My major maternal clan, the Cumming’s motto is Courage. Sometimes courage is a very hard thing. Sometimes it’s nothing more than putting one foot in front of the other and not going backwards. I have a totem because of something that made me very afraid as a child, the swan.
I got bitten badly when my dad took me to feed swans at Forest Lawn when I was really little. I remember how painful it was and standing there dripping blood while Dad tried to wrap a hanky on my finger. All the while telling me it was my fault for not keeping my hand flat. I just remember the worst thing about it wasn’t the pain or the fact that a bird that was bigger than me had hurt me, no it was because something that looked so beautiful had hurt me.
Since that day anytime I’m supposed to face as a fear, they have shown up as symbols or icons and sometimes as the real thing. The morning Laura created us Druids in the Sepulveda Wildlife Sanctuary I went to Lake Balboa across the street on the way home. Usually it’s full of geese and in winter white pelicans but that day when I was all by myself there was a swan and 2 cygnets. At the time we didn’t know Laura had multiple myeloma or that Mary had ALS and I wondered why they had shown up because seeing them right after a major ritual can’t be a coincidence. Those two women have showed me immense bravery in facing their illnesses and in the way they chose to die.
When Laura’s stuff was divided and given out to her priestesses on top of the box was a stuffed swan and it sits now in our living room in a chair with BunniHoTep and her sister goddess BunniDite.
Before I go to bed every night I check in with them and lately I just ask that all will be well, whatever well may be. I want the courage to face whatever this is even if it’s nothing but I’m feeling a small and a lot like Piglet who was my brother’s totem.