Wild Unknown Tarot - Sword court cards - Owls


The suit of Swords in this deck uses owls as it's court cards.

Swords correspond to the element of Air so they're about communication, the mind and wit.
With symbolism swords often represent truth and justice, they are also weapons that can be used to defend or to hurt - so a bit like words and thoughts then ;).
A sword is double edged, the truth can hurt as well as heal and justice is not always what we want but is always fair.

Owls and the Air element
Well the first and most obvious connection between owls and the Air element is that owls are birds and so fly through the air.
When I think of owls I think of the fact that they are birds of prey, they hunt and are ruthless when they hunt. They are fast, they dive and they kill and it's all over... This makes me think of someone who is quick witted and intelligent, someone who is good at debate and arguing and so can take down their opponent with a few carefully chosen words or phrases.
An owl is nocturnal so can see well at night and can also see in all directions. This links with the air element for me because one of the characteristics of the Sword court is the ability to use logic to see a situation as it really is and also the ability to see through the masks that others wear or to cut through (the crap) to get to the truth of something.. I think this is especially true when we get to the more mature courts, the Mother and Father in this deck or Queens and Kings in more traditional tarot...The more immature court cards haven't yet perfected this skill.
Owls are great communicators... I watched a wildlife programme on TV a couple of years ago and was surprised to learn that when you hear an owl calling 'T'wit, t'woo', it is in fact 2 owls, one calling and the other answering... The owl expert said if you want to talk to an owl go into a park, churchyard or somewhere like that at dusk and make 'owl sound' - if there's an owl nearby it will answer you... I happen to live on a little lane that overlooks a very old, tree-lined churchyard so I tried it out and yep, it works :).
An owl is meant to be wise and that fits really well with the suit of swords.. We learn through our experiences, we learn from things that have hurt us in the past and that leads to wisdom.

Does anyone have any more thoughts on this? I have to admit that animal symbolism isn't something that I'm particularly well-versed in.


Those are great observations, Sulis.

Owls are also silent hunters. When they fly through the air they don't make a sound which is one of the reasons they make such good predators. It reminds me of the stealth aspect of the suit of Swords. They can strike you before you even realise what is happening- quite a formidable enemy. Owls were also associated with Athena in Greek Mythology and she is a goddess of wisdom and war but the war aspect is very much about the strategy side of it rather than the straightforward bloodlust. She was also associated with civilization, justice and law - again traits we can associate with the Sword courts.