Although the Phoenix is well known in legend, there are few classical stories associated with it from mythology. The Phoenix is a large bird that is revered around the world as a symbol of immortality and re-incarnation.
In Greek legend, the Phoenix lived in Arabia near a cool well. Every morning as the Sun rose and dawn broke, it would immerse itself in the cool clear water of the well and sing such a delightful and sweet song that the Sun God would stop his chariot to listen to the beautiful sound.
Every 500 years, as death approached, it would construct a nest of sweet smelling wood that it then set upon fire, the flames consuming the bird. From the ashes, a new Phoenix arose which would wrap up the ashes in a parcel of myrrh. Flying to Heliopolis, the "City of the Sun," also called On, in Egypt, it would deposit the ashes on the altar of the Ra, the Sun God.
In the Egyptian myth, it is known as Bennu, representing the rise of life and also the sun, announcing a new period of prosperity and fertility. It is also portrayed as a heron on the sarcophagi of the dead.
Feng-huang was a bird with glorious plumage and a beautiful song. He appeared when good fortune was due and marked the southern point.
In another sense, the Phoenix is the Cherub or Angel (in Israel), the clapping of whose wings simulates the roar of thunder. And this thunder is really the fearful rumble of the volcanic explosion that destroyed Paradise, as well as the roar of the onrushing waters of the sea, stirred by the cataclysm.
Some astrologers consider the Phoenix as a higher form of the eagle, one of the symbols of the constellation Scorpio, appropriate given the death and rebirth connotations of the zodiacal sign.
The name Phoenix has been given to a small constellation visible in the Southern Hemisphere. Its brightest star alpha was anciently known as Nair al Zaurak, the "Bright One in the Boat."