The more you delve, the more convoluted it becomes. The more answers you find, the more questions you ask. Links appear and disappear like clockwork, characters crawl out of the woodwork and connections that you wouldn’t expect to exist appear within the framework.
Everything and everyone in his, her or its place. And somebody else’s as well, it seems.
Take Phoenix for example.
Now, take another one. And add in a third.
I very often write about Phoenix the bird; well, less often than very often, but there you go. I’m fascinated by legendary and mythological creatures such as these, and dragons and wyverns. I don’t know that much about them, but I love delving into pages of facts and piecing bits of information together. I never seem to get the information I’m looking for, but the snippets I come across are just as good.
In China, they had their own Phoenix. Two of them, actually: one was male and the other female. They probably had more than just the two, but we’ll leave that for now. The male version was called Feng, and the female version Huang. They were huge birds, that looked like composites of other animals all mixed into one. Over time, the two sexes ‘merged’ and the bird became wholly female, known as Fenghuang, and became the female ‘partner’ in the ‘marriage’ between the ‘Phoenix’ and the Dragon. Strictly speaking, the Fenghuang isn’t a Phoenix, but has become to be known as such.
One good thing about the Fenghuang, well many good things truth be told, is that they are omens of great fortune, and represent peace, virtue and compassion amongst other things.
The legends of Greek Mythology, well some of them, also carry tales of compassion and fortune, and possibly even peace, considering the battles and wars they had, curses and counter-curses and other carryings on.
Phoenix, a person this time, was a charioteer during the Trojan War. The son of Amyntor and father-figure and friend of Achilles, he was blinded by his father for purportedly having a bit of a fling with his father’s mistress, at the request of his mother, Cleobule. The fling was all nonsense, apparently, and eventually Phoenix’s sight was restored by Cheiron, the wisest Centaur (before Centaurs became half-man half-bull, they were savage-like people living rough in the hillside of Thessaly).
See what I mean about characters appearing out of the woodwork and unexpected connections? It’s better to expect the unexpected, I say.
Another Phoenix, and the one I’m more familiar with was King of the Phoenicians, and he named the historic African country of Phoenicia after himself. This Phoenix was the son of Agenor and Telephassa (or Telephe), and he was the father of Adonis, who fell head over heels for Aphrodite. Aphrodite’s son, incidentally, Aenaes, was one of the few Trojan survivors when the city of Troy fell…
So, putting two and two together, there is a slight chance that these two Phoenixes would have existed at the same time. The ‘people’ Phoenixes, that is. The Firebird and the Fenghuang could possibly have also existed at the same time, so that’s now four Phoenixes we’re dealing with.
I think I’ll end here, for fear that another one will appear through some mystical fold in mythology. Stranger things have happened!