Archive for the ‘Phoenix’ Tag

The Wolf and the Firebird Fairy Tale   27 comments

There are a vast number of different versions of this tale of the Russian Firebird. Of the ones I have viewed I have chosen “The Wolf and the Firebird Fairy Tale”  as this was the one I enjoyed the most. I hope you will also enjoy this French version of the Russian Fairy tale, ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

So! Are you sitting comfortably? Then we shall begin!! …. 

The Wolf and The Firebird Fairy Tale

Wiki Mythical Firebird

Once upon a time there was a tsar who was the proud owner of an orchard of golden apples. One day he discovered a mysterious thieffirebird Russian Art was sneaking in under the cover of darkness and stealing his golden apples! He was so distressed that he lost his appetite and he tasked his three sons to take it in turns to stand guard in his orchard and catch the thief. Two sons were lazy, worthless men who made no effort to stay awake and simply slept all night. But the third son, Prince Ivan, being a conscientious son, allowed himself no such luxuries. Consequently it was he who saw the orchard light up with an ever-brightening, glowing light which revealed a beautiful golden firebird pecking happily at the golden apples. Prince Ivan made a valiant attempt to capture the firebird but to no avail and it flew away leaving only a single tail feather in his hand.

The following morning the Prince explained everything to his father, Tsar Berendey, showing him the tail feather to prove his story. Determined to catch this golden firebird the tsar sent all three of his sons out on horseback in three different directions to track it down and bring it to him.

 

TheKnightAtTheCrossroadsPrince Ivan eventually arrived at a “crossroads” in a field containing a pillar with an inscription on it offering him three options: : "Whosoever goes from this pillar on the road straight before him will be cold and hungry. "Whosoever goes to the right side will be safe and sound, but his horse will be killed. And whosoever goes to the left side will be killed himself, but his horse will be safe and sound." Prince Ivan opted to go right on the basis he could always get another horse and continue on his quest.

But to his horror a huge magical gray wolf appeared in his path, attacking and killing his horse before running away. However riddled with guilt and seeing the Prince was very sad the wolf returned and said to him "Why, you could have ridden even on your good horse for three years and never found the Firebird for only I know where it lives. I ate your horse, so now I will serve you faithfully and well. Get on my back and hold on tight."

On reaching a fortress the grey wolf said to the Prince, "Listen to me, and remember what I say. Climb over the wall and do not be afraid; all the guards are asleep. In the attic you will see a small window; in the window hangs a golden cage, and in that cage is the Firebird. Take the bird and hide it under your coat; but be sure not to touch the cage."

Prince Ivan did as the wolf had told him but on seeing the cage forgot the wolf’s warning. As soon as he touched the cage he set off alarms all around the fortress and he was unceremoniously hauled up in front of a furious Tsar Afron.You should have come to me and asked me for the Firebird and I would have given it to you out of respect for your father. But now I shall see to it that all the world knows of your behaviour! And in order to earn my forgiveness you will have to enter my service. A certain Tsar Kusman has a horse with a golden mane. Bring that horse to me, and I will give you the Firebird and the cage."

Angry though the wolf was that he had been disobeyed he forgave the Prince and took him to his destination, issuing another warning on their arrival. "Climb over the wall; do not be afraid, the guards are asleep. Go to the stable and bring out the horse. But be sure not to touch the bridle you will see hanging there."

But once again Prince Ivan could not resist temptation and the whole scenario repeated itself, this time with Tsar Kusman. "To attempt to steal a horse shows little wisdom! Even a peasant would not try to do that. But I will let you off, Prince Ivan, if you agree to enter my service. A certain tsar named Dalmat has a daughter, the beautiful Helen. Carry her off and bring her to me, and then I will give you the golden-maned horse and the golden bridle."

Firebird and WolfOnce again, albeit reluctantly, the wolf forgave Prince Ivan and took him on his back to the fortress of Tsar Dalmat. However this time he insisted that he, himself would carry out the task and ordered the Prince to head back to Tsar Afron assuring him he would catch him up. Having seized the Princess the wolf paused only to tell Prince Ivan also to jump on his back so he could carry them both, and in due time they returned back to Tsar Kusman’s fortress.

However Prince Ivan was very sad, not wishing to part with either the horse with the golden mane or the Princess. So the wolf said to him, "I will see to it that you are not parted from her. We will hide her somewhere, then I will turn myself into the beautiful Princess Helen, and you can lead me to the tsar."

