The Seven Swans A-Swimming
The Seven Swans A-Swimming Represent The Sevenfold Gifts Of The Spirit
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit is one of several works in Christian devotional literature which follow a scheme of seven. Others include the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, the beatitudes, the seven last words from the cross, the seven deadly sins, and the seven virtues. The seven gifts are found in the Book of Isaiah 11:1-2, where the Biblical passage refers to the characteristics of a Messianic figure understood by Christians to be Jesus Christ empowered by the “Spirit of the Lord”.
Wisdom – according to St. Bernard, it both illumines the mind and instills an attraction to the divine
Understanding – the gift of understanding gives us a profound appreciation for God’s providence
Counsel – the gift of counsel operates under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to illuminate the will of God
Fortitude – is often identified with courage, but Aquinas takes its meaning to also encompass endurance.
Knowledge – the gift of knowledge allows one, to see things from God’s perspective. It “allows us to perceive the greatness of God and his love for his creatures” through creation.
Piety accords with reverence – Pope Francis said that piety is a recognition of “…our belonging to God, our deep bond with him, a relationship that gives meaning to our whole life and keeps us resolute, in communion with him, even during the most difficult and troubled moments”.
Fear of the Lord is akin to wonder (or awe). – Pope Francis said that it “is no servile fear, but rather a joyful awareness of God’s grandeur and a grateful realization that only in him do our hearts find true peace”. source
According to another source: Egypt linked swans with immortality, just like they did the geese. The Greek priests, who worship Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, are believed to be descended from swans. Old Celtic and British myths believe that lost loved ones turn into swans, with gold or silver chains on their necks to symbolize their enchantment. The transformation is believed to take place during their Samhain festival, where the gates of the other worlds open up and souls are free to pass.
I see swans as graceful and royal. When you watch two swans mating, they perform a beautiful dance of gentle embracing. In the seven swans dancing (swimming) I see the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit embracing the seeker each offering one of the gifts. It is a true offering not a nagging. The seeker is waltzed around by these gracious creatures laying the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, guidance, courage, reverence and the joyful awareness of God by his/her feet. By the 7th day we are over half way towards the end of this imaginary bridge of the 12 days. By now it is evident the the qualities that we are to collect and embrace are mostly repeated and re-encouraged.