Athena's Web Weekly Column
Week of Nov 4th - Nov 10th, 2005
The Phoenix is the legendary bird which lifts its wings to the rising Sun, bursts into flame, and rises out of the ashes in the starlight to be born again.
We have been examining the elemental forms of Scorpio in both the scorpion and serpent. Although each contain medicinal potential using the transformative power of their venom, these two manifestations are generally thought to represent the less evolved side of Scorpio; of those that succumb to the allure, the seduction and temptation of human sensation. The Scorpion lurks in the shadows in order to sting when and where we suspect it least. The serpent suggests to Eve that a bite of the apple contains great wisdom, which indeed it does. To eat of that fruit is to know what the gods know.
This week we aim a little higher along the Kundalini column to measure the essence of this eighth sign of the zodiac. The Phoenix flies into view, but the message which he carries is not an easy one to grasp.
The legend of the Phoenix may be found under the archives link (above) for October 6, 2000, but the lesson is this: All life is one, and although it changes, it goes on as before; like the cycle of the seasons. Scorpio is the time of the year when the outward appearances transform and realign in death and regeneration. Halloween is the holiday, as all those who parted return for one final sojourn before they leave forever. Treats are not so much in lieu of tricks, as they are a last Earthly sustenance before the dead finally set out on their ghostly journey to the other world.
From Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,
"Somewhere out in the darkness, a phoenix was singing in a way Harry had never heard before: a stricken lament of terrible beauty. And Harry felt, as he had felt about Phoenix song before, that the music was inside him, not without: It was his own grief turned magically to song that echoed across the grounds and through the castle windows."
"How long they all stood there, listening, he did not know, nor why it seemed to ease their pain a little to listen to the sound of their mourning..."
While both the scorpion and serpent are aware of the veil which separates death from life, the Phoenix had thrown back the veil and flown from one side to the other, aware of the continuity of all life. It is both beginning and end, the Alpha and the Omega. The Phoenix knowingly lifts his wings to the rising Sun in order that they might catch flame. This is the soul's flight. It is a totally self-conscious act; leaving behind of the old ways helps to revitalize new life, the new way, and the new form; yet the new is the old, as the old was also the new.
The journey from scorpion to serpent to phoenix has been one of developing the willpower to confront the ultimate foe, death itself; of learning from which corner death would ultimately derive, and finally, in the phoenix; taking action by challenging death itself. Wisdom is no longer enough. Action must be taken. In the flames of the funeral pyre; this is the ultimate gate through which we all must pass in heaven's final test. Christ is sometimes symbolized by the phoenix, because this was his ultimate test, but inevitably, it is a solo journey through which each one of us must one day pass.