Gifts: Beauty. Grace. Intuition. Emotion. Staying on top of emotions. Staying true to your Self.
Challenges: Trying to fit in where you don’t belong. Feeling like an “ugly duckling.” Staying too much on the surface.
When Swan is your lifetime power animal, it is likely that you will be unaware of having these gifts or that you are hiding them or refusing to believe that they are really yours. “Who am I to be a beautiful swan?” Who are you not to be?
That highlights right away a common challenge with Swan: Feeling worthy of Swan’s gifts. To many Swan people, it can feel almost arrogant to accept Swan’s gifts. It can feel like bragging to admit, “Yes, Swan is my spirit animal.”
It’s much easier to feel like an “ugly duckling”—never really fitting in, never really finding your tribe. This extends even to your inner world of self-perception and beliefs. Other people may see you as a graceful, elegant Swan, but inside you feel like a total awkward mess.
Why the insistence on denying your Swan? In addition to feeling unworthy, you may be afraid of the attention. Swan isconnected to the prima donna archetype. Think of the ballet Swan Lake. Or Natalie Portman in the movie “Black Swan.” Swan wants to be seen. Swan needs to be seen.
And you hate to admit that, don’t you?
Visibility. Recognition. Applause. These are all valid, legitimate human needs. There is nothing wrong with or flawed about you for having those needs. There is nothing arrogant or ego-driving about you for having those needs. In fact, the most human thing you can do is to acknowledge your needs—to yourself, at the very least, if not to someone else.
Pay attention to the color of your Swan’s beak—and it may change color depending on what you need from it. An orange beak indicates a mute swan. A black beak indicates a trumpeter swan. An orange beak is not a sign for you to be mute. Remember Swan’s need for visibility! Rather, a black beak signals that you must make use of your voice.
Swan is a symbol of passion, and yet Swan also offers the gift of gliding over emotions. Physical swans do not dive underwater the way ducks do. They stay gently on the surface of the water and stick their heads under to get food. Their long necks allow them to reach deeper without actually diving in.
The message for you is to trust your ability to stay afloat, even when you stick your head fully in emotion. Enough of you is staying on the surface to keep you from drowning (refer again to Natalie Portman’s character in “Black Swan”). But it is essential to stick your neck out (take a chance) and put your head all the way in. Passion is not superficial. It is deep and murky and messy. Swan teaches that you can be passionate and still be graceful and elegant.