November 19, 2019
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Swans are waterfowl, closely connected with water, even nesting near the water. Water is symbolic of concepts such as Fluidity, Intuition, Dreaming, Emotions, Creativity. In this respect, we can intuit the swan’s appearance in our lives as an arrow pointing to our dreamier depths and feelings. Furthermore, we get the sense of balance from swan meaning as it lives harmoniously amongst three of the four Aristotelian elements. Grounding herself on earth, lofting to great heights in the air, and winding through waters with magnificent elegance. In Greek tradition, the Swan is the symbol of the Muses. The swan also has erotic connotations – Zeus seduced Leda in the form of a swan, and Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, had a swan-drawn chariot. The swan, as a symbol of music, is also dedicated to Apollo, who was said to transform into a swan. Socrates wrote that the swan sung it’s most beautiful song just before it died, leaving us with the phrase “swan song”. The constellation Cygnus, depicts a swan sailing down the Milky Way. The Norse Valkyries often take the shape of swans and they fly, singing, through the air. According to Jamie Sams and David Carson, who collected Native American tales from elders in the Choctaw, Lakota, Seneca, Aztec, Yaqui, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Iroquois, and Mayan traditions, Swans represented “Grace”. According to Ted Andrews, in his book Animal-Speak, “The swan is one of the most powerful and ancient of totems. It is one of the oldest names in the English language and has come down unchanged since Anglo Saxon times.”[12] In Britain, Mute Swans are the property of the Crown. The Crown may grant “royalties” or ownership rights to companies or individuals, where they mark their swan’s bills during the ceremony of “swan-upping”. Boat builders used swans as figureheads to bring good luck. The swan is a totem of beauty and grace. As in the story of the Ugly Duckling, it connotes inner beauty as well. If Swan is your totem animal, you are emotionally sensitive, and empathic towards the feelings of others, and you draw people to you. The pure white swan is a solar symbol, whereas the Australian Black Swan is a nocturnal symbol. The swan, with its long neck, acts as a bridge between the worlds, making it an oracular bird. Being a cool weather bird, its direction is North. Swans are excellent totems for children, those connected to the Fairy Realm, poets, bards, mystics, and dreamers.[13]

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[12] Ted Andrews, Animal-Speak, p.195
[13] Ted Andrews, Animal Speak, p. 196

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