The mythological bird of fire is familiar to most of us, but perhaps not so well-known is in it’s original meaning — ‘phoenix’ in Greek means ‘palm tree’.
The phoenixÂ is said to live for 500 years. When it grows tired, it builds a nest of aromatic twigs, and then sets fire to itself to be consumed inÂ the funeralÂ pyre of its own making. After three days,Â the phoenixwould arise from the ashes, reborn. According to Egyptian legend, it carries the embalmed ashes of its previous incarnation to Heliopolis, the city of the sun. The EgyptianÂ phoenixwas said to sing sweetly, and to dazzle with its plumage of gold and scarlet and purple.
Tales ofÂ the phoenixÂ appear in ancient Arabian, Greek, Roman, and Far Eastern mythology. In both Greek and Egyptian tales,Â the phoenixÂ represented the sun, dying in flames at the end of the day and rising each morning. Early Christians came to view the flight ofÂ the phoenixÂ as a symbol of rebirth and the resurrection, leaving the old world for the new world of the spirit, dying and rising again, reborn. It symbolized the victory of life over death, immortality, and Christ’s resurrection. Jewish legend describesÂ the phoenixÂ as the one creature that did not leave paradise with Adam, and that its legendaryÂ longevityÂ is due to abstaining from the forbidden fruit that tempted the ‘first man’. On Roman coins,Â the phoenixÂ represented an undyingÂ empire.
According to Chinese mythology,Â the phoenixÂ is the symbol of grace and virtue and is second only in importance to the Dragon. It represents the union of yin and yang, and was a gentle creature associated with the Empress, who alone could wear its symbol. The feathers of the ChineseÂ phoenixwere black, white, red, green and yellow – the five primary colours. In Japan,Â the phoenixÂ is found carved into sword hilts, and the image of the bird seen as embroidery on kimonos. Along with the sun,Â the phoenixÂ is one of the emblems of the JapaneseÂ Empire. InÂ Japanese tattooingÂ the phoenixÂ is often twinned with the the dragon, symbolizing yin and yang, the harmonious combining of the best of the feminine and masculine virtues. U.S. Army gets a a custom freehand tribal phoenix tattoo design, done in morbid tattoo parlor in cash and carry mall Makati Manila, Philippines.