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Tyto alba (Barn Owl)

I learn this great remedy from Provings and Cases.


N/H (Imp = Bold)

  • The Barn Owl (Tyto alba) is the most widely distributed species of owl, and one of the most widespread of all birds. T. alba is found almost anywhere in the world.
  • The barn owl's scientific name means the “white owl”. tyto = owl and in Latin alba = "white".
  • Barn Owl known as "screech owl", referring to the piercing calls of these birds.
  • The light face with its heart shape and the black eyes give the flying bird an odd and startling appearance, like a flat mask.
  • On average, males tend to be less spotted on the underside than females and males are typically about 10% lighter.
  • It produces the characteristic shree scream, ear-shattering at close range.
  • Males in courtship give a shrill twitter.
  • It can hiss like a snake to scare away intruders, and when captured or cornered, it throws itself on its back and flails with sharp-taloned feet, making for an effective defense.
  • Tyto alba is nocturnal as usual for owls, but it often becomes active shortly before dusk already and can sometimes be seen during the day, when it relocates from a sleeping place it does not like.
  • It has an effortless wavering flight as it quarters pastures or similar hunting grounds. Like most owls, the Barn Owl flies silently; tiny serrations on the leading edges of its flight feathers help to break up the flow of air over its wings, thereby reducing turbulence and the noise that accompanies it.
  • It hunts by flying low and slowly over an area of open ground, hovering over spots that conceal potential prey. They may also use fence posts or other lookouts to ambush prey.
  • The Barn Owl feeds primarily on small vertebrates, particularly rodents.
  • Studies have shown that an individual Barn Owl may eat one or more rodents per night; a nesting pair and their young can eat more than 1,000 rodents per year.
  • Barn Owls consume as much as twice their own body weight of rodents, frogs, lizards, bats, moths and occasional small birds in a day.
  • Barn Owls have no crop like falcons and the digestive system is less acidic than other raptors, so they cannot digest bone and fur. This undigested matter is disgorged in the form of a pellet. This is a conscious act.
  • Hunting nocturnally or crepuscularly, it can target and dive down, penetrating its talons through snow, grass or brush to seize rodents with deadly accuracy.
  • It is not a territorial bird and hunting territories can overlap.
  • Compared to other owls of similar size, the Barn Owl has a much higher metabolic rate, requiring relatively more food.
  • Occasionally, nesting takes place in mine shafts and caves. The male brings food to the nest as the female incubates the eggs and cares for chicks.
  • Some pairs remain together during the winter, other separate and come together again to breed.
  • It is not a great traveler and often doesn't venture far from its place of birth.
  • Once established in a nest site they can have great loyalty to the site, rearing their young for many generations.
  • Barn Owls will destroy the eggs and the chicks if they feel threatened. Their most vulnerable times are just before the eggs hatch and up to two weeks after hatching.
  • The nest site is often very dirty and smelly and the chicks can become quite grubby.
  • They have a special comb on one of their toes which they use to preen and clean their feathers. After preening they emerge a beautiful white with varying markings in brown and apricot.
  • Barn Owl has large range of predators so they live average 2-4 years.
  • The barn owl's eyes are large and fixed in the skull they do not move, but this is compensated by an extraordinary ability to turn the head through 270 degrees and to move it widely within a plane.
  • The White Owl’s eyes face forward, giving it binocular vision, and are on the front of the face rather than the side. The eye consists of more rods than cones, so it is more sensitive to light and can see only limited colors.
  • They lower the upper eyelid when they blink, which gives them great character.
  • The Barn Owl has acute hearing, with ears placed asymmetrically for improved detection of sound position and distance, and it does not require sight to hunt.
  • Barn Owls have acute hearing, which allows them to detect the slightest rustle.
  • The pink cere at the base of the bill is covered with bristles, and forms part of the facial disc structure, being extremely sensitive to sound vibration.


Core issue:

  • The keynote of all owls is magic, wisdom and inner vision.
  • Yet the unearthly sound of their cry and the silence with which they move through the night links them to the forces of darkness and they have often been regarded as a portent of evil.
  • The barn owl is a particularly ghostly figure. Its white plumage and its ability to fly in absolute silence through the twilight give it the appearance of a visitor from another world while its call can be unnerving. It has an association with death which came through in the provings. (Condor and Vulture also have connections to death and dying) Thoughts about death and endings and dreams of death were significant. There was also a tendency to notice or come across dead people and dead animals.
  • It has downy wing feathers which allow it to fly very slowly and absolutely silently.
  • Its pounce on prey, mice, voles and small mammals and amphibians is very swift but it can also sit motionless for hours.
  • Owl myth has evolved throughout the centuries. Owl is a contradictory symbol since flight is representative of spirit, yet it is a night creature and therefore associated with death, darkness and destruction. Man fears the darkness, as he cannot see what is hidden.
  • The barn owl is a nocturnal animal and this affected many provers. They were awake, lively and energized through the night but inactive and very sleepy during the day and particularly in the afternoon. Moonlight was important with lunar periodicity.
  • Things seen peripherally are never full perceived and they therefore become a source of fear and anxiety but when those things are observed squarely and face on the truth is exposed and they become powerful in a more positive way.
  • It seems that this contradiction between facing things and avoiding them could be an important issue in the remedy.


