Black Swan – Love
Love. Romance. Monogamy. Partnership. Equality. Compassion. Tenderness. Protecting your loved ones. Enjoying the presence of others. Folklore and fairytale. Love stories. Invoking happiness in yourself and others. Spiritual love and freedom. The joy and freedom in serving another.
The black swan is a large, black wetlands bird that is non-migratory. It has all-black plumage except for white wingtips, and a striking red bill with white band. It is the only all-black swan in the world. The cygnets are light grey. Black swans moult and cannot fly once a year, and gather together on open lakes during this time. Black swans are monogamous and pair for life, they nest on large mounds, reusing it each year, with both the male and the female caring for the young. Black swans require at least 40m of clear water in which to take off. They consume water plants, algae and in tourist-heavy areas an awful lot of bread, which isn’t nourishing or healthy. Swans are a protected species in Australia.
Lessons and Challenges:
Black swan has a lovely energy to it, while many energies in the animal kingdom are flat out challenging (and indeed swan certainly is as a shadow guide, ever been chased by one? Not very nice!), but in its more pure state, black swan represents the healing powers of love and romance. Most people have been touched by the miracles of love expressed in fairytales at time, and swan provides us with a path to access this.
Romance is essentially a decorated or more ‘obvious’ expression of love. It is a way of often expressing it through physical means; dates, flowers, gifts, conscious displays of intimacy, anniversaries and such. Often these actions become meaningless in today’s society where we often do them automatically without much thought involved. Actual romance however can be very healing, it is an obvious and exaggerated display of love which can often remind and reinforce partnerships and friendships, and open up new avenues into communication and trust. Consider how many romantic gestures you’ve made recently, is it maybe time to make some more?
While some animals will emphasis the ability to love more than one partner at once (like Fairy Wren), the black swan places an emphasis on the healing capacity of monogamy and equality within a partnership between two people. Like swans, we live in a world where monogamy is accepted, but swan encourages us to take it one step further and look at why and how it helps us as a way of life and living.
Black swan, like all swans, teaches us how to protect our loved ones. Everyone has instincts within them to love and protect who they love, even if we all have different ways of showing it. The ability to protect those we care for is a gift and an ability, black swan emphasises it.
Sometimes people challenge us, sometimes they annoy us (or flat-out piss us off), but sometimes they are just a source of enjoyment and companionship. Black swan helps us to just relax and enjoy the company of those we consider friends, or partner, or family. It’s not always about pushing yourself further, or progress, sometimes it’s about stopping for a while to savour some happiness and tenderness. If you have ever seen a swan preen another swan, you will know how easily these birds have access to tenderness and care. Black swan helps us to learn how to be close to others, and how to enjoy the journey.
The black swan, and all swans in general, have a strong history in folklore and fairytale, and it is time to search through such cultural riches in order to find wisdom and growth. Research the swan (and creatures such as the swan-maidens) in mythology, and look up stories that interest you. Go back to books that you read as a child and read them again. We shape our children’s lives through the stories we tell them, and it can be a joy and a source of growth and nostalgia in order to revisit old stories, and discover new ones.
Along with folklore and fairytale, revisit classic love stories and narratives; in film, in stories and of course in ‘real life.’ Many of us know of at least one couple or relationship that is successful, ask them how they met, or how they express their love for each other. It is often through asking for the narratives of others, that we learn how to apply it into our own lives. We learn a lot about love and the nature of love through story, both those written, painted and filmed, and those narrated to us by people we know.
If you work with energy, it is a good idea to work with consciously creating rituals in order to invoke happiness within yourself and within others. Black swan lends a great capacity to open us up to healing properties of love and in turn happiness, and taking advantage of this at this current time will be very nourishing.
There is an element of joy and freedom in serving another, if we choose to see it. I choose to serve the animals and deities I believe in, and in turn for such service I am rewarded with gifts that include concepts such as connection and compassion. Black swan can represent spiritual love and freedom. There is an element of joy in serving not only the spirits, of course, but the people around us. Compassion is an important part of this, through selflessly empathising with others, we open ourselves up to a more pure form of existence which also allows us to remain more open to love and liberation in return.
The Shadow Aspects:
Black swan’s shadow aspect challenges any cynicism we might have developed about ideas of love, romance and tenderness. We may have had our hearts bruised, or we may simply be a jaded person through circumstance. Swan tells us that at this time in our lives, such cynicism is unhelpful, and even unhealthy. It’s important to open your heart and find your romantic streak. This means being vulnerable and opening yourself up to real terror – but black swan insists that this must be done if you are to find happiness.
Black swan comes into the cards as a shadow aspect to tell you that you are giving away happiness too quickly. No matter what the reason, the only person who can hang onto happiness is YOU. Stop blaming others for your unhappiness, you are the person who is not helping yourself to happiness and health at this stage in your life.
Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you. Black swan is a proud animal guide / energy to visit, and will not dignify those who do not respect it with its presence. It will often require offerings, and you can consider foods or donations to an animal shelter, or even something artful and romantic to focus these aspects into your life at the same time.
Black swan can be a clear communicator, and will often ‘converse’ with those who visit it. It can be a stern teacher, has a very strong spirit, and can be a persistent guide (i.e. one that doesn’t just appear once and disappears, but sticks around sometimes for many decades). In journeying, swans are often found on islands in the middle of lakes, and using this as a starting point for a visualising (i.e. crossing such a lake to the island) can be very helpful.