“Fact, it’s light at night on the Baltic Sea Coast,” the pirate said, stepping off his sailboat moored at Kiel, the city by the gateway from the North Atlantic to the Baltic sea.

Kiel has a rich naval tradition but today it’s vibrant, laid-back and urban. At the base of the lighthouse is a pavilion, a beautiful setting on the Kiel Fjord, where the late-19th century buildings full of maritime charm in the heart of Kiel pull you into the lullaby of another time. On the eastern bank of Kiel is the harbor of Möltenort, where the impressive sunsets prevail and close to the harbor there are kiosks, restaurants and a white sandy beach, as well as a sea bathing house and the U-boat Memorial with the famous eagle.

Near the Bülk lighthouse, at the western cape of the Firth of Kiel, is Strande with its cafes full of delectable pastries, pungent teas, tasty beer and coffees, known locally as a fishing spot and and its naval history along the Baltic Sea coast. This is where the Fördedampfer ferryboats connect the eastern and western banks of the state capital and transfer people passing from the outer reaches of Germany, further north to the Scandinavian countries by sea. Strolling along the banks, I encountered not just the sailboats docking and their occupants, but countless seagulls and a very lovely swan.

In Greek mythology, the swan was a bird associated with Apollo. The swan is also sacred to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and it is said, brings romance, stimulates fantasy, creativity and allows for true love to blossom making her a lucky totem for soul mates. Seeing a swan let’s you know that true love is near, or for those who are apart from their mates, she teaches about love through time and space.

Swan of beauty, swan of grace
A queen among her ancient race
She glides across the mirrored lake
No ripple does the surface break

Swan Song in ancient Greek: κύκνειον άσμα

The Swan Song is originally ancient Greek, κύκνειον άσμα, a metaphorical phrase for a final gesture, or performance given just before death. It refers to a legend that swans sing a beautiful song in the moment just before they die, ending a lifetime of silence. This belief was widespread in Ancient Greece by the 3rd century BC, and was manifested throughout the world in poetry and art.

In Hinduism, swans are endowed with a mystical connection between the mundane world and the spiritual as they represent the capability of residing in both worlds because they are connected to air and water.

Cygnus is the Latin word for swan and there are many legends about how this star constellation was named “Cygnus”. And it can be best seen in the Northern Hemisphere during the summer months and early fall. In many myths it is claimed that Zeus transformed himself into a swan in order to win Leda’s love.

Surrounding places like Mönkeberg, Heikendorf, Laboe, Falckenstein and Schilksee, as well as Strande, the harbor boat tours abound, as well as “Die Förde-Flirt-Fahrt” (the Firth flirting tour). I call it “flirting tour” because when the pirate winked at me, a young Johnny Depp, with blue eyes and blonde hair, something about the salty sea air and the hot June sun stirred the rebellious youth and yearning for freedom I had almost forgotten about.

In Mongolia there is an old legend about a hero named Khori Tumed. Near Lake Baikal he saw nine swans land on the island of Oikhon. The swans took off there feather coats and revealed that they were women. He hid one of the coats of feathers, and the story goes, this is how he met his swan bride. She not only bore and named, but blessed their sons. But she could not ignore her calling. As she flew away, she swooped over the tents and showered blessings and good fortune on all of the tribe. The tribe knew they were very fortunate to have received the protection of the swan woman.

Then she was gone. She was free again.

Swan Mythology

The Swan is a very powerful animal totem and it can have different meanings. The Swan as a spirit animal can help you see into the future and develop your own intuitive abilities. The Swan is a symbol of purity, beauty, love and grace, but it can also symbolize divination and balance, as in the Hindu belief.

  • Awakening the power of self
  • Understanding dream symbols
  • Seeing into the future
  • Spiritual evolution
  • Developing intuitive abilities
  • Messenger of faith, love and luck
  • Divination
  • Grace in dealing with others
  • Transformation

According to Swan Spirit Animal symbolism, the swan brings about realization of the ability to bridge new realms. Swan mojo will show you how to access your own inner child as well as the gold in others. She teaches about the songs and poetry, which enliven the inner goddess. Swan mythologies celebrate beauty, culture, art, love, faith and depth of soul.

Then, there is my new favorite spot, the Firth of Kiel, where the ferries of the Schlepp- and Fährgesellschaft Kiel procure old maritime sailboats and pirates, much to my delight, the stories of salty old sea captains almost as tantalizing as the swarthy muscles and heavy lidded stares of the younger ship mates who’ve been away from land long enough to be steamy. Going to the beaches and maritime places during windy blue skied summer days is quite an experience.

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