Tattoo Symbols / Swan

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

One of the largest and impressive birds, lives between the liquid element and the element of air, pairs with a mate sometimes for life, his song is associated with death and has a great mythological history in every known culture.


Did you know:

No other aquatic bird reaches the speed at which the Swan moves either in water or in the air.

Source: https://el.wikipedia.org


Etymologically the Greek word "swan" comes from the Indo-European term "keuk", which translates as "shine, I am bright". Similarly, the English "swan" comes from the Latin "sonus" which means "sound" as well as the Indo-European "swénh" (the one that sounds). [Source: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/swan ]


There is also the well known ancient Greek expression κύκνειον ᾆσμα, which is still used today (in latin: carmen cygni). This phrase originates from the myth that this bird, although it never sings, just before its death it is singing one of the most beautiful melodies and it is used for the final work that someone leaves behind when he dies.


In Greek mythology Zeus transforms into a swan with the help of Aphrodite, in order to seduce the beautiful Leda (Queen of Sparta). The swan is also associated with The God Apollo and the Goddess Aphrodite.

These myths were inspiration for multiple works from the Hellenistic period and the Renaissance.

In India the swan (hamsa or hansa bird) is related to the soul and the evolution of consciousness and is considered a vehicle of the Gods (Brahma or Saraswati). It is symbolically said that the swan can separate milk from water. This allegorical reference is about the consciousness of "distinguishing" the real from the false, the substance from the meaningless. It is also associated as a symbol with the soul and its lonely journey to divinity.

In Viking mythology, swans were seen to be maidens called Valkyries who flew down to earth searching for the souls of brave warriors.


Based on all of the above, the swan is a mystical animal and carries the energy of water, earth and air, as it lives among all three elements. In this sense it brings harmony, beauty and balance between our spiritual and material self.

The swan supports the journey of our soul into life and helps us find our true path. It is directly connected to our spirituality and evolution. It reminds us that love and devotion, along with freedom and simplicity, bring the gifts of grace and beauty that emerge within us.






The Swan tattoo / placement

The swan tattoo is often part of a realistic design, part of a linear design and can be attributed in many ways (tribal, old school, neo-traditional, watercolour etc) and various sizes.

It is a quite favorable design choice, due to its direct correlation to the qualities of beauty and transformation.

As a symbol of love and purity but also because of its size, we often see it in an upper-back or chest placement. We also see it equally in both men and women.

Both placements around the heart offer a clear-up of emotions, helps in openness/space in the heart area and assists us to express our truer feelings and release what hurts us but no longer serves us.

One of my favourite placements is around the neck, where it can significantly improve our expressiveness and creativity, connection to our spiritual part, help us claim and accept our freedom of choices and path, enhancing the element of air in our lives.

On the lower back, waist and sides, it is more related to the flow of the water element, the nourishment of our relationship to others and to thyself, the dedication to what we love and our connection to life. The swan, wherever it is placed, helps us in the liberation, the expression of our beauty and grace, in our connection with the journey of life in a more complete and natural way. The swan combines strength and tenderness, devotion and freedom, water and air, travel and destination... it is a symbol of mysticism and deeper beauty that hides in all aspects of life and ultimately leads to transcendence.


Never forget that every tattoo and symbol takes its meaning from the one who wears it on his body!


Check out my tattoo page and message me for a custom design that we co-create with love and enthusiasm! Like my facebook page to stay in touch! About Mandira Antar

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