5 Common Omens and Their Meanings

What is the universe trying to tell you?

You’re taking a walk, when suddenly you see a flock, or murder, of crows. Even if you aren’t a very superstitious person, a murder of crows is sure to send at least a couple of chills down your spine. You’ve heard the omens – crows mean death is near, a black cat crossing your path is bad luck. Different omens have different origins and specific meanings. Regardless of their truth, people throughout history (and still today) have believed in these signs and their messages. 

An omen is defined as “something that is believed to be a sign or warning of something that will happen in the future.” Generally, they are signs that one receives from the natural world that delivers a message of some sort. Especially for many practitioners of various cultures and magical traditions, there is a tendency and desire to look for and find symbolism in every day things. In our modern and fast-paced world, it can be difficult to slow down and pay attention to the signs. Nature and the universe are always communicating with us through omens. Watching out for these omens can not only provide you with some spiritual guidance, but it can also be an effective method to ground your awareness in the present moment. 

We have gathered five common omens and their meanings. 

Black Cats

A black cat is probably the most classic example of an omen and with that, comes a lot of mixed beliefs. They can be either a good or a bad omen and can depend on how the interaction plays out. 

An old German superstition states that if a black cat sits at the bedside of a sick person it is a sign that they will die very soon. Hearing the meowing of a black cat at midnight is another common one said to be an omen for somebody’s death. A black cat crossing the bath of a funeral is an omen that a family member of the deceased will die soon. 

However, black cats are also said to be omens of good luck as well. In Asia, it is said that you will be lucky in love if you own a black cat. In parts of England, a bride will have luck in her marriage if she receives a black cat as a gift. It is also said that sailors will have a safe journey if they bring a black cat along on the ship. In Scotland, you will have coming prosperity if a black cat appears on your porch. 

In many cultures, the meaning of the omen depends on whether you had done a good or a bad deed right before seeing it.


Crows are another famous and classic example of an omen. In many cultures, crows are believed to be messengers between this world and the next. Seeing a single crow is said to be an omen of bad luck while seeing 2 crows is an omen of good luck. Three crows mean health, and four crows mean wealth. Seeing 5 or more crows is believed to be an omen of illness or death. 

However, they are also a symbol of transformation and intuition. Whether good or bad, crows definitely bring a message. What are they trying to tell us?


Rainbows are mostly seen as positive omens and positive symbols. But in parts is Ireland and Scotland, rainbows whose ends touched down within the same town foretold death. It is also believed in some places that pointing a finger at a rainbow is bad luck. 

Most commonly though, rainbows are good omens for new beginnings and faith.


It is believed that if you are walking under a tree at night and hear an owl hooting overhead, it is an omen of bad news to come. Some cultures believe that the sighting of an owl is a sign or message from your ancestors on the other side. In Chinese feng shui, the owl is a powerful protector. In modern Western belief, the owl is usually associated with wisdom and generally is a positive omen.


Finding a spider crawling on you is usually a positive omen, especially if it is small. Smaller spiders are associated with success, prosperity and good karma. They represent a swift return to financial balance. If you find a spider in your hair or on your head, it is a sign that you have been worried and overthinking too much recently. Seeing a spider on a web is an omen that you have a fantastic idea. Finding a spider in your bed, though, can be a negative omen that someone is lying to you or keeping secrets. 

The best way to understand the meaning of an omen or sign that you see is by paying close attention to how you are feeling in that moment or what you were just feeling, thinking, or doing. Omens are most often very personal and the meanings can change depending on the individual and their beliefs. 

What omen have you been seeing?