My New Phoenix Tattoo

So, here it is. My first tattoo, a full back. Just the outline so far and color will be added in later as well as shading and detail. Not only is my little girl’s name Phoenix; she turned 6 months old on the March 20th solar eclipse, and I had this finished on April 4th, 2015 (Passover/ and the (Blood Moon) Lunar Eclipse). But it has a lot of meaning in my own life as well.

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“Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite. Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.

But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.

For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;

And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like a phoenix rise above its own ashes.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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Just some referenced material I got:

The phoenix (Ancient Greek: Φοῖνιξ, phoínix, Persian: ققنوس, Arabic: العنقاء) is a mythical sacred firebird that can be found in the mythologies of the Persians,Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, and (according to Sanchuniathon) Phoenicians.

A phoenix is a mythical bird that is a fire spirit with a colorful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet (or purple, blue, and green according to some legends). It has a 500 to 1000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again. The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self. In some stories, the new phoenix embalms the ashes of its old self in an egg made of myrrh and deposits it in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis (literally “sun-city” in Greek). It is said that the bird’s cry is that of a beautiful song. The Phoenix’s ability to be reborn from its own ashes implies that it is immortal, though in some stories the new Phoenix is merely the offspring of the older one. In very few stories they are able to change into people.

The Roman poet Ovid wrote the following about the phoenix:

Most beings spring from other individuals; but there is a certain kind which reproduces itself. The Assyrians call it the Phoenix. It does not live on fruit or flowers, but on frankincense and odoriferous gums. When it has lived five hundred years, it builds itself a nest in the branches of an oak, or on the top of a palm tree. In this it collects cinnamon, and spikenard, and myrrh, and of these materials builds a pile on which it deposits itself, and dying, breathes out its last breath amidst odors. From the body of the parent bird, a young Phoenix issues forth, destined to live as long a life as its predecessor. When this has grown up and gained sufficient strength, it lifts its nest from the tree (its own cradle and its parent’s sepulchre), and carries it to the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, and deposits it in the temple of the Sun.

French author Voltaire thus described the phoenix:

It was of the size of an eagle, but its eyes were as mild and tender as those of the eagle are fierce and threatening. Its beak was the color of a rose, and seemed to resemble, in some measure, the beautiful mouth of Formosante. Its neck resembled all the colors of the rainbow, but more brilliant and lively. A thousand shades of gold glistened on its plumage. Its feet seemed a mixture of purple and silver; and the tail of those beautiful birds which were afterwards fixed to the car of Juno, did not come near the beauty of its tail.

In Jewish tradition, the Hebrew terms chol (Hebr. חול , “phoenix”, lit. “sand”) and avarshina (Hebr. אורשינה “phoenix”) refer to a supernatural bird, often glossed as, or identified with, the phoenix from Greek mythology.

In the book of Iyov of the Jewish Bible, the “chol” (Hebr. חול ) is mentioned as a bird of long life – as a metaphor, not as an attestation:

And I said, I will perish with my nest, and I will multiply days as the chol (phoenix). Iyov – Chapter 29 – Vers 18

It may however be noted that Job 29:18 may be translated as “I thought, ‘I will die in my own house, my days as numerous as the grains of sand.”

Rashi comments, that on the bird called chol (Hebr. חול ), no punishment of death was decreed because it did not taste of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. At the end of one thousand years, it would renew itself and return to its youth.

According to the Midrash (Sanhedrin 108 folio b), the avarshina (Hebrew) Greek: “phoenix”) is one of the animals on board of Noah’s Ark. Noah found the phoenix “lying in the hold of the ark. “Dost thou require no food?” he asked it. “I saw that thou wast busy,””it replied, “so I said to myself, I will give thee no trouble.” “May it be (God’s) will that thou shouldst not perish,” he exclaimed; as it is written”

Rabbi Yannai taught, that the phoenix would live thousand years and eventually a fire would emerge from its nest and burn it to ashes. But an amount of it, equivalent to an egg, would remain and grow limbs and live.

In his commentary to the Talmud Rashi points out, that “‘Avarshina’ (is) a type of bird, called ‘chol’ in the terminology of the Bible, which never dies.”

3 thoughts on “My New Phoenix Tattoo

  1. Bernice April 11, 2015 / 12:03 pm

    Your welcome! 🙂

    Like

  2. Bernice April 7, 2015 / 12:38 pm

    WOW – quite the tattoo!! I can see it has a lot of meaning to you. 🙂

    Like

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