My Swan Story: I Harm None

Recently I had the honor of working with one of my teachers, Julia Ingles of Sacred Familiar, in a Swan Blessing Ceremony.  The ceremony is to awaken and heal the ancestral folklore of the witch, healer, herbalist and wise women, opening a clear pathway for your personal gifts of your lineage. Women’s medicine has been demonized and suppressed for centuries. Many women have felt the need to keep their gifts hidden, blocked or shut down out of fear and shame. Through your own story of remembering and connecting to your Grandmothers you can step into your gifts.

Here is my Swan Story….

Black Swan

The Black Swan, 1792, Port Jackson Painter

I HARM NONE – Jillian Cook

As I cross through the portal of the waterfall, I am transported to a vision of a young girl playing in the dirt. She has no concern about getting dirty as she is fascinated by the soil and roots.  Her mother is just a short distance away hanging laundry to dry and smiles watching her daughter, knowing she is truly a child of the earth.  She smiles because she knows there is so much more wonder yet for her to discover.

As the girl grows older, her Mother begins to teach her about the trees, plants and flowers growing on the land that holds them, their names, their medicine and how they grow.  The girl loves spending time with her Mother this way and has a deep hunger for these teachings.  She sees the love and joy in which her Mother shares this wisdom with her but she also notices something else. There is concern in her Mother’s eyes, a sense of fear and worry.  The girl can’t help but notice, although it also makes her afraid to ask her Mother the question, “Why is there fear and concern?”

Sometimes the girl would wander into the forest to spend time with the trees, plants and flowers.  She would find a wise elder tree and lean back to sit and observe. This is where she loved to spend time alone, where she felt she could just be herself.  She also loved watching the animals of the forest, the rabbits, birds, squirrels and deer.  One day as she sat quietly, she noticed a skunk had come upon her. The skunk was so close she could reach out and touch it but she held very still.  She felt herself silently communicating with the little skunk by sending love and calmness.  As the skunk looked directly at her, she knew it understood her message and she meant the skunk no harm.  From this experience she continued sharing love and care to animals.

She took the teachings of her Mother and shared them with the people of the village.  She loved helping them and teaching them about things that brought so much joy to her life.  She told them about her experiences with the animals and how she could communicate with them. How she was able to allow them safety around her and honored them for all the gifts they offer.  She loved her work and she was proud to talk about it and give others wisdom and knowledge to care for themselves and the plants and animals of the land.

She began to notice that when she ventured into the village she would see people look at her and begin to whisper, sometimes laughing.  Even those that came to her to learn and get help, now barely acknowledged her or pretended not to see her.  This was hurtful and she realized this was why her Mother had the look of concern in her eyes as she taught her this work.  She knew others would not be accepting or consider her strange.  She began to feel shame about her work and slowly offered it to others less and less. Finally, she needed to find work in a kitchen to support herself. The work in the kitchen didn’t bring her the joy she once felt about her work but she didn’t go back to it, she accepted that this was her life now.

Years and years went by until finally the girl was near 70 years old. She often thought about the work she missed so much and decided that she would go back to it now that she was older. She started sharing her wisdom again and going back into the forest to spend time with the animals. Immediately she felt her heart open and she was happy, truly happy again.

Again, the people of the village started avoiding her and only came to her in secret. One day while she was in town, the town’s doctor, a man that was held in high regard approached her.  Loudly and publicly, he started blaming her for hurting people with her work. Telling her she needed to stop immediately.  She felt humiliated and confused.  She didn’t know of anyone hurt by her work but that fear crept into her thoughts. More than anything, she didn’t want to harm anyone, so this fear had power over her.

She decided then that she would stop, this time for good. She went to her cabinet where she kept her medicines and herbs. She took one final look, closed the door of the cabinet and locked it. She held the key and her hands and cried. She let it go.

Now I sit in a pool of water, surrounded by my Grandmothers. They tell me today is a different time and place. It is safe to do this work. I am a woman of integrity and I’ve held unto this vow for a very long time but it’s time to let it go. I can be proud of this work.









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