Totems of Swan Lake, Swan River and the Celestial Swan Ocean

By Phoenix the Elder – I have had many mystical experiences in my life and still do and one of them was with two celestial swans. The night my mother died, I was at her home with her and I dreamed as she was preparing to leave her body in death. In my dream it was a hurricane outside and I was boarding up the windows so it wouldn’t ravish the house. Waiting inside for the passage, I just sat there with my young niece who was about three years old, I was about thirty.

Then the storm was done (my mother was able to leave her body fully, with all silver chords almost cut) and me and my niece in the dream went outside (the home where I grew up and my mother and father still lived) and I look up in the sky and there were two huge celestial swans slowly across the sky, filling half of it. It made me really happy. The next morning she died, I was really sad and heartbroken but the Swan dream made me happy at the same time.

I never forgot this first celestial experience in my dream, because it was of a death and upperworld or heavenly experience. Now thirty years later, I know a whole lot more about animism after having completed my transitions of my animism souls. I know even more about the layers of the Swan and the connections of how to work to attain the animism souls by paying your karma. I share this work in my circle of students and apprentices.


Swan Totem
The swan was seen as a traditional symbol of death, rebirth, beauty and grace in ancient Greece, and was sacred to Goddess Aphrodite (Venus). The swan is also sacred to Helios, the enlightened man before Zeus cultures. The swan is one of the most powerful and ancient totems of woman.

All bird totems represent the Soul and soul flight and our emotional body is connected to our soul, but our many souls are elusive and do not live within us. We get just enough of our soul to reincarnate and the rest of responsibility in life is to heal, so our soul can be purified of karma. Swan in a young persons dream or symbolism in waking, means the work at hand is to begin to start your emotional healing. This can take decades to heal mind, body and emotional body, and the rewards are to your eternal soul, which Swan represents.

For an older person over fifty or sixty, it could mean that there is a death and rebirth that will occur, not like owl who is warning, but an accepted death, either one’s own, or someone we love. Swan is not a simple all love and light messenger, it is the great and most powerful transformation of the soul which is dying and moving on from this life into the eternal life.

Swan also represents beauty, so if it comes as a message, its time to begin to gain control over lower vibration things like drugs, pot, shamanic plants / drugs, alcohol, strong medications, all the things that deteriorate our soul within and makes us weak. Purity is the swans message here, so take your spiritual path seriously and try to start to heal your mini or major addictions that harm your soul.

Life wants to help us, nature wants to guide us, but most of the work is up to you and its not easy nor fun nor even pleasurable. To become beautiful (high vibration) like the swan, you have to swim in the swamp to find where you are lost, where you  have allowed others to drag you into their lower vibration bubble. Swan is the message of beauty (health, peace, balance and harmony) for your soul(s).

Since swan is a high level totem, a high level animism soul, there is less information needed. On non-bird totems or animism souls like wolf, or insects (fairy clans), their is a lot of information because between 30-60 years old, we live the abundances, fullness and karmic part of our lives. Swan comes as the beginning or end of your spiritual journey, so if it comes to you, your path must now change into healing, rather than the knowledge or new age paths. Go join yoga, or work with a healer or any of the healing modalities that help you begin your journey to your soul.

Mute swan flapping wings

Swan Poem
‘The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky; upon the brimming
water among the stones, are nine-
and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore. All’s changed since I,
hearing at twilight, the first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

russian painter mikhail vrubel - the swan princess 1900
In a faraway kingdom, there lives a widowed king with his twelve children: eleven princes and one princess. One day, he decides to remarry and he married an evil  queen. The queen turns her eleven stepsons into swans (they are allowed to become human by night) and forces them to fly away. The queen then tries to bewitch their 15-year-old sister, Elisa, but Elisa’s goodness is too strong for this, so the queen has Elisa banished. The brothers as Swans carry Elisa to safety in a foreign land where she is out of the reach of her stepmother.

There, Elisa is guided by the queen of the fairies to gather stinging nettles in graveyards to knit into shirts that will eventually help her brothers regain their human shapes. Elisa endures painfully blistered hands from nettle stings, and she must also take a vow of silence for the duration of her task, for speaking one word will kill her brothers. The king of another faraway land happens to come across the mute Elisa and falls in love with her and he grants her a room in his castle where she continues her knitting. Eventually he proposes to crown her as his queen and wife, and she accepts.

The brothers discover Elisa’s plight about being killed once the queen finds her, and they try to speak to the king but fail, thwarted by the rising sun. Even as the tumbril bears Elisa away to execution, she continues her embroidery, determined to keep it up to the last moment of her life. This enrages the people, who are on the brink of snatching and destroying the shirts when the swans descend and rescue Elisa.

The Wild Swans - A Russian TaleThe people interpret this as a sign from Heaven that Elisa is innocent, but the executioner still makes ready for the burning. When Elisa throws the shirts over the swans, her brothers return to their human forms. Sadly, the youngest brother has a swan’s wing instead of an arm, as Elisa did not have time to finish one sleeve of his shirt.

Elisa is now free to speak and tell the truth, but she faints from exhaustion, so her brothers explain. As they do so, the firewood around Elisa’s stake miraculously takes root and bursts into flowers. The king plucks the topmost flower and presents it to Elisa, and they are married.

Stay Connected: To be on Elder Mountains once a month Moon Work-study for the emotional body and soul awareness, please send an email to or read about the Lunar Workstudy here.

Source: “The Wild Swans at Coole” a lyric poem by Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865–1939). Written between 1916 and early 1917, the poem was first published in the June 1917 issue of the Little Review, and became the title poem in the Yeats’s 1917 and 1919 collections The Wild Swans at Coole; Russian painter Mikhail Vrubel – The Swan Princess 1900; “The Wild Swans” by Arthur Gaskin


2 Comments Add yours

  1. saymber says:

    A poem I just recently shared by William was his The Second Coming….how timely is your post here! Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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