For the third series of mythological creatures, we’ll be tackling on phoenix. Phoenix is being referred to as a mythical bird from Greek and Roman legends, tales and stories. In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird cyclically regenerated or reborn.
Phoenix is a mythical creature that is associated with the Sun as it obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. According to some of its sources, this mythical bird dies in a show of flames and combustion, although there are also sources claiming that this legendary bird dies and simply decomposes before being born again.
There are some texts which states that the phoenix could live over 1,400 years before its rebirth.
Phoenix symbolizes a renewal in general , as well as the sun, time , the Empire, metempsychosis, consecration and resurrection. In Biblical context, phoenix symbolizes life in heavenly Paradise, Christ, Mary, virginity, the exceptional man and certain aspects of Christian life.
Source: Phoenix (mythology) ; Retrieved September 6, 2017; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_(mythology)
According to Feng Shui Master Lam Kam Chuen, a phoenix is a mythical bird that never dies and flies far ahead to the front, always scanning the landscape and distant space. This mythical bird represents our capacity for vision, for collecting sensory information about our environment and the events unfolding within it. This phoenix, with its great beauty, creates intense excitement and deathless inspiration.
There are different types of Phoenix: the Ancient Phoenix of Egypt (Benu, Bennu), Classical Arabian Phoenix, Chinese Phoenix (Feng Huang) and Japanese Phoenix (Hou-Ou/Ho-Oo).
Ancient Phoenix of Egypt (Benu, Bennu)
These mythical creatures were linked by the ancient Egyptians with the longings for immortality and these are so strong in their civilization and from there, its symbolism spread around the Mediterranean world of late antiquity.
The Bennu bird (ancient phoenix of Egypt) was usually depicted as a heron. Their remains were founded in the Persian Gulf area 5,000 years ago by archaeologists. The Bennu bird has two long feathers on the crest of its head and was often crowned with the Atef crown of Osiris or with the disk of the sun.
This Bennu is the sacred bird of the Heliopolis. This bird probably derives from the word “weben” , meaning “rise” or “shine”. This bird was associated with the sun and represented the ba or soul of the sun god, Re. In the Late Period, the hieroglyph of this bird was used to represent the diety directly. The Bennu bird symbolizes the rising and setting sun and is also the lord of the royal jubilee.
Classical Arabian Phoenix
This is perhaps the most well known and fabulous mythical bird. The Arabian Phoenix was said to be as large as the eagle, with its brilliant scarlet and gold plumage and a melodious cry. The Arabian Phoenix would appear at dawn every morning to sing a song while making its home near a cool well. Its song is so enchanting that even the great sun god Apollo would stop to listen.
As the end of its life approaches, the phoenix would build a pyre nest of aromatic branches and spices such as myrrh, sets it on fire and is consumed in flames. After three days the birth—or as some would say, the rebirth – this mythical bird arises from the ashes. According to some sources, the phoenix was said to arise from the midst of the flames.
Chinese Phoenix (Feng Huang)
In Chinese mythology, the phoenix is said to be a symbol of high virtue and grace and of power and prosperity. It also represents the union of yin and yang. The Chinese phoenix was thought of as a gentle creature as it alights so gently that it crushes nothing and eats only dewdrops.
This Chinese Phoenix also represents the Empress usually in a pairing with the Dragon (representing the Emperor) and only the Empress could wear the phoenix symbol as it represents the power sent from the heavens to the Empress.
When a phoenix is used to decorate a house, it is said to symbolize the loyalty and honesty present in the people residing there. Jewelry with the phoenix design depicts a person of high moral values and so it could only be worn by people of great importance.
Japanese Phoenix (Hou-Ou/Ho-Oo)
In Japanese culture or myth, the Ho represents the male phoenix whereas the Oo represents the female phoenix. It is introduced to Japan in the Asuka period (mid 6th to mid 7th century AD). The Hou-Ou is said to greatly resemble the Chinese Phoenix or Feng Huang in looks.
This Ho-Oo is often depicted as nesting in a paulownia tree and thought to only appear at the birth of a virtuous ruler and to mark a new era by descending from the heavens to do good deeds for people only to return to its celestial abode to await a new era. In other traditions, this phoenix appears only in peaceful and prosperous trees times , which are rare.
This also has been adopted as a symbol of the royal family, particularly the empress and it represents the sun , justice, fidelity and obedience.
Source: “Phoenix Rising: Mythical Creature, Phoenix Bird Mythology, Myth Beast” ; Retrieved September 6, 2017; https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-illustration-chinese-phoenix-illustration-traditional-vector-illustration-letters-image77835684