The old mythological legend of the Phoenix is a familiar one. The bird was described as of the size of an eagle, with a head finely crested, a body covered with beautiful plumage, and eyes sparkling like stars. She was said to live six hundred years in the wilderness, when she built for herself a funeral pile of aromatic woods, which she ignited with the fanning of her wings, and emerged from the flames with a new life. Hence the phoenix has been adopted universally as a symbol of immortality.

Higgins (Anacalypsis, ii., 441) says that the phoenix is the symbol of an ever-revolving solar cycle of six hundred and eight years, and refers to the Phoenician word phen, which signifies a cycle. Aumont, the first Grand Master of the Templars after the martyrdom of DeMolay, and called the "Restorer of the Order," took, it is said, for his seal, a phoenix brooding on the flames, with the motto, "Ardet ut vivat" - She burns that she may live. The phoenix was adopted at a very early period as a Christian symbol, and several representations of it have been found in the catacombs. Its ancient legend, doubtless, caused it to be accepted as a symbol of Jesus Christ's resurrection and immortality.

This page is adapted from the Glossary at Phoenixmasonry — Used with permission.

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