Another symbol of the sun and rebirth, the Benu bird is the Egyptian version of the Phoenix. As the ancient Egyptians observed it taking flight into the sky, they thought of the rising sun.
Being the root of the Phoenix myth, it was linked to Heliopolis, where a cult is thought to have existed there in its honor, and where it was most likely worshiped as the soul of Ra.
The Phoenix myth is quite meaningful and applies any kind of transformation that comes from pain. It certainly has helped me through tough times, thinking of myself as a phoenix rising out of my own ashes.
Basically, the Phoenix bird lived up to 1000 years. Once it's time was up, it builds itself a funeral pyre made of branches and dry twigs, and then ignites into flames until it burns to ashes. Out of these ashes, a new Phoenix rises to live out another 1000 years.
In a sense, it's a cyclic evolution, where the same being dies and is reborn anew - more beautiful and powerful than its former self.
Sometimes, it really is only through hardship that we can grow and flourish. How significant is this myth?!
The actual bird that the ancient Egyptians were symbolizing was a heron, flamingo or stork. From there the myth started, and then subsequently kept changing with each new culture adding to the myth and changing the type of bird.
The Greeks came after the Egyptians and attached the title of "Phoenix" to the myth; from then on it has been known as that.
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