The Lion and the Phoenix are linked together by the Ancient and Holly
glyph known as the tree of life. in the center of the Tree we find the
sphere of Tifareth or the Sun sphere . this sphere (along with key 19)
represents symbolically those aspects of being that we call the Sun ; it
is that which is the giver of life to the personality; it is the image
making power of consciousness; it is that which is called Beauty; that
which is called Christ Consciousness, and that which is called the Redeemer,
the Savior. to the Witches mind it is the sacrificed king, who gives of
his own life to insure the fertility of the land and its peoples.
The Phoenix is seen as the highest expression of the sign Scorpio, scorpio being a water sign, the flames associated with the Phoenix would seem at first glance to be a bit of a contradiction . In truth this seemingly conflicting symbolism indicates the blending of opposites and the equilibrium which results.
Among the ideas suggested by the Phoenix are: re-birth, transformation, death, transcendence, the intentional letting go of one form to allow another to take shape, hope, purity, marriage, faith, constancy, summer, eternity, immortality, and light. It is an image of the cosmic fire some believe the world began and will end in. The Taoists called it the "cinnabar bird." Romans placed the phoenix on coins and medals as an emblem of their desire for the Roman Empire to last forever.
The Lion is Leo a fire sign the Eagle is scorpio a water sign. the fire is that of consciousness. the water is symbolic of subcousciousness. the Phoenix is the blending of consciousness with sub consciousness, the two principals united are no longer bond to the earthly plain. together they soar to the heavens
The legend of the Phoenix can be found throughout Ancient literature.
A mythical creature revered by the Chinese, Greek and Egyptian cultures,
not to mention other various European and Middle Eastern people.
The phoenix, in its most developed and most accepted form is a bird roughly the size of an eagle with brilliantly colored plumage that varies with origin. Its coloring is either purple with a collar of gold or a mixture of red, gold and blue. The phoenix is the sole one of its kind and lives in Arabia. At the end of an epoch, as it feels death drawing near, it builds a funeral pyre of sweet spices. Sitting upon its pyre it sings the sweetest five note song we can imagine. The rays of sun ignite the pyre and the bird is reduced to ashes. From the ashes crawls a worm, which matures into an adult phoenix. Its first task is to gather the ashes of its parent from which it emerged and buries its parent in a temple in Heliopolis (the City of the Sun) to return to Arabia.
The first known story of the phoenix is from ancient Greek literature,
in Herodotus' account of Egypt ( c. 430 BC). It was a red-gold bird the
size of an eagle who returned every 500 years to bury its parent, whose
ashes were embalmed in a ball of sweet-smelling myrrh.
This Egyptian origin comes from mythological texts, most notably the Book of the Dead. In this book, the bennu bird appears and has many of the same characteristics of the phoenix. The bennu, the prototype of the individual soul, arises from the Isle of Fire and flies to Heliopolis to announce the new epoch. Because the sun had also been envisioned as a bird who flew daily from east to west, the bennu became identified with the rising sun.
The Egyptian bennu looks more like a heron with gold, red, pink and
blue coloring. A flight of birds accompany the bennu and phoenix to Heliopolis
for the burial of its parent. According to the Egyptians, the bennu comes
every 1461 days, the equivalent of four solar years, including leap day.
The Chinese phoenix is called feng-hwang. The feng is the male bird and the hwang, the female. A bird version of yin and yang if you will. The Chinese phoenix is known for its song and company of a crowd of birds. It is a messenger from the heavens and is a good omen to see. Of the four spiritual creatures of China: the tortoise, the unicorn, the dragon and the feng-hwang, the phoenix is the most exalted
He knows his time is out! and doth provide
New principles of life; herbs he brings dried
From the hot hills, and with rich spices frames
A Pile shall burn, and Hatch him with his flames.
On this the weakling sits; salutes the Sun
With pleasant noise, and prays and begs for some
Of his own fire, that quickly may restore
The youth and vigor, which he had before.
Whom soon as Phoebus * spies, stopping his rays
He makes a stand, and thus allays his pains......
