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Old 25-02-2009, 09:22 PM   #5
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Alvin Boyd Kuhn said a few things about the swan symbolism, although I cannot vouch for his accuracy:

The bird that could rise off the water and soar away was inescapably a type of the rising soul. But the ancients joined the two kinds of life in one creature which became one of the most universal of all symbols, the winged serpent or feathered snake. Recent researches in Central America have brought to light the wide prevalence of this emblem in the Mayan and other civilizations on the American continent. And since it was general in Asia and Africa in remote times, the question of intercommunication or separate origin is once more pertinently raised. The snake that could fly is the incontrovertible evidence of ancient knowledge of the union of divinity and earthiness in man’s organic life. Man that is born of water and the spirit (air) should once again become wise as to his dual origin. And modern man should cease to belittle the mythopoetic genius of his ancestors who endeavored, with almost incredible sagacity, to embody important knowledge of cosmic facts in imperishable glyphs. In the terms of evolutionary biology the swan is the feathered snake, and Hansa, the bird of primordial life and intelligence that floats above the waters of the abyss, is the eternal emblem of that spiritual life that has stepped into our fluctuating sea of natural impulse to bring order, harmony and beauty into the realm of nescience and chaos.

The Akhekh gryphon is a dragon with wings. Wings and feathers supply the type of air and fire in the later Bird of the Sun. The bird symbolized the swift-darting and lofty-soaring motion of divine intelligence. The French Swan-Dragon unites the bird’s head with the serpent’s tail. An ancient Greek work makes the first godly nature a serpent which later transmuted into a hawk. One form of the gryphon was the body of a beast, the tail of a serpent and the head of a peacock. This is the mythical cockatrice. It was so named because of its origin from the egg of a cock hatched by a serpent. The divine is hatched and nurtured in the body of nature.
It was in the storm on the sea that the distressed sailors in the gray light of dawn saw Jesus walking upon the troubled waters, drawing nigh to them. In quieting the storm he played the part of Horus in the Ritual, of whom it is written: "He hath destroyed the water-flood of his mother"--nature. In another form this stands: "He hath dispersed the power of the raging rain-storm." And again: "He hath dispersed for thee the rain-storm, he hath driven away for thee the water-flood, he hath broken for thee the tempests." All this prefigures the stilling of the strong restless power of the natural elements in man’s lower life, the mother-material nature, symboled by water. The god descending into the sphere of "water" was imaged by the duck, goose or swan; who all dive for food under the water.
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