Legend Of The Phoenix

By | September 14, 2019

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Flaming Phoenix. Source: (YouTube.com)

The Phoenix is a legendary bird known for its ability to live hundreds of years before dying in a burst of flames only to be reborn from the ashes. Variations of the legend exist in folklore throughout the world and it is a common figure in popular culture today.

According to the most common myth, the Phoenix was a brightly-colored immortal bird-like creature, similar to an eagle or a peacock, that lived in Paradise. After about a thousand years, the Phoenix grew tired of immortality and desired to move on, so it left Paradise for the mortal world. However, even in the mortal world, the Phoenix could not truly die. It built a nest and waited for the sun to rise. As the son god dragged his chariot across the sky, the Phoenix sang a song so beautiful that the sun god stopped to listen. When he resumed his journey, a spark fell from the sky and ignited the nest, consuming the Phoenix. Three days later, the Phoenix was reborn from the ashes to live another thousand years.

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Great Blue Heron. Source: (YouTube.com)

The earliest version of the Phoenix legend comes from ancient Egypt. A heron bird called the Bennu was linked to the sun god Ra and thought to be the living symbol of Osiris, the god of the underworld. Bennu was also connected to the flooding of the Nile which resulted in renewed fertility of the land. These connections made Bennu a symbol of rebirth and immortality. But it was the Greek historian Herodotus that wrote of an aged bird dying in flames and its offspring emerging from the ashes. In Greek mythology, the Phoenix represented the “transmigration of the soul” which is the belief that the soul lives on after death to be reincarnated and begin life anew.