June 23, 2008


The Phoenix symbolizes rebirth, especially of the sun, and has variants in European, Central American, Egyptian and Asian cultures.

A phoenix is a mythical bird with a tail of beautiful gold and red plumage. At the end of its life-cycle the phoenix builds itself a nest of cinnamon twigs that it then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix arises. The new phoenix is destined to live, usually, as long as the old one. In some stories, the new phoenix embalms the ashes of the old phoenix in an egg made of myrrh and deposits it in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis (sun city in Greek). The bird was also said to regenerate when hurt or wounded by a foe, thus being almost immortal and invincible — a symbol of fire and divinity. source:wikipedia.org

The Chinese phoenix was seen as one of the embodiments of Yin and Yang together. The Chinese name for it, “fenghuang” is sometimes understood as an amalgam of a male and a female bird: the “feng” and the “huang.” Together with the dragon, the phoenix can also be seen as a symbol of marital harmony and happiness, the perfect union of Yin and Yang. Along with four other mythical beings, its appearance was seen as an indication of peace and prosperity under wise rulers. Confucius was said to lament the decay in his times, when he bemoaned the fact that the phoenix was seen no more.

The phoenix of Greek legend seems to share different origins from the Chinese phoenix, but they do share certain attributes in common. Both were often connected with fire and the south. Only one Greek phoenix lived at any point in time. Although it lived forever, it had to renew itself from time to time by plunging into a nest of flame and emerging rejuvenated. The Chinese phoenix was also thought of as a solitary bird. With their dual nature, one phoenix never appeared with another.

The phoenix was seen as the chief of birds, perfect in its beauty and song. Its voice controlled the five tones, and its feathers displayed the five colors. In the sword form, the phoenix is mentioned in four postures: Phoenix Lifts its Head, Phoenix Open its Right Wing, Phoenix Open its Left Wing, and Phoenix Opens Both Wings.

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