This totem heralds the arrival of summer and brings warmth and protection to your home. It also tells you to pay close attention to conversations - are you saying more than you should? Are you listening closely to what others have to say? Swallow also brings a warning to not let small things get to you - don't let the mundane activities of life take up all you time and prevent you from moving forward. Rise above the small stuff and you will gain a better perspective on your life. The key is objectivity.
During the Old Kingdom, swallows were associated with stars and therefore the souls of the dead. Chapter 86 of the Egyptian Book of the Dead specifically instructs the deceased on how to transform into a swallow. In Spell 1216 of the Pyramid Texts, the pharaoh describes how he has "gone to the great island in the midst of the Field of Offerings on which the swallow gods alight; the swallows are the imperishable stars." The imperishable stars were those near the North Star that never seemed to rise or set, and therefore were "constant".
The swallow also appears in paintings of the solar barque as it enters the underworld. The swallow is usually shown on the prow of the boat. In this context, the bird appears to be an announcer of the sun's approach.
In Egyptian love poetry, the swallow declares the dawn of new love.
A "swallow" is a bird, which makes its appearance during spring. The expression "one swallow does not make a summer" is usually used as a sort of warning. You are telling an individual not to become too happy about something; you are advising him to err on the side of caution. You are asking the individual not to get too excited just because a couple of good things have happened; there is still a long way to go yet.
This is another one of those expressions which became popular thanks to Aesop's fables. According to the story, a young man sees a swallow on a warm winter day. Since swallows are usually seen only during spring, the young man thinks that spring has arrived. As a result he sells his winter coat and then proceeds to drink with the money he has made. A few days later, it becomes extremely cold again and the young man shivering in the cold realises that one swallow does not necessarily imply that summer has arrived. Other expressions which have more or less the same meaning are "one grain does not fill a sack" and "one actor cannot make a play".
Swallows speak to us about partnership. Swallow pair monogamously (having only one partner). And so when the swallow wings its way into our thoughts it's time to focus on our relationships. Swallows ask us what we have we done for our partner lately. Pay a compliment, run an errand (out of kindness, not obligation) or offer assistance without being told. As Celtic animal symbols, the swallow also bends common gender roles. The males are the one to start the nest and they sing lovely songs to woo their mate into their freshly made roost. We can take the same cue from the swallow by going outside of our conditioned gender roles.
Swallow - The swallow, like the bluebird, is a symbol of hope. As a nautical tattoo design, the swallow has been sometimes mistaken within popular culture for the bluebird, and the two very different species of birds - the Barn Swallow and eastern Bluebird, to be exact - have quite similar colouring, with bright accents of blue and and orange, verging to both red and yellow. In ancient times, the swallow was associated with the 'imperishable' stars and the souls of the dead. According to Greek legend, secret texts told how to transform into a swallow, something the ancient deities liked to do. It was also a totem bird for sorrowing mothers who had lost a child. To kill a swallow was very unlucky, as the swallow carried the souls of children who had died.
Interestingly, both good luck and bad are attributed to the swallow. It heralds the coming of spring and happiness, poets praise it, and it appears on the flowering peach branch in classical Chinese painting. In Egyptian love poetry, the swallow sings of the first signs of a new love. For some, it's a symbol of fertility and renewal, a harbinger of good and a symbol of transformation. For the pilgrim to Mecca, the swallow is the symbol of constancy and faith, and is said to fly to that holy city each year. Swallows mate for life, and therefore represents fidelity and loyalty, but in Japan, it can be a symbol of unfaithfulness. Some legends warn of a swallow flying through the house, since it brings tidings of displeasure from the gods, and likely foreshadows bad luck. In China it symbolizes daring, danger and a change for good in the future.
For more than a century the swallow has been a favorite tattoo motif for sailors. It's often a sign that land is near. During migrations that can be thousands of miles in distance, swallows are known to travel far out to sea, but would alight on boats when close to land - a welcome sign for the sailor hoping for landfall. It's a tradition for sailors -- after logging 5,000 miles at sea -- to sport the swallow tattoo. Two swallows proclaims 10,000 sea miles. And a swallow with a dagger through its heart is a memorial for a friend lost at sea.
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