This little iridescent Tree Swallow was a local resident in
a Jackson, Wyoming time-share community. She was perched for quite some time on
a sign that directed visitors to the hot tub, and of course, after thanking this sweet
“Cruise Director”, (think Julie, the Cruise Director on the 70s prime time hit,
The Love Boat), I couldn’t help but take her picture.
So, what of these little graceful flyers? What might they
have to teach us?
Well, let’s begin with swallow’s cycle of power, which is the Summer Solstice. It is considered a favored bird because it heralds the arrival of
summer. The swallow is known to follow warm weather, thus
evoking the “hip-hip-hooray-for- summer” feelings in those of us who welcome
the warmth of this season and all the colorful glory that accompanies it.
The swallow is quite the interesting little bird, and has
its own legends and tales unique to it. One Indian legend tells how the swallow
stole fire from the sun and brought it to the Earth, carrying it on its tail
feathers. It is because of this action that its tail feathers are now forked
and spine-like. Because of this and because the swallow comes with warm
weather, it is associated with the sun and fire.
In the Middle Ages, a variety of beliefs were attributed to
the swallow. Many believed that swallows knew of a magical stone or a magical
herb (Celandine) that could restore eyesight. In a Scandinavian legend, the
swallow hovered over the cross and cried “cheer up, cheer up!” to
Indeed, this is quite the fascinating little creature that
has magic and mystery associated with it. Good luck, success and changing luck
are associated with a swallow building its nest on one’s house. A swallow
nesting on a house would reflect protection and preservation from disaster especially
fire and storm. On the contrary, it is a general belief that to kill a swallow
will bring bad luck.
As most of us have observed, we see that swallow is a very petite bird. It is an insect-eating bird, and
while its bill is quite small, swallow’s mouth opens amazingly wide!
Symbolically, this hints at communication being much more than what it appears to be. Do we need to listen more
closely to what is being said and not be
put off by who is saying it or how it comes out? Given all that is
happening in our world—in this time/ space continuum—swallow may very well teach us that
there is hidden wisdom in our own words or in the words of others.
Swallow is a very graceful flyer, and it actually
spends little time on the ground. This aspect teaches us to not become too deeply
enmeshed in the mundane. When swallow shows up, we might ask ourselves: “Is it time for a fresh perspective?” Having very small and weak legs and feet, swallow reinforces the idea that we are at our
weakest when we try to handle things from a strictly mundane viewpoint. We are
weakest in solving problems when we do not distance ourselves from them. In
stepping back, the distance we create will help us to see things more clearly.
Thank you, Swallow…