In Norse mythology, two swans that drink from the sacred Well of Urd in the realm of Asgard, home of the gods. The water of this well is so pure and holy that all things that touch it turn white, including this original pair of swans and all others descended from them.
Elegant, beautiful and revered in the mythology of many cultures, the Mute Swan has been used throughout history as a symbol of (white) purity. Often a protected species, the bird has appeared on flags, currency, tapestries and in countless tales. However, it is a confused symbol for sure – one that, to me, seems a more accurate symbol of white colonization and warfare. For in reality, the Mute Swan is an aggressively territorial bird that threatens native species, tramples the nests of competitors for food, and reproduces at incredible rates when introduced to a new area (often by humans who simply thought of the birds as ornaments for their private gardens, without realizing the consequences.) Once introduced to an area, they are incredibly difficult to remove.