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always been a subject of interest and excitement for human beings. One of the
most important characteristics of mythology are the colorful and interesting
characters that are thrown towards the readers. Of course, most of the
characters are exaggerated, but then, we have no proof that such characters did
not exist or did not have the virtues and characterizations that are said to be
theirs. The phoenix bird is one such mythical creature that has garnered the
interest of generations of humans.
vision, always seeing things beyond our lifetime, that is the Phoenix. The
Phoenix is a mythical bird of tranquility and peace. It never dies; it always
flies, staying well ahead, always looking.
Many cultures have this Phoenix
although in different forms and appearances. The Egyptians called theirs Bennu.
The remains of a huge heron dated over 5,000 years ago were found in the Persian
Gulf. Perhaps they saw this bird on occasion and the rarity of it led them to
believe it was Bennu.
The Bennu was
there at creation of the Nile and represents the god of time, hours, day, night,
weeks, and years. It was considered the soul of the sun god, controlling the
rising and setting of the sun. It was also believed that it resurrected life and
Phoenix was more colorful than Bennu, and as big as an Eagle. It was said that
every morning it would sing. The sun god Apollo would always stop just to listen
to its beautiful melody.
Phoenix lived at a time. Life span could be from 500 to 5000 years, maybe
longer. When death approached the Phoenix built a nest of spices and branches
then setting it on fire. And with it the Phoenix. Three days later the Phoenix
arises from the ashes. A rebirth , new life, the Rise of the Phoenix.
Phoenix takes the ashes of the old placing them into an egg of myrrh and places
them on the alter of the sun god. So how does the Phoenix survive? It kills
nothing, it crushes nothing, so what does it eat? The dew from the round gives
substance to the Phoenix.
Feng Huang is
the Chinese equivalent. To them it symbolizes virtue, grace, power and
prosperity. To decorate a house with the symbol of a Phoenix meant the owners
were honest people.
It was often
shown with its wins spread capturing snakes with its talons.
It was said to
carry two scrolls in its bill, and emblems of the Phoenix decorate houses,
tombs, and even jewelry.
Ho-Oo is the
Japanese Phoenix. Legend has it that it only appears in peaceful and prosperous
times, or at the birth of a virtuous ruler. Ho represents the male bird and Oo
is the female. This Phoenix represents, sun, justice, fidelity, and
think that the germ of the legend came from the Orient and was adopted by the
sun-worshipping priests of Heliopolis as an allegory of the sun's daily setting
and rebirth. Like all great myths, it stirs deep chords in man. In Christian art the
resurrected phoenix became a popular symbol of Christ risen from the grave.
Strangely, its name may come from a misunderstanding by Herodotus, the Greek
historian of the 5th century BC. In his account of the bird he may have
mistakenly given it the name "phoenix" because of the palm tree (Greek: phoinix)
on which it was customarily pictured sitting in those days. In their attempts to
identify the gorgeously plumed phoenix of Egyptian myth with a real bird,
scientists tended to discount New Guinea's birds of paradise otherwise likely
candidates because of the island's great distance from Egypt.
however, Australian zoologists discovered that New Guinea tribes had exported
bird of paradise plumed skins for centuries and that among those visiting the
island, as long ago as 1000 BC, had been traders from Phoenicia in the Middle
East. Another significant discovery was that the tribes people used to preserve
the skins for export by sealing them in myrrh, molding them into an egg shape,
and wrapping this in burned banana skins — a procedure that tallies almost
exactly with the mythical bird's reputed treatment of its destroyed nest.
Perhaps most significant of all is the fact that the brilliantly colored males
of Count Raggi's bird of paradise are adorned with cascades of scarlet feathers
that, during their courtship dance, they repeatedly raise aloft, while quivering
intensely — a spectacle reminiscent of the phoenix dancing in its burning nest.
On reaching the Middle East, descriptions of this spectacle, combined with the
egg-like parcels of skins, may well have been sufficient to inspire the myth of
In all these
cultures the Phoenix have several things in common. Sun, virtue, honesty, and
its gentleness. The only difference is its appearance.
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