Symbol of serenity and grace, the snow-white swan is also the symbol of love and war. Regal and powerful, the largest of all waterfowl is the most favoured bird of gods and saints, kings, knights and maidens. Wherever the swan's presence has graced open lakes, rivers and marshes, it has given rise to myth and lore. It has even found itself a place amongst the heavenly constellations, as Cygnus the Swan, or the Northern Cross. It's bright appearance in summer and autumn skies has made it a friend to mariners through the ages. A powerful symbol of both the masculine and feminine, the swan is one of the most anthropomorphized creatures in folklore and legend.
Native Americans regard the swan as the symbol of grace, serenity, innocence, trust and submission. It was also a sky symbol, able to call up the four winds at the behest of the Great Spirit. In Christian myth, the pristine beauty and grace of the swan was compared to the Virgin Mary and the grace poured down upon her by the Holy Ghost. A darker interpretation suggests that beneath all those white feathers lurks ugly black feet a symbol of hypocrisy.
In heraldry, the swan is the symbol of music, despite it being a silent bird. It represents poetry and harmony, and a knight who professed a love of music incorporated the swan into his shield's charge or design. In England it remains the emblem of the River Thames and is protected by Royal Charter. For Caesar, the swan became his emblem of war after his victory over Mark Anthony.
Below you will find a gallery of inspirational images that will help you in your quest of creating the perfect swan tattoo.