Physical General:

  • < Full and or New Moon
  • < Equinoxes and Solstices
  • Sharp, piercing pain with heaviness, tightness
  • Lively at night, nocturnal behavior; would sleep all day and be awake all night.
  • Tiredness and sleepiness in the afternoon, Short sleep at noon >


Physical Particular:

  • Headache likes a band from ear to ear over the top of the head. Pressure in the head as if it was going to pop
  • Some of the features that were characteristic of Tyto alba included eczema and rashes found on all parts, especially the legs, head and ears.


General Themes:

  • Peripheral vision and things happening just on the fringe of vision came up in the provings: "Sensation of something happening on the fringes of my perception which always vanished when I focussed my attention on it. A shadow moving on the edge of vision. Not there when looking."
  • Things seen peripherally are never full perceived and they therefore become a source of fear and anxiety but when those things are observed squarely and face on the truth is exposed and they become powerful in a more positive way.
  • It seems that this contradiction between facing things and avoiding them could be an important issue in the remedy.

(a) Death, darkness, endings

  • Talking intensively about death and dying.
  • Thoughts of death and dying, feel as if she will die in her sleep.
  • Feel dark and removed; Things seem very black
  • Falling into sleep like falling into death, the darkness in the whole thing is frightening. It’s the darkest time of the year.
  • The dead are always looking down on us; they watch the top of our heads and see moving below on Earth.
  • Watching the river from the window and feel as if – ‘It’s turbulent and moving – there’s lots of stuff in it – lots of rubbish being cleared out. Lots of endings are occurring – stuff that has been left is being sorted out.’
  • I can’t sleep. Everything seems so black. Think it would be better if I was dead.

(b) Vulnerable, anxious

  • Apprehension with no apparent reason, < afternoons
  • Afraid to look in the shadows as if someone was behind her
  • Scared and fearful < alone
  • Frightened going to sleep; Frightened on looking in the mirror, I am not the person I see in it.
  • I have been feeling sensitive, exposed, jelly-like and unsteady. I Couldn’t put my finger on it before, since the remedy.
  • I’m terrified of slipping into an abyss.
  • I thought vampire was going to bite my neck. I feel awful and so tense and anxious. Feeling like something dreadful is going to happen.

(c) Accidents and injuries

  • I slammed my finger in a door and skinned my left thumb separately.
  • I had to fill out an accident form as slight injury to right thumb and left thigh.
  • I was kicked by a horse nearly two weeks ago.
  • My bruised toes now hurting.

(d) Tyto as Raptor

The main sensory organs of the birds, and particularly the raptors, are the eyes and they are important in the Barn Owl. Clarity of vision and a lack of it through blurring or cloudiness is found in all of these remedies.

[1] Angry and Resentful

  • I feel too exposed and vulnerable. And I feel angry and resentful.
  • When I woke I had feeling angry, malicious.
  • Displaying more anger than usual now. ‘As though the volcano is just about to crack through – can I control myself?’
  • Threatened violence to someone: ‘I feel outraged and shouting.’ ‘You’ll be on the floor in pieces and you won’t even know about it!’
  • Felt this was so unjust! I was very annoyed at this.
  • Too angry and resentful of everything and everybody, but felt trapped by the situation, impossible to change it.

[2] Clarity and reflection

  • I’m a bit more detached from what is going on around. I’m more inward focused.
  • It was a period of ‘clarity’. Visually and mentally everything was clear this lasted until today.
  • I seem to have the ability to visualize pictures etc.
  • I’m aware of periodicity in life. There seems to be a trauma early in each decade. ‘I am not good at reflection.’
  • I had diminution of general awareness to surroundings and what’s going on. I’m finding it more difficult to self observe, and hence be aware of my own state. Feeling less balanced and knowing I would find it more difficult to transmute negative emotions.

[3] Solitary, indifferent

  • ‘I feel SINGLE in myself, not wanting to do group things. It feels like an intrusion.’
  • I feel very introverted. I felt very ‘remote’ at Aikido.
  • ‘I’m a really private person,’ and at the moment I prefer to be by myself.
  • Usual social, jabbering, smoothing talk quite difficult – can’t be bothered.

[4] Confidence and determination

  • There is determination to do something but not sure what. It is to be not put up with the status quo.
  • What I am noticing though is a tendency for me to act first and think later.
  • I feel I’m in a position of received strength…A kind of confidence.


Comparision with Bubo veriginians:

  • The particular issue in Bubo virginianus is around three dimensional orientation and depth perception. Whereas in Tyto alba the particular symptoms were around peripheral vision.
  • Low light, black and white vision predominates over bright colour vision in the barn owl, and there was a monochrome feel to parts of the provings and some dreams were in black and white.
  • Both the Great Horned Owl and the Barn Owl have issues around truth, knowing the truth and telling the truth. In Bubo virignianus there is a need to stand back as an observer and get the picture in perspective. Doing this brings about a wisdom that can be passed on but more importantly is known and preserved.



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