Chapter in progress: This is an excerpt from a book project with the working title; Owls, Sychronicity and the UFO Abductee. I plan on posting a few samples from time to time.
Most of the research for this book has been me reaching out to folks with curious stories, and just asking the question, “Do you have any odd owl experiences?” Most of the time the reply would be no. I got a lot of replies that played out as screen memories, the smallest percentage were the extremely unusual experiences that involved, as far as I can tell, real owls. I would ask this of folks through email, phone calls and in face to face meetings. A lot of the time I would ask this question to complete strangers, or to people I barely knew.
Peter was one of the experiencers featured in Dr. John Mack’s 1994 book Abduction, and the events in his life have been extremely intense. I’ve talked on the phone with him only once, and we've shared a few emails over the years. He’s been supportive and insightful in all of my correspondence.
As part of this book project, I sent Peter one of these emails, asking him that same question, had he ever had any odd owl experiences. He replied:
That is what got me in the door, so to say, to begin looking at this in my life. When I lived in Hawaii, there was a big old owl (that’s what I thought at the time) that would come to the sliding glass door off my bedroom at night. Of course under regression when I looked at the owl it was a whole other creature. So yeah, me and owls and ET's have a connection.This owl fits cleanly into the screen memory category, it seems to play out as deceptive owl imagery projected into Peter’s mind, presumably so he wouldn’t be terrified of seeing a creepy gray alien. How this is done is a mystery, why is another question. One easy way to frame this is that the owl is nothing more that a convenient disguise, it’s a common enough animal, and those big penetrating eyes seem to match the likeness of the iconic alien. This might be exactly the reason for the owl deception, but it just feels too simple.
I suspect that this contact experience has been ongoing throughout the entirety of human history, and the reverence for the owl in folklore and mythology can be traced back to experiences just like what Peter described. The shamans and sages throughout time might have confronted similar owls, staring at them from their own doorways.
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Perhaps the owl is chosen not just for it’s big eyes, but because of it’s archetypal power. It’s there so that the experiencer can drink in the symbolic essence as an essential part of the episode. Is the owl a symbol, something stored in our collective subconscious, that carries with it a buried sense of knowing? The symbolic power of the owl might have been implanted into the human psyche way back at the dawn of our existence.
Archetype is an elusive concept. There are ideas and themes that have resonated within the core of humanity throughout time, and they continually bubble up to the surface.
Plato framed the archetype as a philosophical idea, referring to pure forms which embody the fundamental characteristics of a thing. These pure forms are invisible to the eye, but they exist in the realm of their idealized states. Because our souls have existed eternally, we retain a memory to recognize them. Plato contends that all the feelings that accompany our existence are but recollections of what our souls already know.
Jung saw the archetype as psychological, framing it as a collectively inherited unconscious idea or image. The archetype is universally present in our individual psyches.
The collective unconscious is a unique component to Jung’s ideas about the mind, it serves as a form of psychological inheritance. It contains all of the knowledge and experiences we share as a species. He proposed that archetypes exist within the collective unconscious. According to Jung, archetypes are unlearned, innate, universal and hereditary. These function as a way to organize how we translate into visible reality the world within us.
The owl has been scratched into ancient cave walls and it also sits on the shoulder of young Harry Potter. It is an archetype that we hold within us, and it has the mythic power of the ages.
All across the world's mythic lineage, owls are seen as messengers from another realm, their ability to see into the darkness is a metaphor for their roles as this gatekeeper. They are wise and they are foreboding. Are these elusive aliens using the image of the owl because we can tap into this grand lineage of arcane meaning?
I can’t help but imagine the image of an owl standing before the ancient shaman at the entrance to his cave, just as it stood before Peter’s big sliding glass door. Trying to unravel the source of an archetype is like trying to know the source of a dream, all one can say is that there is a source out there, to say any more would be folly.
If the abduction experience is something that has been with humanity from our inception, could it be that the mythic power of the owl grew out of the screen memories of the ancients? If people have always had this experience, then they’ve been sharing it around the campfire with their fellow villagers across the ages. Looking at it this way, the owl archetype might very well have been created by the aliens.
A question arises, is the image of the owl something the aliens use as a sort of “default” setting for deceiving the abductee? Is there a reason the owl is used sometimes and deer is used at other times? Is there an archetypal reason one image might be chosen over another? Is it the abductee that’s generating the owl as a screen memory, as if their own psyche instantly reacts to the presence of the alien, almost as a defense mechanism. This makes some sense, because their own sanity might be in jeopardy just by looking at an alien in their proximity.
If the abductee creates the costume, is it being plucked from the ether an archetypal “pure form” in the way Plato would describe it? No easy answer to any of these questions, but I suspect it’s a blurring of multiple points.
When an owl spirit stands at the door of the shamans hut, is this shaman about to be abducted and taken aboard a flying craft? And when the abductee sees a giant owl standing outside his window, is he about to be initiated into some deeper form of psychic knowing? Neither question can be answered, but I recognize the overlap of these two myths.