The tsar was over the moon with his new wife and gave the Prince the horse with the golden mane and the bridle, not realising that he was going to collect the real princess and ride away with her on the golden maned horse. The realisation hit the tsar full on when he lay down on the marital bed and discovered a huge grey wolf lying next to him!!

In the meantime the Prince and Princess had arrived at the fortress of tsar Afron and once again Prince Ivan was sad not wishing to lose the golden maned horse in exchange for the firebird. So once more the magical wolf took charge and turned himself into the horse with the golden mane. Tsar Afron was over the moon and Prince Ivan, the Princess Helen and the caged firebird rode away to Ivan’s homeland astride the horse with the golden mane. Tsar Afron was not so lucky discovering the trickery only when his golden maned horse turned into a huge grey wolf as he tried to mount it! Terrified he fell from its back and the wolf made good his escape.

On seeing the wolf again Prince Ivan bowed low to it three times in great respect and in thanks for all it had done in making his dreams come true. However the wolf warned him cryptically, "Do not bid goodbye forever to me. I shall yet be of service to you."

As Ivan and Helen and the horse with the golden mane were sleeping, not far from Ivan’s home, his two brothers chanced upon them and filled with jealousy at his success and their failure plotted to kill him and claim the fruits of his success for themselves, and to win favour with their father. As Ivan lay dead the grey wolf appeared alongside him healing his wounds with still water and bringing him back to life with sparkling water.

"I have had such a deep sleep," he yawned.

"Yes, you were sleeping very soundly," the grey wolf said. "But for me you would never have awakened. Your own brothers killed you and carried off all you had gained. Now get on my back, quick!"

On catching up with the brothers the magical grey wolf killed them both and one last time Prince Ivan thanked him again and bowed respectfully three times to him, before saying good bye forever, and returning home to his father Tsar Berendey with the firebird, the princess and the golden maned horse and its bridle. He told everything to his father who was delighted to see them and although he naturally mourned for his two lost sons he gained great comfort from the wedding to Princess Helen of his remaining son Prince Ivan….and they all lived happily ever after!

prince_ivan_and_the_firebord_by_ookamikasumi-d3jcxj9

The (Sochi)Firebird Olympic Torch   34 comments

The (Sochi)Firebird Olympic Torch

Olympic 2014 Flame lighting for XXII Olympic Winter Games in Russia.

 

firebird-russian-fairy-tales-character-20302774Firebird (1)The Sochi 2014 torch is designed to resemble a feather from the magical golden Firebird – the Russian version of the legendary Phoenix, a creature as mysterious as the mythology it is steeped in. Holding a sacred place throughout Russian myth and folklore, it symbolises many things and in Russian fairy tales the firebird’s feather is used to “light the way.”

The Firebird has also inspired many artists, including Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, who consequently wrote a ballet entitled “The Firebird” in 1910, effectively immortalising the legend of the Firebird.

Olympic-Torch_Sochi-201413_01_17_Szocsi-paralimpiai-fáklyaThe Olympic Torch – the “feather,” will be coloured a dramatic fiery red in respect to the traditional sporting colour of Russia. The Paralympic Torch, as with the Olympic Torch will be created out of cast aluminium alloy, and with a view to symbolising the power and the spirit invoked in the Olympic movement will be sky blue in colour.

Flame Lighting Ceremony – Greece lights the world

On its travels throughout the games host country the Sacred Flame burns for the duration of the Olympic Games, acting as a bright and powerful symbol, reminding the people of their birth land.

greece-olympics-sochi-flamearticle-2437233-185EF94600000578-894_634x426The ritual of “The Lighting” is simple yet mysterious in nature. Following the procession of robed priestesses who proceed from the Temple of Hera, which fronts the goddess’s temple, they then surround the altar. Arrayed in white robes the High Priestess, calls firstly upon the god Apollo, then lights the torch by the rays of the sun, and the assistance of a mirror that is concave in shape. Once lit and carefully protected, and contained throughout in a small ceramic pot, the flame is then transported via another procession to the location of the Athens’ Panathenaic Stadium, where the very 1st Greek Olympic Games in 1896 were held. During the course of the procession a branch is cut from the Olive tree. This is seen as a symbol of peace and is an evocative echo of the prize given to the winner in the early times of the Olympic Games. On its arrival at the Stadium, escorted by the priestesses, the first Olympic relay runner’s torch is lit by the High Priestess marking the beginning of the torch relay. The Olympic flame travels to many places and becomes the connecting bond among people sending the message of hope; a trait also associated with the Firebird that the design of the torch is linked to.

