Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Phoenix - Symbol And Myth

Just like the Unicorn, the Phoenix is a mystical and magical
creature. The Symbolism of the Phoenix can be found in the myths,
fables, legends and religions of nearly all civilizations and indigenous
cultures throughout the world. In Ancient Egypt it is called the Benu
bird; in India Garuda; in Chnia Feng Huang; and in Japan Ho-oo.
In addition, the Phoenix is also an integral, and archetypal, Symbol
used in Alchemy.

The Phoenix is a fabulous bird which enjoys an extremely long life
span. When its current life Cycle is complete, the Phoenix Sacrifices
its current self through Fire and renews itself three days later. Only
one Phoenix can exist at any given time.

Since the mythology of the Phoenix is found in so many different
cultures, scattered throughout the most remote reaches of the world,
we find ourselves asking the question: What is the hidden meaning,
and sacred Lesson, contained with this wondrous and Symbolic

To answer this question, we must delve into the esoteric Symbolism,
and not simply the fairy-tale-like "story", associated with the

In a way, the Symbolism of the Phoenix is similar to that of the
Serpent. The Serpent sheds its worn-out old skin in order for it to
renew itself with the new skin of youth in the physical realm.

However, the Phoenix is a bird. And as birds can fly and travel
through the element of Air, they have been, since ancient times,
Symbolic representations of mind and Spirit. Therefore, when the
Phoenix "gives up" its old and completed self, it does so because
it is ready to be transformed and reborn unto a much higher realm.
The Phoenix Symbolizes the ultimate Act of Creative Destruction,
Sacrifice, and rebirth within the sublime realm of mind and Spirit.

In Ancient Egypt The Phoenix was also a Symbol and Metaphor for
the setting and rising Sun. The Sun disappears beneath the Western
Horizon in a ball of flames when Its daily Journey is complete so that
it may be re-born anew in the East the following morning by way of a
new ball of Fire.

Symbolically, Fire represents light, enlightenment, and illumination.
The Fire in which the Phoenix Sacrifices and renews itself is not
the fire of physical destruction which is portrayed in paintings. It is
the Spiritual, Alchemical Fire indicative of Purification, Wisdom,
Transformation, and Rebirth; it is the "Fire which does not burn".

The three-day process of Death, Transformation, and Renewal
referred to in the legend of the Phoenix appears numerous times
in Legend, Myth, and Sacred Texts. It is an allusion to the Rite
of Initiation which an Ancient Initiate was required to submit him,
or her, self to in order to Transcend, by way of Sacred Ritual,
to the next higher plane of Instruction and Initiation.

This Initiation Ceremony was conducted during the three dark,
or silent, nights of the new moon.

Death, Transformation, and Renewal. This Lesson is constantly
emphasized within Ancient Teachings found throughout the entire
world. It is presented to us in the Lesson of Creative Destruction,
the Act of Sacrifice, and the Symbolism of the Phoenix.

It is a constant reminder that our Current Incarnation is a Path of
expansion and growth. It is also a reminder that our Journey is an
infinite Adventure in which we can Decide, at any time, that our old
self has completed its Cycle of usefulness. Once we Choose to leave
our old self behind we simply need to follow the example of the
Phoenix: immerse ourself in the Spiritual Fire of Sacrifice and
Transformation, and use the ashes of our old self to create the
new person we are Destined to Become.

(See Also: "The Unicorn")

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Disclaimer: None of my articles should be considered to be
either advice or expertise. They are simply personal opinions
and no more. Everyone is encouraged to seek competent
advice from a licensed, registered, or certified professional
should such advice or service be required.

© copyright Joseph Panek 2010
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