He shakes his locks, and from his golden head,
Shoots on bright beam, which smites with vital fire
The willing bird; to burn is his desire.
That he may live again; he's proud in death,
And goes in haste to gain a better breath.
The spice heap fired with celestial rays
Doth burn the aged Phoenix, when straight stays
The Chariot of the amazed Moon; the pole
Resists the wheeling, swift Orbs, and the whole
Fabric of Nature at a stand remains.
Till the old bird anew, young begins again.
How much of the phoenix myth is real and how much is exactly that, myth?
So far, the only observable similarity that may be a basis for the myth
is the act of birds (most notably rooks) "anting" themselves. In anting,
the bird performs a series of almost ritual movements that often involve
glowing cinders or flaming twigs, which gives us the impression that the
bird is using smoke to rid its feathers of ants. This is not the case though
and there is no known explanation for this odd behavior. Notably, this
behaviour has not been noted in any bird resembling the mythical phoenix:
eagle, heron and falcon.
The tale of the phoenix emerged from myth, to spiritual/religious explanation to doctrine as a symbol of the Resurrection, the idea most commonly connected with the phoenix. The phoenix is found in literature, most often in poetry to celebrate those departed.
Man, Myth & Magic 15:2033-2036
I am the Bennu, the soul of Ra,
"The Book of Doors:
|In Jewish legend, the phoenix's name is
According to tradition, after Eve ate the forbidden fruit,
she became jealous of the immortality and purity
of the other creatures in the garden.
Eventually, she persuaded all the animals
except the phoenix to share in her fallen state
by eating from the forbidden tree.
God rewarded the phoenix by setting him up in a walled city
In any case, the Angel of Death may never touch him.
| As king of beasts, the lion represents the highest form
of development in the kingdoms of nature below the level of man. He is
the ruling principle of the animal nature. He is also the alchemical Symbol
of one of the most important principles in the-Great Work. That work is
the transmutation of the gross forms of natural humanity into the Stone
of the Wise, perfected man.
In alchemical books we read of the Green Lion, the Red Lion and the Old Lion. The Green Lion is the animal nature before it has been ripened and purified. The Red Lion is the animal nature brought under control of the higher aspects of man's spiritual being.
The Old Lion represents a special state of consciousness which becomes manifest after the work of purification has changed the Green Lion into the Red Lion. In the state of consciousness which the Old Lion symbolizes, one senses directly the eternal, radiant, mental energy which, because it was, or existed, before anything else had been brought into manifestation, is, in time relations, older than anything else.
Among the ideas suggested by the word lion are: rulership (since the lion is the king of beasts), courage, bravery, valor (symbolized also by the color red), tenacity, resolve, fortitude, decision, will. We say that a person having these qualities has "backbone," and this links up with the lion as a symbol for the sign Leo, said by astrology to govern the back and spine.
The Egyptians worshipped lion-gods which is evidence of the importance
this beast held in Egyptian life. The Egyptians believed that the world
was created at a time when the Sun rose in Leo near the star Denebola.
The Sumerians also saw this group of stars as a lion. The form of the Lion was probably passed along to the Babylonians, Greeks, Roman and others.
Hercules' first labor was to kill the Nemean lion, a fierce beast who descended to Earth from the Moon in the form of a meteor and ravaged the countryside of Corinth. The lion had hide so tough that neither spear nor arrow nor any other weapon could pierce it. So well known was the beast that Hercules had no trouble finding its lair, a cave with two entrances. As Hercules approached, the lion showed itself and Hercules sped an arrow toward its heart. The arrow merely bounced off and fell to the ground. Hercules now knew that arrows or spears were useless against the beast. He then sealed off one of the entrances to the cave and pursued the lion inside through the other entrance. So great was his strength that Hercules seized the lion and strangled it to death by ramming his fist down its throat. He then flung it over his shoulder and returned to show King Eurystheus that he had fulfilled his first labor. The cowardly king was terrified at the sight of the beast and fled. Hercules then skinned the lion and used its tough hide as a protective shield.
