Phoenices

April 1, 2009 § Leave a comment



“Most beings spring from other individuals; but there is a certain kind which reproduces itself. The Assyrians call it the Phoenix. It does not live on fruit or flowers, but on frankincense and odoriferous gums.
When it has lived five hundred years, it builds itself a nest in the branches of an oak, or on the top of a palm tree. In this it collects cinnamon, and spikenard, and myrrh, and of these materials builds a pile on which it deposits itself, and dying, breathes out its last breath amidst odors.
From the body of the parent bird, a young Phoenix issues forth, destined to live as long a life as its predecessor. When this has grown up and gained sufficient strength, it lifts its nest from the tree (its own cradle and its parent’s sepulchre), and carries it to the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, and deposits it in the temple of the Sun.” — Ovid

The word Phoenix \pho(e)-nix\ is of Greek origin, and its meaning is “dark red”.

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

In the 19th century, Hans Christian Anderson wrote a story about the Phoenix. Edith Nesbit used a Phoenix in one of her children’s stories, The Phoenix and the Carpet, as does J.K. Rowling in the “Harry Potter” series.

The Phoenix symbol seems important as an emblem for nearly all civilized nations of royalty, power, superiority, and immortality. The Phoenix of China, the Phoenix of Egypt, the Phoenix of the Greeks, and the Thunder Bird of Native American Peoples.

From east to west, and north to south, many have caught a glimpse of its beauty, but few have heard its undying song. Its color is crimson (Mars) and gold (Sun) with a plume of purple (Pluto). The flames of its funeral pyre are fueled by frankincense (Love) and myrrh (Law). Eternal symbol of Physical Immortality, the Phoenix makes its nest in the top of the Tree of Life.

The Phoenix is the higher frequency symbol for Aquarius, the Bearer of the Cup containing the Waters of Life. The Phoenix of Aquarius represents the collective or planetary gaining of eternal life.

Those who have the Seal of the Phoenix upon them are its torchbearers. They have discovered their highest purpose is to attain physical immortality in this life and dedicate themselves to directing immortal energies for the evolution of a new planetary structure capable of supporting greater expressions of life.

If you are one of these beings, then visualize the Seal of the Phoenix upon your brow, or third eye, chakra.

The truth and way of life eternal is a most precious gift to share!

The bird flutters round us, swift as light, beauteous in color, charming in song. When a mother sits by her infant’s cradle, he stands on the pillow, and, with his wings, forms a glory around the infant’s head. He flies through the chamber of content, and brings sunshine into it, and the violets on the humble table smell doubly sweet. — From: The Phoenix Bird by Hans Christian Andersen (1850)

THE TRANSMISSION OF HONESTY
from The Phoenix Sutra of Ho Neaou Kun

Devotion to the fragrance of Truth guides the Butterfly
Voyager relentlessly to the Flower of Perfect Honesty.
The Dharma Queen can not count the gateways to her Garden,
For their number is greater than the stars of Heaven.
Between the thief and the king, every step is different,
Yet the Way is forever the same.

The Dharma Queen beholds the different journeys beyond
number to her Garden of Honesty – and in her contemplation
of this unique diversity, she finds her Greatest Joy!
With her laughter she shakes the Western Mountains of Light!
Yet the Way is forever the same.

The Sage Tsing Lung dwells high atop the Middle Mountain
Of Chung Shan. His duty is to feed the Celestial Carp,
which swims its Way to the source of Diamond River
upon the first day of the Dragon. This day of Renovation
occurs but once every twelve years – 156 Moons of
Fullness must wax and wane before the Heavenly Fish
returns again. During this long period of waiting,
the Sage Tsing Lung sits upon his Azure Throne in
Perfect silence, contemplating the Elixir of Life
Flaming within the Cauldron of his Heart…

Today, Tsing Lung descends from the Azure Throne to feed
the Celestial Carp. For the first time in twelve years,
Tsing Lung speaks to his friend: “How fare the Fishermen
of Diamond River since we last held converse here at
the Fountain of Beginnings?”

“Among the race of Humankind, I have met thirteen who
are seeking the Garden of Honesty,” replied the Golden
Fish. “One man may find his Way to Peach Blossom Grotto
before the waning of Jade Moon, which is nigh upon us.”
“This news shall give the Dharma Queen great happiness!”
exclaimed Tsing Lung. “Tell me of your experience
with this man.”

“As I was ascending the Cataracts of Heavenly Instruction,
I beheld a Light like unto the Morning Star shining from
the mortal Shore of Woven Karma. Curious to discern the
Intent creating this Light, I swam closer to the Mysterious
Brilliancy and arose from the River. There upon the mossy
bank, I saw a naked man sitting in deep inner meditation.
Twin streams of joyous tears cascaded down his countenance
to fall as jewels upon the earth. He appeared to sense
my close proximity, opened his eyes, and greeted me with
a radiant smile of welcome.”

“The Love of Liberty shining from your Star has drawn
me to your presence. Tell me of your Journey. From
where have you come and to where do you go?”

“Oh Celestial Carp,” the man replied, “I have journeyed
from the Land of Betrayal and Falsehood. I have left
behind those who mock my Quest – Yet still they send
their minions, who seek to chain and bind me and to
force me to slave within the Pit of Unbelief. When
these deluded ones approach too near, I turn – and
the Flaming Sword of Honesty speaks from my mouth to
cut the Ideogram of Thankfulness upon the blackness of
their souls. And many, so cut, have abandoned their
masters and now seek the Greater Way of Truth and Love.
For this Great Blessing, I shed these tears of Joy.
And now a Song of growing Peace begins to consume the
Citadels of Fear!”

