The phoenix is a well-known symbol for rebirth, renewal, and resurrection and is often depicted as a long-lived bird that experiences a cycle of fiery end and birth from the ashes. Traditionally, only one is allowed to exist at a time.
In Egypt, the Bennu was the sacred bird of Heliopolis and was associated with the sun or as the soul of the sun god, Ra. His cry marked the beginning of time at the world’s creation. Also, the manifestation of Osiris, the god of transition, resurrection, and regeneration, Bennu appears with the atef crown.
In Greece, the red-gold phoenix (or phoinix) emitted rays of pure sunlight, lived for five hundred years, and feasted upon Arabian balsam and frankincense. Upon its death, a new and fully-grown phoenix emerged, having been encased in a myrrh egg of the parent.
The phoenix has reign over all other birds in China and is a symbol of feminine grace, the sun, and the south. Sighting a phoenix indicates a wise leader has ascended and begun a new era. As the representation of Chinese virtues, such as goodness, duty, propriety, kindness, and reliability, they believed that this mystical bird was sent to assist mankind’s development.
Because of the connections with death and revival, Christianity adopted it as an early symbol and analogy for Christ’s death and resurrection three days later. The phoenix was often used on early Christian tombstones.
As a spiritual totem, the phoenix is the keeper of the fire of all creation. Ultimately, they are symbols of strength and renewal and regarded as the representation of the seasons, coherence, longevity, imagination, and protection.
Typically, the phoenix is seen as the coming together of two, one male and female, or as the yin and yang and signifies the inherent need for balance in the world. The female phoenix totem—or the yin—denotes an energy characterized as passive, psychic, deep-thinking, the moon, darkness, and winter. The male phoenix totem—or the yang—deals with assertion, bold action, warmth, light, and summer. Because of this connection, a pair of phoenixes was often given as a wedding gift.
Presently, the phoenix embodies a renewal of energy to keep us fighting the good fight as we all struggle with tough times and negativity, as Aderyn does in my story, “The Mark of the Phoenix,” where he fights to do good and keep people safe after being sentenced to die.
The phoenix reminds us that we can endure.
Want to know more?
Check out my guest post on Transmundane’s blog, “The Cycle of the Phoenix.”
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