The Phoenix is the quintessential magical bird. There can only ever be one phoenix alive at any one time: he lives an amazingly long life, then burns himself on a pyre, and a new phoenix rises from the ashes. No wonder this myth also appealed to Christian scholars, who saw the phoenix as a symbol for the resurrection of Christ.
The word is Greek, and the bird has been described by numerous learned writers throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Herodot, Lucan, Pliny the Elder, Pope Clement I, Lactantius, Ovid, and Isidore of Seville are some of them. The origins of the myth, however, may go back to ancient Egypt: the bird is related to the cult of the sun, and a phoenix like bird called been was worshipped in Heliopolis.
These days, the image of the phoenix remains popular: it was interesting to me how many tattoo designs and other body art I found. A symbol of new beginnings, of adversity overcome, and of reinventing oneself, perhaps: I’m thinking of getting a phoenix tattoo myself, one day, when I will have earned it.
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