Yesterday evening I tried to translate Jane Friedman's bookcover. I noticed she used valid - all of them - hieroglyphs the ancient Egyptians used more than 2,000 years ago.
I wrote a little e-mail to Jane asking what the 'enigma' was behind her bookcover. I was not able to translate the transliterated hieroglyphs, 'b-p-w n-w f-i-rw n-rw wA-y-s' with the owl as determinative, in plain english. Within a few minutes she wrote back, explaining that I gave her far too much credit in the carefulness or accuracy of her selections of hieroglyphic symbols. And yes there is a message in the bookcover: lower the bar and decode it direct! A message that only makes sense to 1 other person on the planet.
Today I don't want to blog about her secret message to her Other One - her love? Today I want to share with you the hidden history behind the (ab)use of the 'owl' as symbol.
In our time and age, in our Greek biased culture, the owl is the symbol of wisdom. For the ancient Romans the owl was connected to funerals. And for the ancient Egyptians? We don't know for sure what the story is behind hieroglyph Gardiner G17. For them the owl was perhaps an ill omen, which it was desirable to behead when caught. It is remarkable that when mummified owls have been examined all have been beheaded. (Sources: 1, 2 and 3)
I didn't ask Jane but I know for sure the symbolic 'owl' she used on her bookcover was a symbol for 'wisdom'. Biased Greek Symbolic Use for Sure.