By TammyWhite
2 years ago

The Swan throughout our lives

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If we had to choose an animal associated with beauty, I affirm without fear of being mistaken, that we would mostly choose the Swan.
Apart from its obvious beauty, this relationship can derive from the special link between swans and gods.

The swan was a bird consecrated to Apollo, as God of music, because it was believed that the swan shortly before dying, sang melodiously.
Ovid places the swans on the Champs-Elysees. They were also consecrated to Venus, either because of its marvelous whiteness, or because of its temperament quite similar to that of the goddess of delight. The float of Venus is sometimes pulled by swans.


But undoubtedly the most famous story that unites these birds with the gods, is that of the conception of Leda's children.

The king of Laconia (in Sparta), Tindáreo, was married to a beautiful woman: Leda, daughter of Testio, descendant according to some legends of the god Ares himself. The young woman strolled from time to time along the banks of the river Eurotas, soon being discovered by the divine Zeus who, contemplating it, fell in love with her. But, as was his custom, the king of Olympus did not appear before the girl in all her majesty, but transformed into a beautiful swan, then hastened to seduce her. Leda joined him and became pregnant.
Francisco Villaespesa tells us beautifully in this fragment of "The gardens of Aphrodite":


«The swan came closer. Tremble Leda
The hand sinks in the snow of the plumage,
and the soul of the landscape is numbed
of a red silk twilight.
The blue wave, when dying, sighs;
a nightingale chirps among the branches,
and a bull, drunk with love, wild muge
in the nuptial shadow of the grove.
The swan extended the curve of its neck,
and with the wing-wide fan-
He caressed her breasts and hair.
Leda gave a cry and was ecstatic ...
and the swan raised, red, its beak
as a triumphant bloody badge»

And from there were born Helena (the beautiful one), Clytemnestra (famous wife of Agamenon) and the Dioscuri, Castor and Polux.
Here you can find a wonderful and extensive collection of myth iconography.

In Norse mythology, swans also have special relevance. The Valkyries made frequent flights to the land with swan feathers, which they took off when they reached a secluded river, in order to enjoy a bath. Any mortal who would surprise them in this way and obtain their plumage, could prevent them from leaving Earth and could even force these proud warriors to marry them if that was their wish.


Later, we find the story of Lohengrin knight of the grail, son of Parsifal. The story tells that in the last expedition in search of the grail carried out by King Arthur, it is Parsifal who manages to grab the grail accompanied by his young son, Lohengrin. After taking over the treasure, the only law that these brave knights must respect is to keep their lives a secret, they can never tell anyone who they are or where they come from. If they do not fulfill this promise, they must return to the sacred place to guard the grail until the end of their days. Gathered all the knights of the grail in Montsalvat, anxiously wait for the bell to ring indicating that someone needs help. This time the bell rings for the prayers of the Princess of Brabant and it is Lohengrin who decides to go to his aid.


A mysterious swan leads Lohengrin to Brabant to help Elsa who has been accused of murder by Ortrud, the sorceress eager for power. No one believes Elsa and her father, the king of Brabant, repudiates her for carrying out such a terrifying crime. Locked in the darkest castle tower, she can see through the window the swan-shaped ship with an unknown knight, strangely dressed, who nobody recognizes.
In the Dictionary of Symbols of J.E. Cirlot, we are told that in literature, the swan acquires great relevance thanks to Baudelaire, because it associates the swan as imgaen to the fate of the poet, condemned to humiliation, forced to drag his splendid plumage in the dust of the city, crying the loss of the "natal lake" and his exile in a surly, ugly environment. Thus, the poet is associated with his feelings, emblem of his condition, of his condemnation to live among vulgarity. Prisoner on the ice of his own failure, the great swan of Mallarmé, suffers in the lake that retains the memory of his failure. It is, therefore, a symbol of impotence and doubt, having renounced a free future, accepting with anguish the paralysis imposed by space.

Later we would arrive "The lake of the swans", sublime piece of Dance, composed by Tchaikovsky.


In our most recent iconography we continue to associate this bird with beauty, as the necessary conclusion of the story of the Ugly Duckling. Although I am left with a couple of equally important references in my fiction record: the Black Swan masterfully played by Natalie Portman and the Apollnean Swan Knight from Saint Seiya (Knights of the Zodiac).


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2 years
Campanita OMG what a beauty
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Lucia5 Good post
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beatofangel Que maravilla de foto Tammy
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waflay There goes the legend of Leda and the Swan
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AdeelKazim good One :)
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dorageorg Lovely
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Justin Interesante
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Explorer2017 beautiful
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Joanac Good post
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fortune yes, i would choose a swan
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fabio26 wonderful post
2 years