Little Swan was flying through the Dreamtime. Weary of being shunned and feeling different because of her awkward oversized duckling body and unusual ways, she had left behind everything she knew and set out alone to look for the future.
Swan had many dreams. She dreamed of being like everyone else. She dreamed of feeling like she fit in. She dreamed of being beautiful, or at least, of looking different from the way she looked now. But Swan knew that her dreams could only come true in the future, and so she flew.
This was Swan's first flight alone and she had happened into the Dreamtime quite by accident. She found the Dreamtime landscape unsettling in some way she couldn't quite put her finger on, and so she decided the best thing to do would be to keep flying until she was through it.
"I wouldn't want to get lost here in the Dreamtime," Swan thought, "so I should pay attention to what I see; that way I can make sure I'm not going in circles. Let's see ... there's a pond right below me, and over to my left, in the distance, that's Sacred Mountain."
Reassured that she'd gotten her bearings and would recognize the landmarks of the place she was starting from, Swan flew on and on. After some time she glanced down and, to her surprise, she saw what appeared to be the same pond right below her. Looking up she saw Sacred Mountain to her left in the distance.
"How did that happen!?" Swan thought. "After all this flying, I've gotten nowhere at all! I must have veered to my left without noticing what I was doing, and swung around in a circle. I really must pay closer attention and concentrate on flying straight. This time I'll keep Sacred Mountain behind me so I can't possibly make the same mistake."
With renewed determination Swan flew on, concentrating very hard on keeping her wing strokes straight. But the effort required to do this was tiring, and the frequent glances over her back to make sure Sacred Mountain was still behind her made Swan's neck hurt.
After flying for what seemed like a very long time, Swan happened to glance down -- and saw below her the very same pond. And there in the distance, to her left, was Sacred Mountain.
"Gosh darn it!" Swan gasped. "How could this have happened again?! I was trying so hard not to make the same mistake; but I must have spaced out somewhere along the way and lost track of where I was going. Either that, or this place is even stranger than I thought! Well, you won't catch me falling asleep at the wheel again! And this time, I'll fly with Sacred Mountain to my right so for sure I won't mess up!"
And so Swan set out again. But by this time she was very tired, and it felt as though she were flying through water or sludge instead of air. Yet on she flew, driven by her desire to leave the Dreamtime and get on with her search for the future. She kept Sacred Mountain within view on her right flank, although it was as much a struggle to keep her head up and eyes open as it was to keep her wings beating. Nevertheless she kept on, determined to make up for the time already lost.
After what seemed like a very long time in which she was flying almost in her sleep, the sight of a very familiar-looking pond passing beneath her drooping eyelids jolted Swan awake. At once she jerked her head up and there, off in the distance to her left, was the sight she now dreaded to see: Sacred Mountain.
By now thoroughly exhausted, Swan circled back to the pond and glided down onto its still surface to rest. Perplexed and utterly discouraged that all her efforts had only brought her back to where she'd started, she wondered how she would ever find the way into the future. Swan felt like giving up, but the truth was that she had nowhere else to go.
Then, high above Sacred Mountain, Swan saw a big swirling black hole. She was frightened by it but at the same time there was something about it that called her. In spite of her fear, Swan just couldn't take her eyes off it.
Just then Dragonfly flew by. Swan stopped him to ask about the black hole. "That is the doorway to the other planes, little one," Dragonfly said, "that one enters through the imagination. I am the guardian of illusion. If you want to enter there you will have to ask permission -- and, of course, you will have to earn the right to do so." "Why would anyone want to go into that swirling black hole, Dragonfly?" Swan asked. "And if they did, how would they earn the right to enter?"
"Only those who desire something truly different from what they've known ever enter that darkness," Dragonfly replied. "Very few ever do so unless they have nowhere else to go. And of those who wish to enter, only those who are willing to accept whatever the future holds -- as it is presented, and without trying to change the Great Spirit's plan -- ever earn the right to do so."
Glancing down at her ugly duckling body, Swan thought about how much of her life she'd spent longing to look different. She thought about how much she had wanted to somehow change so that she would be like everybody else. And she thought about how her desires for things to be different had brought her to where she was now, alone and lost in the Dreamtime.
Swan took a deep breath and turned to Dragonfly. "I'm not sure why, but I wish to enter the black hole," she said. "I will be happy to abide by the Great Spirit's plan, whatever it should turn out to be. I won't fight the currents of the black hole. I will surrender to the flow of the spiral. I will trust that what I am shown is what I am meant to see, and that what I become is what I am meant to be."
Dragonfly was satisfied with Swan's answer. He began to spin the magic to break through the pond's illusion. Suddenly Swan found herself engulfed by a whirlpool in the center of the pond.
Some time later, which could have been days or could have been years, Swan reappeared. But now she was graceful and long-necked and beautiful. Dragonfly was stunned at the change in her appearance. "Swan, what happened to you?" Swan smiled and said, "Dragonfly, I learned to surrender my body to the power of the Great Spirit, and I was taken to where the future lives. I saw many wonders high on Sacred Mountain, and because of my faith and acceptance I have been changed. I've learned to accept the state of grace."
Swan told Dragonfly of the wonders beyond the illusion. Healed in spirit through her acceptance of grace, she was now able to move freely in and out of the Dreamtime. And so it is that as we learn to surrender to grace, our rhythm begins to entrain with the heartbeat of the universe and we discover that we can slip from our physical bodies into the Dreamtime.
Swan medicine teaches us to be at one with all planes of consciousness and to trust in the Great Spirit's protection. Swan medicine people have learned to move in and out of altered states of awareness and to rely as much on "intuition" as they do on their other five senses. Their ability to perceive the future and the subtler planes of existence grows from their surrender to the Great Spirit, and their acceptance of transformation in their lives.
Adapted from "Medicine Cards" by David Carson & Jamie Sams
Swan . . . The power of woman entering Sacred Space Touching the future yet to come Bringing eternal grace.