“I have held fast to my Vision when those I love dearly
became Demons of Doubt. And now I seek to build a
Bridge over the Chasm of Unborn Dreams, so that the
Sons and Daughters of Faith and Trust who follow me
shall find their Way without fail into the Garden of
the Immortal Alchemist – there to rejoice, in Beauty
and Humility, forever!”

The Sage Tsing Lung is well pleased with this recounting
of the Heavenly Fish. He reaches within his Heart
and draws forth the Phoenix Cauldron of Resurrection.
“Oh Eternal Friend, swim again the Diamond River and
carry this Cauldron to the naked Fisherman building
his Bridge upon the shore of Woven Karma. Entrust him
with this Gift and tell him that the Dharma Queen
awaits his arrival within Peach Blossom Grotto.”

“And now the Prophecies begin to be fulfilled! I feel the
two Great Dragon Wheels, male and female, which encircle
this earth, begin to turn! Their Mating Dance within
the Western Mountains of Light gives birth to countless
Children of Noble Form and Everlasting Life. And the
Prophecy of the Ancestors is this: These offspring of
the Dragon Marriage shall inhabit the Pure Land of Honesty
and Trust which now grows Visible upon every continent.
Their Teaching of the Perfect Way shall banish all death
from this Creation and its Creator.
“May the Phoenix Elixir of Eternal Thankfulness strengthen
the True Manifestation of Every Will! And Now the
Immortal Ancestors leave Shambhala and begin their
journey toward the Abyss of Unborn Dreams – There, to
culminate the fulfillment of all Prophecies, and to
Greet the naked Fisherman as he carries the Phoenix
Cauldron Across his Bridge of Faith…”

Contemplating the Elixir of Life flaming within his
Heart, Tsing Lung cleans the Azure Throne in perfect
silence. And then, turning, he too begins to journey
to the Bridge of New Beginning…

The Fragrance of Truth permeates the Universe… Drawn by
this perfume, a Butterfly alights upon the Flower of
Perfect Honesty… The Dharma Queen laughs…
The Heavenly City descends! The Way is forever the same!

Thus ends the Transmission of Honesty, taken from “The Phoenix Sutra of Ho Neaou Kun”, inscribed upon the Northern Wall, within the Temple of Transmutation, Shambhala

In China the Phoenix is called Fenghuang, a sacred bird who reigns over all other birds second only to the dragon as the most respected legendary creature. (This bird may have no connection with the Phoenix associated with the western world but the recreation is similar.)

Fenghuang are mythological Chinese birds that reign over all other birds. The males are called Feng and the females Huang. In modern times, however, such a distinction of gender is often no longer made and the Feng and Huang are blurred into a single feminine entity so that the bird can be paired with the Chinese dragon, which has male connotations. The Fenghuang is also called the “August Rooster” (traditional Chinese: 鶤雞; pinyin: kūnjī) since it sometimes takes the place of the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac. In the West, it is commonly referred to as the Chinese Phoenix.

Phoenix fenghuang

Fjölsvinnsmál, forming the second part of the poem Svipdagsmál (English translation), twice mentions a tree called Mimameid (“Mimir’s Tree”) which is usually considered identical to Yggdrasil due to Mímir’s connection with the World Tree as the keeper of one of its wellsprings. According to the poem, it has mysterious roots, casts its limbs abroad over every land and is impervious to fire and iron. Its fruit when eaten by women has the power to ensure safe childbirth, and at the top of the highest bough perches a golden rooster named Víðópnir (Vidopnir).

Notes Nynke:

1. Some of the stanza’s seem corrupt, and that appears to be the case in all versions I can find …

2. Never in my life did I encounter a better description of the Nordic realms, such that the Poetic Edda can be recognized/understood by everybody for what they are: choreographies of energy in stanza’s to “spell” in/evocations during storytelling (both by rythm and symbolism used). The Poetic Edda is one of many, many such “spells” the “seidh” (knowledge-able men and women) created and used. Most “spells” apparently didn’t make it into “spell books”.

I can eeeaaaasily imagine creating such encodings for passing on that which is to be remembered down the generations, an art/craft that seems to get lost each time we learn to write.

Being able to read such spells properly does not mean one can pass it on. Learning proper use of voice and intonations and hand gestures while telling are important parts of the woven spells. Reading is not as effective as passing on (oral tradition).

I admire how the writer effectively sets context in the beginning of the page:

“When the ice of the last ice age began to melt, it revealed a barren and rugged land with flowing rivers, forests, and plains. New animal life, reindeer, hare, aurochs, wolves, bears, and foxes, migrated to the north. Those who hunted them on the tundra were able to retreat to their tribal homes in the lush valleys below. However, they could not retreat from the Frost Giants, the bitter storms that came down from the high mountains. Nor were they able to avoid the wild beasts that lurked in the forests or the strange sea monsters that wrecked their ships …”

Wow! Great, great page. Not as good as my first time learning the realms my grandmother passed on, but hey, nobody can beat her!

In Slavic folklore, the Firebird (жар-птица, Zhar-Ptitsa, literally heat bird from птица bird Old Russian жар heat) is a magical glowing bird from a faraway land, which is both a blessing and bringer of doom to its captor.

Jewish folklore believes the Phoenix was the only animal not to leave the Garden of Eden with Adam when he was banished.

Note Nynke:

3. We use symbols and metaphors to explain things. They are our best method of thinking creatively. They are much more effective means of communication than the discursive non symbolic language. The symbol and the metaphor are like the egg of the phoenix. A symbol dies when it ceases to inspire and create an emotional response from those who encounter it. But a symbol can rise up from the ashes of its so-called death and be re-born into new meaning. That is its power. Unless it explodes of course, and is followed up by a humming bird.

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