On to another Monstrous Monday. Perhaps this one is largely because I actually mentioned a phoenix in my previous post but why not? Welcome to a short discussion about everyone’s favorite firebird! And even if they’re not your favorite, they’re still amazing in their own right. If you’ve seen the Harry Potter movies, you’ll be at least slightly familiar with this one as Fawkes was a phoenix, albeit smaller than I’m accustomed to seeing.
Considering my first introduction to the phoenix was from Final Fantasy 7, my mental image had something vastly different in mind. haha
*Image pulled from: Final Fantasy Wiki Fandom
Not that this is a bad thing. From a variety of stories and sources, I’ve heard about them coming in all different sizes with a variety of abilities to boot. The one that I have written has the ability to transform into a human form. In her natural form, she’s about the size of what one might consider a traditional dragon. Bringing fire as hot as the sun, she can raze the earth to dust if she so desires. On the other hand, she has the ability to heal all but death by way of her tears and feathers. And I’m still pondering on the death part (thanks Final Fantasy). In that game – and a few others, they have phoenix downs (i.e. referring to the down feathers of a bird) that are able to revive fallen characters. Not entirely surprising since phoenixes themselves are said to be immortal, dying only to be reborn from the ashes of their cindered body.
But let’s take a slightly closer look at them beyond my general knowledge of such creatures. Ironically, after doing a quick Google search for basic information, it would seem that there is a lot of potentially conflicting info about them. haha
Wikipedia says they’re from Greek mythology.
Britannica sources them from Egypt and Classical antiquity.
And the Mythus Fandom says they’re from Arabia or India.
Even more ironically, Wiki and Mythus used the same phoenix picture. haha
If you want a personal deep dive to learn more about the phoenix, I might point you in the direction of mythology.net as they have a pretty good write up of an origin story and connections to other myths and such.
That being said, there are some highlights I can mention about them in general here:
- They are said to have a lifespan of around 500 years or somewhere between 500 and 1500 but not over.
- At the end of their life, they make a nest of special materials and practice self-immolation so that they can rise from the ashes again.
- Their appearance varies depending on who you ask, ranging from the burning fiery orange and yellows that we saw in the FF picture to the more ruddy and reddish colors of Fawkes in the HP series and even to a Phoenician purple where one source claims that it must be so because of the name. Phoenician purple is also known as Tyrian purple which is a lovely shade if I do say so myself.
- They are symbols of death and rebirth, creation and destruction, the sun, and fire.
- In most stories, they’re said to be the size of a large eagle, though in games especially, they are depicted as much larger.
- Originally, it is said that there is only one phoenix in existence at a time. In newer stories and tales, some liberties have been taken with this number.
- Phoenixes are typically seen as either female or asexual, though since they are generally seen as laying eggs, the female tag is more likely to apply. Also, I found a neat blurb from China Daily referring to male and female phoenixes:
“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.”
That’s actually weirdly fitting as in the short story I wrote and will be continuing at some point in the future, my phoenix character is female and she is paired with a dragon. haha Go figure!
Okay! So I’ll go ahead and leave it at that for now but hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two about the phoenix. If you want to know more, feel free to crawl through any of the links in this post. And if you’ve any questions you’d care to ask, drop a line in the comments below! Otherwise, thank you for stopping by and have a great day!
PS – my earworm for writing this is still the same as last time… the Haven soundtrack. haha