The religion that surrounds Glaux (possibly called Glauxian) is not well defined, but other animals in the series, such as bears and rabbits, share similar notions of God. "Glaux" is often used in vain as a profanity by owls, much like how "god" is.
How Glaux is viewed and interpreted varies between individuals, but the Guardians and most well-meaning owls in the owl kingdoms regard Glaux as the first owl - the first bird species to acquire owlish features through evolution. This suggests that “Glaux” does not refer to an individual but rather the species as a whole. Unlike most notions of god, Glaux is not always viewed as an omnipresent, intellectual spirit or higher being, but as a species of the past. While some view Glaux in this strictly biological sense, many still apply more meaning to the idea of Glaux, and treat Glaux as an intelligent god motivated by good intentions.
The Pure Ones have a slightly different view of Glaux, one enforced by the leaders of the Pure Ones. Glaux is more anthropomorphized and is described as an intelligent higher being with power. While many owls do not know Glaux’s species and do not assume what it was, the Pure Ones assert that Glaux and the first owls were Barn Owls. Nyra was the one who made up and supported many of these beliefs, passing them on to her son Nyroc. She tells him that Tytonidae owls are “Glaux’s favourites”, supporting the Pure Ones’ supremacist ideology.
Glaux comes from the Greek γλαυξ (glaúx), which means owl. It can also refer specifically to the Little Owl, Athene noctua. Glaúx itself comes from from γλαυκός (glaukós), meaning “bright”, referring to an owl’s eyes.
Several species of modern owls have glaux in their scientific names, including the Palau Owl (Pyrroglaux podarginus), the Cuban Bare-legged Owl (Gymnoglaux lawrenci), The Long-whiskered Owlet (Xenoglaux loweryi) and the recently extinct Laughing Owl (Sceloglaux albifacies). All of these owls belong to their own genus, and are all decidedly primitive looking, lacking ear tufts and having weakly defined facial discs.
It is unknown what Glaux looked like, and Glaux’s appearence is never really described as modern owls do not know and do not assume what a Glaux looked like. Some suggest Glaux was a vaguely owl-like bird, while some suggest that Glaux took the form of a known, modern species, such as a Barn Owl or Snowy.
In the artwork used in the movie and video games, Glaux is a vaguely owlish bird, sometimes with long tapering feathers coming from its head. It has no defined facial disc.
In many descriptions, it is inferred that Glaux was a very primitive form of owl, the first kind of bird to acquire owlish traits. While the evolution of owls can be traced back farther (almost 60 million years ago) owls started to gain their modern looks sometime during the late Paleogene, roughly 45 million years ago. One of their closest relatives evolution wise are the Caprimulgiformes, a family including nightjars and frogmouths. Primitive owls could have perhaps closer resembled nightjars, still retaining the physiology of passerine-like birds, but very few fossils of primitive owls have been found and many different theories exist concerning their evolution.
Uses of Glaux's Name
Here are some references and usages of Glaux in place of the reference of Abraham's God:
- "Thank Glaux!"
- "We all have descended from Glaux."
- "...by Glaux I do swear."
- "Good Glaux!"
- "Great Glaux!"
- "For Glaux's sake!"
- "What in the name of Glaux?"
- "Oh Glaux."
- "By Glaux!"
- "My Glaux!"
- "Great Glaux in glaumora!"
- "... but by the mercy of Glaux,"
- Lupus (Wolves)
- Lapin (Rabbits)
- Ursa (Polar Bears)
- Ursus (Grizzly Bears)