Saturday, 1 July 2017

Accession : The Swan

Her grave, on the "Round Oval", on the island in the lake.

A path with 36 oak-trees, marking each year of her life, is leading to the "Round Oval". 

Originally the family-animals were buried on this island, including Diana´s  favorite cat Marmalade

The oak and limetrees on the island are planted 
by the family, also by Diana herself. 

White Rambling roses are planted all over. 

At the end of the island stands an urn from Portland stone. 

Four black swans are swimming in the lake, symbolizing sentinels guarding Diana's grave. 

In a dream Charles Spencer saw this vision. 

In the water there are several water lilies. 

White roses and lilies were Diana's favorite flowers.

swan (Latin cygnus or olor) A BIRD of great symbolic significance for the ancient world (despite its rarity in Mediterranean regions); its limber neck and WHITE plumage made it a symbol of noble purity. 

This is why Zeus chose to approach the unsuspecting Leda in this guise. It is interesting that Homer (in Hymn 21) praises the singing swan, which (unlike the mute swan) lives only in more northern latitudes. 

This swan is associated with Apollo, who also was said to be revered especially by the northern mythic race of Hyperboreans

The swan was present at the god's birth, carried him across the sky, and derived from him its gift of prophecy. 

At times the swan is referred to as the enemy or opponent of the EAGLE or (like the eagle) of the SNAKE, each of which the swan frequently defeats. 

The proverbial "swan song" (the significant final words or performance of a great person) goes back to the prophetic talent of the swan, already mentioned by Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.): it supposedly foresees its impending death and emits extraordinary cries bemoaning its own passing.

J. Boschius, 1702
 Swan: "Unblemished radiance." J. Boschius, 1702 

 In fact, the singing swan of Northern Europe (cygnus musicus) can produce a powerful Swan song. A trumpet-like note in the upper register and a weaker one in the lower, even shortly before it is paralyzed by severe cold. If several of these swans cry at once, they do give the impression of song.

According to Germanic superstition, VIRGINS could be transformed into prophetic swan maidens (as in the Nibelungenlied); similar myths (in which the maidens can doff their plumage) are found in a variety of cultural contexts. 

In Christian thought the cygnus musicus came to symbolize the Savior crying out from the Cross in extremis. 

The association of the bird with song (and hence lyrical beauty) led Ben Jonson to call Shakespeare "the sweet swan of Avon."

 The swan often symbolizes feminine grace; Aphrodite and Artemis (Latin DIANA) are often portrayed as accompanied by swans. It is in part because of the association of swans with physical grace that Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake is for many the quintessential classical ballet.

 In the imagery of ALCHEMY the swan symbolizes the element mercury (see SULFUR AND MERCURY) in its volatility.

 The swan is important in HERALDRY as well, frequently appearing in coats of arms (e.g., those of Boulogne-sur-Mer and the Saxon city of Zwickau, whose Latin name was Cygnea). 

A chivalric Order of the Swan was founded in 1440, then renewed in 1843 by the German king Friedrich Wilhelm II as a charitable secular order, but never came into operation.

A strange, negative symbolic interpretation of the swan surfaces in medieval bestiaries. In contrast to its snow-white plumage, it is written, the bird has "utterly BLACK flesh": 

"Thus it is a symbol of the hypocrite, whose black sinful flesh is clothed by white garments. 

When the bird's white plumage is stripped away, its black flesh is roasted in the fire. 

So, too, will the hypocrite, once dead, be stripped of worldly splendor and descend into the fires of hell"

Bockler, on the other hand, writes that swans do battle even with eagles if attacked. 

They "are the royalty among water fowl; the meaning that they carry is of the whiteness of peace" (1688). 

This poetic formulation is reminiscent of the swan knight, Lohengrin.

No comments:

Post a Comment