Ogham (Tree Lore)
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Picture reproduced with permission from Gabriella Elizabeth Copyright all rights reserved.
The Swan has always been revered as one of our most sacred of birds, more than 2000 years ago the bygone age of the Bard, who would wear clothes made from swan skin, in the belief that the Bard would inherit the gifts that the swan could bestow upon him. With it’s grace and beauty on the water a pair of swans are an impressive sight, when their beaks touch a perfect heart is formed by their necks. The male will parade and exhibit his undying love, it will crowd it’s wings to form the perfect heart shape announcing to everyone that he is in his territory with his loved one. Naturally monogamous these birds will pair from the age of three and have been known to live to the age of 50, capable of travelling 2,000 miles in flocks of up to 40, they travel at night when the air is cool and can travel up to heights of 28,000 feet. Known across the globe these birds are recognised by many cultures and societies and have become symbols for Love, fertility and fidelity.
The Celtic tribes in the age of the druid were known to use swan feathers for spell casting, also for writing and creating sacred space, the Bard upon his initiation into the school of druidry would be given a Tugen to wear, this being a traditional ceremonial cloak of over 25,000 feathers made from swan skins. It would have been a highly valued prize worthy of the initiation into the 12 year apprenticeship of Druidry.
Known to be shapeshifters and capable of travelling between worlds, Fae women, daughters of Asgard, water nymph and human maiden are some of the transformations the Swan has been known to adopt. The veils between worlds are at their thinnest during the festival of Samhain and Beltain, these are the Druid/Pagan festivals that welcome the changing of the seasons and darker nights of winter and the brighter days of summer. The name swan is one of the oldest names in England, this in itself in our ever changing world emphasizes the importance of the Swan. It is said that two Swans drank from “The Well of Urd” and such was the purity of the water that they turned white and earned their place within the realms of Asgard.
When the Swan enters your life you can expect peace to be restored, calm will bestow the local area. The swan brings the calming, joyous influences of the fae women to come and do their magic. A visitor is probable, and will come with gifts that should be understood and prized. The swan is also a soul carrier and shapeshifter, so take nothing for granted not all is what it appears to be. It is said the the Daughters of Valkyrie bring the souls of the warrior to Valhalla where these maidens will spend their time in service to them, for once in Valhalla the soul will be idolised and prepared for the duty that awaits it.
Capable of travelling our three worlds the land, the sea and the sky, the swan brings many gifts monogamy, family, community, solitude, reflection, transformation, purity and the list goes on. The ability through dreams to travel to other worlds, the swan and the rainbow we frequently see together, with the swan as your power animal the journeys are without fear, the lands of Asgard, the rainbow bridge, and other worlds and astral plains all become possible.
As the Swan can call upon the elements of Air, Sea and Earth, it can also call upon the four directions, maybe in our modern world the arch-angels Uriel, (North) Michael, (South) Raphael, (East) Gabriel, (West). To be able to invoke the arch-angels and travel the realms in love and without fear is possibly our greatest gift.