In The Sacred Sex Rites of Ishtar, I write about the stage of lovemaking that used to be known in the Egyptian temple system as The Adoration of the Beloved. This is the alchemical stage where the sacrum of the woman opens. It is her sacred holy of holies that can only be unlocked with the ‘open sesame’ key of divine adoration. Then, a great force of magnetic frequencies explode out in the form of a song of love that crosses dimensions, just as Mary sang the Magnificat after her visit from Gabriel.
And so where are these esoteric secrets hidden? Why is this natural alchemical practice not talked about, or taught about, more? Well, I’ll leave you to find the answer to the second question. But the answer to the first one is simple. It is, in fact, talked about …a lot. It is an integral part of just about every ancient myth cycle of every culture. But you may not recognise it because, unlike this coarse and literal age that we live in today, our ancestors were more coy and poetic in describing the cross-dimensional love rites that fertilised the creation. And so there are heroes and heroines falling in love with swans all over the place.
For instance, the swan was never far from any images of Isis, the Egyptian winged goddess of immortality and fertility. This statue, simply entitled Isis, was installed in Hyde Park, London, in 2009:
In all the old swan stories, there is one common theme… one that features the spiritual forces that drive the sacred, otherworldly love of the womb shaman, who has traversed most of her decreed passage here on Earth. Now her crane bag is full to overflowing with magical gifts that she wants to bestow on the creation of her Beloved, to water his Garden.
When she looks around her and sees the indescribable beauty of the colours of the light, and the deep soft illumination within the diamond sparkling blackness, and all that has taken life through those hallowed auspices, the only romantic relationship she wants is with the one whose song of love continually creates, maintains and eventually destroys that universe.
The swan song of the older womb shaman comes after she no longer looks to any part of the creation to satisfy her needs, other than to admire her Beloved’s deft brushstrokes in every red, gold and magenta sunset and every honeyed rose pink gossamer dawn. Otherwise, her only desire is to find her true place within his handiwork by using the body of her temple to give back, and more, the riches of the treasures that she has received. To her, that is the ultimate pleasure and delight of human life.
This is not theory, or a hypothesis. It is certainly not objective science. It is the subjective experience of the older womb shaman who is gathering in her fruits and her grains ready for the harvest.
Her story begins the night skies, in the constellation of Cygnus the swan, that glides down the river of the Milky Way.
And so just as the ancient Greek god Zeus made love to Leda in the shape of a swan, so this alchemical marriage between the dimensions can be found in countless other stories our ancestors told around their night-time fires.
In the Celtic myths, the animal familiar of Bridie is the swan.
We hear more about this swan song in the myths about the Tuatha da Danaan, in which the hero Aonghus becomes lovesick for the woman who comes into his dreams. He searches everywhere in the waking life for her, but no avail. He takes to his bed, and refuses all food until she is found. His father pleads on his behalf to the gods. They eventually tell him that she is named Caer, and that she is a swan maiden who only takes human form every year after summer is over.
Aonghus waited patiently for the day to arrive, and then he went down to the shore of the lake. There, surrounded by thrice-fifty swans, he saw Caer, herself a swan surpassing all the rest in beauty and whiteness.
He called to her, proclaiming his passion and his name, and she promised to be his bride if he too would become a swan.
Aonghus swiftly agreed, and they embraced one another. Then they flew around the lake three times before flying off to Brug na Boinne (the Milky Way) where, the legends tell us, they put the gods to sleep with their enchanted singing.
But there are so many swan-human liaisons in our mythic literature, and they all tell the same love story.
In a myth from the Ulster Cycle, the princess Derbforgaill is so in love with the great, flaming-headed hero Cú Chulainn that she turns herself and her handmaidens into swans, so that they could always be near him. Cú Chulainn, however, didn’t realise her true identity, and he threw a stone at her swan form, which wounded her, and transformed her back instantly into her human form. Cú Chulainn saved her, by sucking the stone out. Unfortunately, though, he couldn’t marry her because, according to Irish taboos in those days, you couldn’t marry someone whose blood you have tasted. So Derbforgaill ended up marrying his foster son.
In the old swan tales, the symbology of the romantic liaison of the swan and the human is just another way of describing the alchemical marriage, in which a human being makes love with a god or goddess. Sometimes, it is described as a liaison between a fairy and a human, as in the story about Woden in his identity of Wayland the Smith.
Wayland the Smith falls in love with Swanhilde, who is the daughter of the fairy king and a human woman. One day, in flight, she is wounded by a spear, thus transforming her back to her human form. Gone were her wings and her magical ring that gave her her powers of shapeshifting, and she is kidnapped by thieves. But Wayland searches for her, and he finds her. Then he forges wings to help them both escape.
Of course, it’s a similar story to that of the ballet Swan Lake, which was created from Russian and German folktales. Prince Seigfried is so in love with Odette, the swan maiden, that they end up drowning together in the lake rather than have to face life apart.
There are many variations on this swan theme. Sometimes, evil stepmothers or wicked wizards turn humans into swans. But the underlying message is always the same … it is always the story of the graceful, divine bird that crosses dimensions to meet in congress with the shaman when she or he is ready for their swan song.
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Understand the alchemical dynamics of sacred love in the rites of sex magic.
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2 thoughts on “Swan Song, After the Summer is Over”
Good timing. I’ve thought about the Children of Lir, I think they were, and the “doomed ” love between the valkyrie and hero in Norse mythology who are reborn as, I believe, swans. I didn’t know about the rest of it, so that’s fun to learn. Thanks. Also. You find nice art for your posts. I always mean to say that.
Thanks! I enjoy searching to find the right picture to describe my words. Sometimes, I can’t. I really would have loved a painting of Cygnus the swan sailing down the Milky Way, but there wasn’t one.
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