Memories, Dreams and Reflections of the 16th Karmapa:Two Owls - Another Perspective

by Marianna Rydvald
In the early 1970s I was painting in an art studio in the south of Sweden. A North American medicine man came for a visit and gave me an owl feather and said: “the owl will speak with you”!
I received the owl feather and contemplated its meaning. Friends from Oxford had invited me to journey with them to Findhorn, Scotland. I sold a painting to a hospital and went with my youngest daughter to Findhorn.
In Findhorn I saw many owls and was reminded of the medicine man. As we left Findhorn a friend in the car said, “There is a Tibetan temple around here.” I pleaded with them to go there. Many people had gathered at the Tibetan center and they told us that His Holiness the 16th Karmapa was
arriving the next day. I had already been to India with my daughter and met precious teachers. We found a place for the night at Samye Ling. In the evening I went for a walk in the forest, and an owl came swooping down to where I was standing.
The next day the Karmapa arrived and we were all blessed by this meeting. Later I had an audience with His Holiness and the next day, after the teachings, the Karmapa told me through a translator that he wished me to go to an abandoned house on the left side of the road, up into an attic, open the windows and release owls that were trapped inside. The Karmapa and the Lama pointed out the road to me.
I was very excited because of the precious experience with the owl feather gift from the North American medicine man. I felt it so auspicious that the great Karmapa was magnetizing students in this magical way and releasing birds at the same time.
As I walked out, two young men asked me what I was doing and I told them of my mission. They became very excited since they also had connection with owls and wanted to walk with me on this quest. I gladly invited them to do so and soon we saw the abandoned house on the left side of the road. The house was locked and the only way to get into it was by climbing through a window, which the young men did very quickly. I stayed outside, since I knew that they were going to open the windows in the attic to release the owls. I was very happy that we all were part of a wonderful journey through the blessings of our great teacher the Karmapa.
I wrote about the Two Owls in a magazine called Tantra many years ago, and later on I did a painting of a white owl, called “The flight of the Pueo”, painted in Hawaii. It can be seen on my website
In later meetings with His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, he encouraged my art projects and sometimes asked me to paint different kinds of birds, which I am still doing.


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