Hey guys! I hope your weekend was relaxing and entertaining. Mine surly was entertaining to say the least. I just got back from my show in Agoura Hills California. I met so many wonderful people at the Canyon Club. I wish that I could have stayed longer. I love you guys!
So, what am I going to talk about this week? Well, I’m glad you asked. I want to briefly talk about a very old and extremely fascinating figure in Greek mythology, the Phoenix. It has inspired me to create a few illusions that I will soon be presenting to you all.
To start off on the current modern interpretation, most people today recognize the Phoenix as a symbol on the classic hood of the 1974 Pontiac Firebird, on collectors coins, in games like the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards, and in movies such as The Chronicles of Narnia, or in the Harry Potter books where the magical bird is owned by Albus Dumbledore. Overall it is portrayed as a large bird that is either enveloped in flame while in flight and/or when dies, catches fire and turns to ash, to only resurrect itself from its very ashes.
The actual mythology of this bird varies depending on the historical country analogues that describe it. So to make it simple, the base origin of the word Phoenix is from the Mycenaean Greek word, ‘po-ni-ke’. Which was the folklore based word roughly meaning, ‘long lived bird’. The bird’s magical creation was in part, birthed from the trade and wealth derived from the production of purple dye extracted from the conch shell. This was manufactured by the Phoenicians (Notice the similarity in the name?), a Semitic thalassocratic civilization dating back to 1200 BC. Due to its rarity, only the high upper class were privy to its color which much later, became a symbol color of royalty in the Middle Ages. But I get ahead of myself. Before that, the Phoenix bird became the symbol of divine providence, which was in part, borrowed from the Greek Titan god of the sun, Helios, back in 300 BC. It was the colors purple, red, and golden yellow that solidified its uniqueness and magical properties. Of course cupeled with its origin history and the countless legends told through word of mouth, all this is what ultimately made this mythical beast such a coveted symbol for superiority. Later during early Christianity some time shortly after 325 AD, the Phoenix (in some aspects) was adopted as a symbol of resurrection, consecration, heavenly life, and the transmigration of the soul. So, we now come back to the Middle Ages (500 – 1500 AD), where banners, house crests, reigned family provinces, and even countries, adopt the symbol and colors of the Phoenix to represent their superiority, wealth, and nobility to all that can see. I won’t even go into the seemingly endless representations in art that the bird has appeared in through the centuries.
The Phoenix in modern times still holds a great weight of reverence and magic. Almost every major culture in some respect has used it as a way to identify an otherworldly power in some form or another, be it in media, religion, story telling, and stage performances.
“I will rise from the ashes of one finished task and sore to another, on the wings of flame and mythic will.”
My next magic show is on October 17th at 7pm at the Judy Bayley Theater.
For more information and tickets, follow this link: