Monday, October 3, 2011

Creature of the Week - Phoenix

Credit for picture
Last week's creature was the Firebird. Today's is the Phoenix.

The Phoenix is the most well-known mythological creature of the air. It originated in Egypt where it was known as Bennu, which means "rise" or "shine". It was a long-legged gray heron with a two-feathered crest. Some hieroglyphics show Bennu wearing the headdress of Osiris, the god who dies and is reborn.
Credit for picture

In the mythology of Heliopolis (the city of the sun), Bennu was the soul of Ra, the sun god. Bennu was linked to the rising and setting of the sun, the yearly Nile floods, and the cycle of life and death and resurrection.
Credit for picture

In the Middle Ages, it was believed that only one Phoenix lived at a  time. It would live for 500 years and then build a pyre of twigs, face the sun, fan the fire by beating its wings, and is consumed by the flames. From the ashes, a new Phoenix is born.

Next week, I'll talk about the Chinese version of the Phoenix - Feng Huang.


Joanna said...

Loved the pictures, had no idea of the heron connection!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Wow! I learned lots more about the Phoenix than from the Harry Potter books. Can't wait to learn about the Chinese version.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I didn't know about the heron connection either!

julie fedderson said...

I love the story of the phoenix! Looking forward to the next post.

Talli Roland said...

Ah yes, the phoenix. I like this one!

katsrus said...

Very interesting. I never knew any of that.
Sue B