So angry was Hera at Hercules' success that she raised the soul of the lion high into the sky, where today he can be seen as the constellation Leo, the Lion.
The Persians knew Leo as Ser, to the Turk, Artan, to the Syrians, Aryo, to the Jews, Arye, and to the Babylonians, Aru, all meaning "Lion."
The Sphinx is a monster which appears in both Greek and Egyptian mythology. Sphinxes have the body of a lion and the head of a human. The Greek Sphinx also has wings, which the Egyptian does not have. In Greek mythology, the Sphinx poses a riddle to all who seek to pass a rock near Thebe and strangles all people who cannot solve it. Oedipus accepts the challenge and the Sphinx asks him: "What walks on four feet, two feet and three feet, but cannot move well on three and four?" Oedipus gives the right answer: it is Man. As a child he crawls on all fours, as a grown-up he walks on two legs and old people need a cane for walking. After hearing the right answer, the Sphinx destroys itself by throwing itself down the rock.
The Egyptian Sphinx is a goddess of wisdom and knowledge.
|The griffin is a Greek mythical monster, the guardian of a hidden treasure. The creature is composed of the body, tail, and hind legs of a lion, and the head, forelegs and wings of an eagle. The griffin represents speed and majesty.|
The Chimera is a fearsome beast in Greek mythology, with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a snake/dragon. Modern interpretations have given it three heads and dragons wings.
Homer and Hesiod report about the Chimera as an awful, fire breathing monster who terrorizes the land of Lycia. The local tyrant, Iobates, asks the hero Bellerophon to get rid of it. Bellerophon carries out this task by flying over the monster on the winged horse Pegasus, firing arrows towards the creature. Others say that he thrusts a block of lead with a spear into the creature's throat. The hot breath melts the lead, and the beast dies suffocated.
The Manticore has the body of a lion, the head of a man or lion with many rows of teeth, a scorpion's tail and a beautifull voice.The manticore was of Persian origin, a man-eater (from the Persian martya , 'man' and xvar 'to eat'), apparently passing into European mythology first through a remark by Ctesias, a Greek physician at the Persian court of King Artaxerxes II in the fourth century BCE, in his notes on India (Indika), which circulated among Greek writers on natural history, but have not survived.
Dedun (Dedwen) is the Egyptian/Nubian god of wealth and incense. It is depicted as a lion sometimes, but more often as a human.
Imdugud is the thunderbird of the Sumerian god Enki (Lord of the Soil / God of Water). Imdugud is the South Wind and carries the rain on its back. It has the body of a bird and the head of a lion, whose roar is the thunder.
Mahes is the Egyptian personification of the heat in summer and is shown as a lion or a man with a lion's head. 'Lord of the massacre' he was also called. People living in the Nile Delta area are the prime worshippers of this god. In Greece he was known as Miysis.
Sakhmet is a very powerful goddess of war and vengeance from ancient Egypt, worshipped in Memphis and Luxor. She has the body of a woman and the head of a lioness. She brought diseases and plagues but also healed them.
Menhit is an Egyptian lion-goddess and a goddess of war, the wife of Chnum and with a son called Hike. Those three gods were worshipped as a triad by the inhabitants of the ancient Egypt city of Latopolis (today: Esna/Isna). Menhit means 'she who slaughters'.
Ningirsu is the god of rain, fertility and irrigation in Sumer and Babylon. He is depicted as an eagle with a lion's head. In the ancient Sumerian city of Girsu a temple was devoted to Ningirsu.
- made famous by the exorcist -
The demon Pazuzu stands like a human but has a scorpion's body, feathered wings and legs, talons, and a lion like face on both front and back. the right hand upward, and the left hand downward; the position of the hands means respectively life and death (or creation and destruction). Pazuzu, son of the god Hanbi is he also represented the southwestern wind, bearer of storms and bares the tittle "king of the evil wind demons," was not entirely unfriendly to mankind. As an enemy of the dreaded Lamashtu demon, bearer of sickness especially to women and children, Pazuzu is often portrayed on amulets used as protection in childbirth.