Friday, September 4, 2009
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This gorgeous photo comes from the Flickrstream of Kurt Elster and is licensed under Creative Commons.
Depending on who you ask the phoenix is of ancient Phoenician or Egyptian origin only later being appropriated by the Greeks. According to lore the phoenix can be multi-colored and live for about 500-1000 years. When the phoenix reaches the end of its life cycle it builds a nest out of myrrh twigs and then burns up. The ashes, of course, are from what the newborn phoenix emerges. For this reason the phoenix has long been identified with eternal life, resurrection and the purifying characteristics of fire.
The myrrh is also significant as the sap, or resin of the myrrh tree, was used in embalming and burned as incense during funerals as well as other sacred rites of pagan as well as Judeo-Christian religions. Myrrh was so highly prized in the ancient world that is was often worth more than its weight in gold.