Phoenix Mythology in Feng Shui

Sally Painter
Contributor: Terry Hurley
Confucius Temple, mythical phoenix

Since ancient times phoenix mythology has existed in cultures throughout the world. The Phoenix has significant symbolism in feng shui applications.

Chinese Phoenix Symbolism and Feng Shui

As the young phoenix rose from the ashes it quickly grew with grace, power, and strength. The legendary bird of the sun also represents the four Confucian virtues:

  • Honesty
  • Loyalty
  • Justice
  • Decorum

Celestial Animal Symbolic Meaning

One of the four celestial animals, the Chinese phoenix is rich in symbolic meaning. The mythological bird is the bearer of auspicious energy. For example, its symbolism represents:

  • The union and melding of yin and yang
  • Prosperity and power
  • Grace and high virtue
  • The Empress (represented by the Phoenix) and the Emperor (represented as a dragon)
  • Transformation and rebirth
  • Fame and opportunity

Phoenix and Dragon Meaning

Representing yin, the Phoenix is often paired with a dragon which represents yang. Together, in feng shui, the dragon and the phoenix present a balance of yin and yang that perfectly complement each other.

Phoenix statue in front of a building

Symbol of Marital Bliss

In total balance, the dragon and the phoenix create a happy celestial couple. A statue or painting of a dragon and a phoenix is a symbol of marital bliss and everlasting love. It also strengthens and rekindles relationships.

Feng Shui Placements of Phoenix

You can place the Phoenix in your home as a powerful symbol of the creature's attributes. Select the area you wish to activate and choose the appropriate paintings or figurine. You may also wish to represent the Phoenix in your landscaping.

  • In landform feng shui, the Phoenix represents the front yard of your home. You can create a small raised area in your front yard or place a large rock there to symbolize the Phoenix.
  • Many feng shui practitioners place a red phoenix statue, symbolizing the element of fire, in the section of their space representing Fame and Recognition (south sector).
  • You may prefer to place a statue or picture of the Phoenix and the dragon in the southwest sector of your bedroom to symbolize a happy marriage.

The Myth of the Phoenix

You can find the legend of the Phoenix in various cultures throughout history. One of the most popular versions is that of the ancient Greek culture. According to Greek phoenix mythology, the mystical bird lived in Arabia.

The Legend of the Phoenix

According to ancient legend, when the firebird of the sun, called the Phoenix, grows old and tired and is nearing the end of its life, it builds a pyre nest of spices and beautiful smelling branches. Once the nest is completed, the Phoenix sets it on fire. As the fire rages, both the Phoenix and the nest are reduced to a pile of ashes.

Phoenix Rises From Ashes

After several days a young phoenix rises from the ashes, ready to begin life as the solitary phoenix of the time. The young bird carefully gathers the ashes of the old Phoenix placing the remains into a myrrh egg. The new Phoenix carries the egg to the city of the sun named Heliopolis where he places it on the sun god's alter.

Nature of the Phoenix

The beautifully colored phoenix, with its vibrant gold and scarlet plumage, is now ready to spend its life singing a beautiful melodious song to the sun every day. The magnificent gentle bird, often described as eagle-like, does not kill anything, living completely on dew. In its gentleness, it never crushes anything that it touches.

Other Names for the Arabian Phoenix

Throughout the centuries, the Arabian phoenix has been referred to by many names.

  • King of birds
  • Bird of the sun
  • The Egyptian bird
  • The long-lived bird
  • The bird of Arabia
  • Bird of Assyria
  • Bird of the Ganges

The Phoenix in Different Cultures

The popular mythological accounts of the Phoenix, or its counterpart, existed in many cultures. In each culture, the birds are all identified with, or connected to, the sun. The following are examples of the many countries and cultures that share the legend of the bird of the sun and the names the bird is known by:

  • Greek - Phoenix
  • Chinese - Feng huang
  • Japanese - Hou-ou or Ho-oo
  • Native American - Yei
  • Hindu - Vena in the Rig Veda
  • Russian - Firebird
  • Jewish - Milcham
  • Egyptian - Benu or Bennu

Common Variations of the Legend of the Phoenix

The following are several of the most common variations of phoenix mythology:

  • The number of years the phoenix lives varies from culture to culture. According to different mythological accounts, the lifespan of the Phoenix was commonly said to be 500 or 1000 years. However, other accounts relate lifespans of 540 years, 1461 years and even 12,994 years!
  • Some myths tell of the young phoenix rising from the flames. Others say it rose from the ashes after the fire burned one to three days.
  • The Phoenix is often described as being like an eagle or a heron.

Description of Chinese Phoenix

The Chinese phoenix is known as the Fenghuang. In ancient times, the male phoenix was called feng and the female birds were called haung. In later times, the distinction of gender was ignored, and the bird was simply referred to as she. The Phoenix became the symbol of the Empress. The description of this mythological bird is said to have:

  • Face of a swallow
  • Beak of a cock
  • Breast of a goose
  • Neck of a snake
  • Hindquarters of a stag
  • Back of a tortoise
  • Tail of a fish

Phoenix Mythology in Feng Shi

The Phoenix is a powerful feng shui symbol. It has multiple uses in different luck sectors. When used properly, the Phoenix is believed to bring auspicious chi into your home and life.

Phoenix Mythology in Feng Shui