firebirdAccording to the Myth of Promytheus the fire is the symbol of life, rationalism and freedom as well as inventiveness and so had been the ageless flame that used to burn on the Altar of Prytaneion in Ancient Olympia.

c9effd98e00d99ac6be076fde41891792612c526The Russian city of Sochi will host the 2014 Winter Olympics opening on Feb 7 2014. They will draw to a close on Feb 23 2014. For the first time the Russian Federation will be hosting the Olympics. In 1980 the Soviet Union hosted the Summer games in Moscow.

Torch Relay

cq5dam.web.1280.1280The torch was carried through Greece until 6 October then flown to Moscow from where it will spend 123 day travelling to the host city of Sochi, covering 40,000 miles+ / 65,000 km+. It involves 14,000 torchbearers and is the longest relay in the history of the Games, spanning 83 different regions throughout Russia, capital cities, 9 time zones and 2,900 communities included. It will travel by foot, car, train and plane. Its journey will also include trips on a toika, reindeer and dog sleighs, snow mobiles and even a balloon.

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Highlights : Since departing Russia in October the Torch has voyaged to N Pole on nuclear-powered icebreaker “50 years of Victory” and in November visited (unlit) the ISS under escort of two Russian cosmonauts. It will have visited the highest mountain in Russia, Mount Elbrus in the Caucaus, UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Sand Dunes of the Curonian Spit, and Kizhi, an old island settlement, voyaging finally, to the bottom of Lake Baikal before being used for the opening ceremony on 7 February 2014. firebird_by_svet_svet-d3bm04m

Rising Out of the Ashes – The Spirit of Fire and Immortality   21 comments

The Phoenix (Phoenos immortalis)

Soaring birds have a magnetic fascination to us. They symbolise the spirit of freedom and peace. Some like the colossal Thunderbird and the huge Roc frighten us. Others, like the healing Caladrius, the shrewd Simurgh and the Phoenix have stirred love or awe.

 

The Arabian Phoenix Phoenix-Ashes

The Arabian Phoenix, the ancient and beautiful gold-red plumed firebird, both mythical and sacred resembled a very large eagle -which when caught in the sun’s fire appeared to flare and flame, shimmering in the sky. With a tail of gold, rainbow-hued wings and scarlet feet the King of all Birds, the Greek-named Phoenix was spoken of in myth and legend as the Spirit of Fire.

Originating in regions of Europe, Central America, Egypt and Asia it made home the wooded dells in Central India. It lived on dew, touching neither fruit nor flowers, leaving anything it touched unharmed, killing nothing.

Greek mythology says the Phoenix lived in Phoenicia adjacent to a well. Every sunrise, it bathed in the well’s water, and its aroma and song were of such allure that all Earth’s birds followed it. Even Apollo the Greek sun-god stopped his chariot (the sun) to hear it sing.

 

Immortality and Rebirth

Towards the end of its life, said to be 500-1000 years, the Phoenix migrated West, gathering leaves and branches of cinnamon, myrrh and other spices from the Arabian Peninsula before continuing onto Phoenicia (Modern Lebanon)

2746756_f520Three days later the Phoenix would set itself and its nest of twigs ablaze, burning fiercely until it was completely consumed by flames and reduced to ashes. When arising from the ashes the new young Phoenix, collected its parents ashes into a myrrh egg carrying them to Heliopolis, the City of the Sun, in Egypt to deposit them on the altar of the sun-gods in the Temple of the Sun, before flying East back to India.

In symbolising rebirth the Phoenix also has a lifecycle that defies biology. In this process of self-destruction it shows us the only way to achieve this dreamed of state of genetic immortality-living forever. It is a very powerful human symbol of spiritual rebirth viewed by Egyptians to be a symbolic representation of fire, divinity, and rebirth.

The Phoenix was said to regenerate when injured by an enemy. Essentially it was indestructible, and considered immortal.

 

Extinction

Now extinct its beginnings as its end are veiled in a smoke screen of mystery. But its possible Mediterranean Europeans high demand for spices lead to over- exploitation of Arabian Spice Groves, on which it depended. With a population of one the Phoenix was unable to adapt or evolve and by the end of the 16th century its delicate existence was terminally interrupted and one of nature’s most extraordinary creations had been lost forever.

