Owl of the Snow Moon,
Your feathers have fallen in quiet blessings.
I stand in the soft light of a thousand moonbeams as your spirit takes flight.
I ache for your song.
Just over a week ago, I got a call from both my aunt and my mom. An owl had fallen dead in my aunt’s yard.
I headed over with my six year old son, field guides in hand, ready to identify the species and for the chance to see a predatory bird up close, something you don’t exactly get to do every day. I asked my son if he wanted to see an owl up close, but that it had died. He was okay with it, so we continued on, not sure what to expect.
Its death was a mystery, there was only a little blood on one leg, we think we might have seen a puncture wound, perhaps a rattlesnake bite, but we couldn’t be sure. The blood may have come from falling, or prey, or? Nothing felt broken or out of sorts. It had fallen from the roof, that much we could tell.
I was taken back by the emotion that came with seeing this magical creature with his light gone. We recognized it as Great Horned Owl and, even in death, this bird was remarkable. Just being there in its presence was a reverent experience.
My aunt gently cut and cleaned a few of its beautiful feathers for each family member to keep. It was a difficult decision for my little guy, which feather to take home, because they were all so pretty. We thanked the owl for its feather gifts and then went with my mom and aunt to collect some sage. My uncle began digging a small grave. My son asked if he could place the quartz rock he found in with the owl during the burial.
So there we were, five of us standing around a deep, yet small grave site, offering our quartz rock, our prayers, our thoughts, our quiet thanks for blessing our lives in such an unexpected, yet profound way, and our handfuls of dirt, each an effort to honor this owl’s life. Then my son asked if we could please draw a picture in the dirt on top of it…including my aunt’s dog, who he wanted to have her paw print in the dirt over the owl. She wouldn’t cooperate, so he drew one instead. We stood back for one more farewell and admired our little earthen intaglios marking the owl’s final, physical resting place.
I was very thankful to my aunt and uncle that we could be a part of this special experience, burying this fellow creature…all of this happening on the day of the full moon. On the drive home my son and I recited many, many “Om mani padme hum’s” along with more thanks for the owl who blessed us during the full moon. The feather’s from our owl bathed in the moonlight on our dash.
Below are images of “our” full moon Owl and information about owls that we learned more about, after getting to see one so close up.