The Swallow As Animal Totem
When swallows attract our attention, the spirit world wishes to provide us with some specialised guidance for that particular time. These birds can teach us a great deal, for example how to apply the power of objectivity, community fellowship and communications in group environments. Discernment and right actions at the right time, when dealing with influences that threaten to endanger our freedom of movement, as well as doing so with tenacity, style and class can be learnt from the swallows.
They encourage us to think quickly, react appropriately and use the power of our thoughts to bring about out hopes and dreams on the earthly plane. Our inner guidance, through our inborn nesting instincts, may wish to show us intuitively how to create something from nothing. If we use the gifts of our natural ingenuity and determination skilfully, everything that’s needed for this enterprise can be brought about.
Swallows are masters of the air and show us how to move with utmost grace, agility and style. Their appearance in our life asks us whether we are moving with the flow of our thoughts and ideals and whether we are working sufficiently in cooperation with others. They show us how love and communication, when they are paired with trust, can achieve most. When swallows capture our special attention in some way, the time may have come for renewing the environment around us and riding the favourable air currents and tailwinds to stay above anything that comes our way.
In times gone by the swallow could represent either as a sign of good or bad fortune. It was regarded as a noble creature that has a rich and colourful history behind it. Swallow was a symbol of love and faith, hope and honour and many other favourable attributes. For sailors it represented a symbol of loyalty and good fortune that connected them with the principles of honour, friendship and family. The swallow is one of the rare creatures that places great value on these things and we do well to apply them as guidelines to our life.
What characterises swallows most is their instinct for partnership. Throughout their whole lifespan they have only one mate. If our attention is drawn to the swallow somehow, it happens to remind us to take a closer look at how we are dealing with our relationships. Our spirit guides are calling us to look at the things we have done with our partners lately. Have we complimented them on what they are doing and did we do things for them to make their life easier and more enjoyable? Not because they asked us but because that’s what we wanted to do. What is our general attitude towards them? Have we gone wrong somewhere and maybe are inflicting pain and suffering on them?
In the Celtic tradition the swallow is a symbol for a change in the gender roles. The male builds the nest and then through its singing has to woo a mate. This may be worth considering if for us the time has come to let go of the roles and stereotypes that society for such a long time placed upon humankind.
The swallow also stands for a loyal and faithful kind of love. They are good examples of enduring faithfulness and love to one’s spouse, because they are monogamous and only choose one mate for their whole lifetime . That’s the only one with whom they ever mate. Because they return to their homes each year, it is believed that a man with a tattoo of the swallow can be expected to always return to his family. Since swallows never fly very far from their nesting place, the sight of them brings good tidings of homecoming to sailors because land is near. These birds are also believed to carry the spirits of sailors who have died at sea, to their home in the spirit world.
In the days of yore the swallow was thought to be connected with the Gods and the souls of those who passed into our other world. In Greek and Roman mythology some of the Gods and Goddesses could transform themselves into swallows. Mothers of children who have died revered the swallow as the bird that carried the soul of their little ones into the world of light. That’s why killing one these birds was frowned upon.
Most of the tattoos containing the image of the swallow were created after the form of the blue European barn swallow with its long forked tail. They build their nests out of mud and enjoy the freedom of the wide open skies wherever they appear. This is a symbol that every one of us also has the freedom of the wide open skies, i.e. the spirit realm and the promise of eventually finding everlasting true happiness.
Updated 13th October 2020
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