact, and searching for what should live and what should die. What works and what does not. What should change. And you barely even disturb the wind with your wings as you seek out the ways to create that change. Having the owl as your spirit animal is emblematic of a deep connection with wisdom and intuitive knowledge. If you have the owl as totem or power animal, you’re likely to have the ability to see what’s usually hidden to most. When the spirit of this animal guides you, you can see the true reality, beyond illusion and deceit. The owl also offers for those who have it a personal totem the inspiration and guidance necessary to deeply explore the unknown and the magic of life. Owls have deep rooted intuition and the ability to see what others do not see. The presence of an owl announces big change. Owls have the capacity to see beyond deceit and masks. Owls mean wisdom. The traditional meaning of the owl spirit animal is the announcer of death, most likely symbolic–like a life transition, a big change. Owls can help you see what’s kept hidden. They also symbolize the ability to cut through illusions and see the real meaning of someone’s action or state of mind. The owl is a strong spirit guide for discernment and making decision based solid foundations. Call on the owl totem when you have to assess a situation or are going through confusing times.
The owl is the animal symbol for people born between November 23 and December 21. November 24 2010 was when the farmer and the forager stepped away from the city and what wasn’t working for them both. It was the day they flew to the rental farm… and were truly born.
So, in a nutshell – Eight Owls, to me, means connected wisdom. It means being low or no impact to my environment. It means being high impact to my tribe and what needs to change in our world. It means embracing our magic and femininity. It means getting connected to our power by cutting through the illusions that used to dominate both our worlds. It is being able to slow down and access the situation correctly during turbulent times. It is seeing the real meanings behind people, places and things.
The last four years and two and a half months that we have been on our own land, building our own nest–have been the biggest change either of us has ever witnessed in our 36 and 37 year old lives. And I simply cannot wait to see where it goes from here on out. I learned who I was here, how to fly here, how I want to exist in the world here–and I know it will only get better as I continue to get stronger, more confident and happy with myself. I’m so dang grateful for eight owls flying into that tiny rented farm four and a half years ago and whispering in our ears what to name our land. what to name ourselves. Big change indeed, it truly changed everything. It helped the two of us find out who we really are. Older, Wiser, Ladies than we once were. Quite connected owls.
-the farmer (and of course, I should just note this is only my version of the legend – it’s only what eight owls means to me + my story telling interpretation of what happened. perhaps one day the forager will write her own as well!)
Yup, there is that big change I mentioned! It’s what got us from here (above) to there (below). It was what happened as these two owls learned to fly.
and I’m just SO darn glad we did! (If you really want to geek out on owls, there is an awesome documentary on owls called Owl Power – which we, of course, highly recommend!)
A few years ago, the forager found this (below) tucked in an old stack of collage materials she had been collecting over the years. It seemed so perfect, so important. So I took a picture, printed it out and it hangs on the back of our front door. It’s what I feel when I think about all of this, that we are on a journey that might just become a legend. A legend of the eight owls.