source image - swan feather
And we all shine on, like the moon and the stars and the sun - John Lennon
I have been asking people to send me feathers, because I love using them for mandala making. My friend Doreen of Mandala's Message was gracious enough to send me some swan feathers from her buddies who swim on Silver Lake in upstate New York. Working with a white feather was challenging, and Im pleased with the results.
My intuition guided me to use nine rays for this mandala, though the apparent divisions are more subtle than usual in this piece. I used three mandalas of three layered one upon each other with varying degrees of opacity and rotated at different angles. Just now as I reached for one of my books about symbolism, I opened right to the page about the meaning of nine. Nine expresses mysterious realities of human existence. We are creatures of different levels. We are physical beings who think and have souls. Nine in our mandalas may suggest...that we live a more complete existence when we integrate all three. (Susanne Fincher, Creating Mandalas, p. 107)
Swans are a symbol of grace and they are also very powerful. They have the ability to break a man's arm with the beat of their wings. When I began reading about swan totem medicine, I realized they were not only a lovely symbol of transformation (the ugly duckling becomes the beautiful swan), but that they also taught us about recognizing our own inner beauty and power. In his book Animal Speak Ted Andrews speaks about the swan's graceful neck.
The neck is a bridge area between the head (higher realms) and the body (lower worlds)...as you begin to realize your own true beauty, you unfold the ability to bridge to new realms and new powers. This ability to awaken to the inner beauty and bridge it to the outer world is part of what swan medicine can teach. It can show how to see the inner beauty in ourselves and others, regardless of outer appearances. (p.195)When I asked the mandala what its message was, it sang back to me "Shine"
Sacred Circle Mandalas