Athena noctua – Strigidae – Strigiformes – It is the most diurnal of all owls and the like. Its french name refers to the Greek goddess Athena. As Zeus’ daughter, she became the protective divinity of the City of Athene; she symbolizes Thought, Art of defensive war, Intelligence and protects Craftsmen and Workers. Athenians also worshipped her for teaching them agricultural techniques such as the use of the plow and the harness of oxen. She chooses the owl species for the symbol of its wisdom and night-vision, although this Little owl is the most diurnal of owls.
Since Antiquity Athens adopted the owl symbol, issuing coins with the bird on one side and on the other Athena’s portrait. Today still, Greece issues its 1€ coin with the bird’s effigy. Back to the owl: it symbolizes Wisdom and Knowledge for its immobility but it is also a symbol of wealth and abundance. The symbolism of its attributes to Athena will stop here, because this Owl is diurnal contrary to the 4 other species of owls whose night-vision qualities are connected to the moon, as opposed to the eagle’s, a solar symbol.
Unfortunately, humanity did not always see it with positive eyes; in the Middle Ages it was considered as devilish and associated with the witchcraft, death and ghosts.