Chinese and Japanese Phoenix

The Chinese Phoenix (Feng Huang) and Japanese (Hou-Ou/Ho-Oo) are viewed in Chinese mythology to be a symbol of grace, influence and affluence and an excellent example of dignity, bravery, respect and leadership. Representing the birth of the new emperor or the dawn of a new age, the Phoenix symbolizes the cleansing power of fire and the Chinese principle of yin; imperial grace and elegance, immortality and rebirth; purity and piety.

Believed to appear only in times of peace and opulence Feng Huang is the second of four supernatural creatures, the dragon, the unicorn, and the tortoise. It presides over the southern quadrant of the universe, and therefore symbolizes sun and warmth for summer and harvest.

ChinesePhoenix  2746786_f520  

It shares the benevolent nature of the unicorn harming nothing. Settling nowhere but the wu t’ung tree, feeding only on the bamboo seeds it satisfies its thirst only at the sweet fountains.

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The Japanese call the Phoenix Karura, or The Ho-Oo (Ho being male and Oo being female) and he is an enormous fire breathing eagle with golden feathers and magic gems adorning his brow, the Karura or Ho came to the earth to do good deeds for mankind. Representative of the beginning of a new age, the Ho-Oo represents the sun, loyalty and conformity.

Astronomy/Astrology

In Astrology, by Hesiod’s calculations the Phoenix’s birth date would have coincided roughly with the instant all the stars return to their starting positions beginning a new orbit in a perpetual sequence. This is known as the Great Year and effectively, the Phoenix becomes a reflection of the universe.

Phoenix is a constellation in Earth’s Southern Hemisphere near Toucana and Sculptor. The Phoenix cluster is a dense expanse of unexplored stars, and is also linked with the Phoenicids meteor shower of December 5th.

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“The Phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite; revive from ashes and rise.”

~ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Rising from the ashes, the Spirit of Immortality…the Spirit of Fire…the Spirit of Freedom and Peace…PHOENES IMMORTALIS – THE KING OF ALL BIRDS.

Posted October 20, 2010 by europasicewolf in Mythology and Symbolism

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Is There Life On Other Worlds?   11 comments

Does Life Exist Elsewhere In The Universe?

 

The presence of water is absolutely vital to the existence of life no matter where it may lie in the universe.  In searching for the best habitat to harbour life, the essential criteria could be viewed as a rocky planet with a liquid surface ocean – plant and animal life living near the surface would need to utilise the sunlight.  An atmosphere would also be necessary to prevent the freezing or evaporating of the ocean and it would offer protection from potentially lethal ultra violet light. 

 

Tidal Heating is an important factor in ensuring water is kept warm in multiple-moon systems such as those orbiting Jupiter.  Three of Jupiter’s moons – Europa, Ganymede and Callisto show indications of possible vast oceans beneath thick icy crusts.  Tidal heating prevents the oceans from freezing and heated water bubbling up from the ocean bed provides energy for the beginnings of life’s processes.

 

Europa

Although largely an icy frozen world it could provide a suitable environment for life to form.  Its surface is one of the brightest in the galaxy, and also one of the smoothest. Surface images show strong similarities to thawing pack-ice on Earth’s polar seas, and there is strong evidence suggesting the existence of a subsurface global ocean, sustained in liquid form as a result of tidal heating.

 

Titan

Saturn’s largest moon and 2nd largest in Solar System is composed of rock and water ice, and has a nitrogen-methane atmosphere with a reddish cloud layer above the surface.  Liquid methane can produce the same effect as water on Earth in terms of cloud formation, rain and liquid pools and possibly even lakes and oceans.

 

Enceladus

Saturn’s moon and the shiniest in the solar system.

The part of the atmosphere over its south pole consisting of water vapour gives rise to the notion that below its icy crust could be a hidden ocean. The newly discovered surface geyser, “Cold Faithful,” jetting water ice and vapour out of the fissures backs this theory.

  

Mars

2001-2002 Mars Odyssey found evidence of water ice near the surface. Polar ice caps are underlayed by caps of water ice. 2008 Phoenix Lander confirmed the existence of Martian water in frozen soil.  September 2008 snow was detected falling from Martian clouds. Whether any reaches the ground before evaporating remains to be seen.

 

(Related photos in album “Europa(Homeworld Of The Icewolf)And Beyond”)