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Mike Clelland and the owls

Updated: Jan 26

Mike Clelland is an amiable American who likes the outdoors and has experienced extraordinary synchronicities with owls—so much so that he has made it his vocation to collect similar experiences; and, indeed, he even looks a bit like an owl himself. Clelland works in outdoor pursuits, so he often sleeps outside—often encounters owls; and, indeed, he has also encountered a glowing orb in his tent in the desert (along with other paranormal events). Clelland isn’t into esoterica nor is he religious, he’s just a man who is very close to nature—so he interprets these events in line with “UFO mythology”; except it’s not that.

When I spent that night at the Rollright Stones and encountered strange lights at the end of the field, breath from an invisible creature above me, and hoofbeats on my head I was also surrounded by hooting owls that almost seemed to answer me when I spoke to them. When the lights disappeared, so did the owls. Later, when I put on my horns and cavorted in the fields outside my home, a red light manifested in the tree line before me—when I reached the place the light appeared, an owl repeatedly hooted.

It’s all in line with Clelland’s experiences and that’s because the natural world is a symbol for the divine—the animals are the medium by which that which is above us speaks to us. Hence Clelland’s book about the owls is aptly called The Messengers—although, perhaps, “the watchers” would be more appropriate.

Owls have a mixed reputation and were widely held to be ill-starred by the Romans, while the Hebrews associated the owl with Lilith (Adam’s sinister first wife, Lilith before Eve)—in other words, owls are witchy (if not outright evil). Yet Athena was accompanied by owls; and so here’s the actuality—owls are associated with wisdom, black is the colour of wisdom (the colour of night, the time when the owls come out). Wisdom is not unambiguously “good”—it’s wyrd, it’s uncanny, it’s horrific (it’s the SS in their black uniforms).

Actually, the Proto-Indo-European root for “wisdom” is “weid-”—it means “to see”, to see is to know and to know is to “be weird”. CG Jung speaks about enantiodromia, the process by which wisdom is acquired; it can be defined as: “…the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of time." It can also be found in Heraclitus, the obscure philosopher at Western philosophy’s dawn: “…‘war is father of all, king of all’ (fr. 53), ‘they do not know that the differing/opposed thing agrees with itself; harmony is reflexive (παλίντροπος palintropos, used of a compound bow, or ‘in reflexive tension’), like the bow and the lyre (fr. 51)’…”

To exemplify the concept, Jung used the German folk hero Till Eulenspiegel—he is a guy, a fool, who is delighted to carry heavy pails of water up a steep hill because he knows it will be fun to go down the other side; he’d go up just to go down—hence while everyone is sad to be going up, he’s delighted (how foolish). The fool who persists in his folly shall become wise, as wise as an owl. An etymology for “Eulenspiegel” is “owl mirror” or “owl-glass”; he’s Hermes, he’s Mercurial, he reflects the owls—he’s wise, he can see.


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