© 2012 Bruce Johnson – Reprinted with permission from Shining Lotus Metaphysical Bookstore Newsletter October 2012
by Bruce Johnson
The Greek philosopher Herodotus describes the spectacular Phoenix or Firebird, in his historical writings. The body of the Phoenix was said to be covered in fiery purple feathers, with a tail of alternating red and blue feathers. The light colored head had a characteristic and distinctive tuft of feathers on the back. The Phoenix lived for 1000 years, died on its nest of incense and flames, and then was reborn from its own ashes.The Firebird represented to the ancients- immortality, initiation into the mysteries of death and rebirth, spiritual transmutation, and cycles of time. The Firebird was sacred to the sun, and the symbol of the deathless soul. The Phoenix as the celestial ruler of all birds lived in the heavens, and was the highest expression of the astrological sign Scorpio. The Phoenix was a universal symbol of the periodic cycles of creation and destruction in nature. Like the Dragon, the Phoenix is one of the four sacred creatures of the Chinese. It was the bird of resurrection into eternity to Osiris and the Egyptians, and a companion of Quetzalcoatl, the Mayan Sun God. The symbolism of the Phoenix is identical to the winged Singh of the Hindus, and the fabulous Simorgh of the Zoroastrian sun worshipers.
Initiates of ancient mystery schools were called Phoenixes in that like the Firebird, they had been reborn after three days. Jesus, as a mystery school initiate, taught and demonstrated this truth voicing that” Unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The meaning of the Phoenix as a symbol of alchemical transmutation was well known to the Rosicrucian’s and Masons of Europe and the early United States. The bird on the first Great Seal of the United States in 1782 was a Phoenix before it was later replaced with an eagle, despite the objections of Benjamin Franklin and other founders.
The Theosophical Glossary by H. P.Blavatsky is a great book for defining esoteric terms.
Bruce Johnson has over 30 years of study in the fields of Ancient Wisdom and occultism. He has taught classes on a wide range of topics, from Atlantis to mediums to Zoroaster. He is also a spiritualist minister, with a background in spiritual astrology. He lives in Colorado with his wife and their cat.