The phoenix is a sacred mythological fire bird which is very familiar to most of us. It came from the Greek meaning palm tree. It has a colorful plumage with a scarlet and golden tail. It is said that the phoenix has a life cycle of 500 to 1000 years.
Before it's life ends, the phoenix will build a nest of myrrh twigs in where it will set a fire to itself. The bird and the nest will both burn fiercely and will become ashes. From those ashes, a new young phoenix or an egg will be reborn to live a new life.
The phoenix represented the sun, in both Greek and Egyptian tales; it will die in flames at the end of the day and will rise again every morning. For the early Christians, the phoenix is a symbol of rebirth and resurrection. It leaves the old world to live in a new world of the spirit, will die and rise again to be reborn. It also symbolized immortality, the victory of life over death and Christ's resurrection. The phoenix embedded on Roman coins represents an undying empire. The phoenix was also said to have a capability to sing sweetly.
For the Chinese, the phoenix is the symbol of grace and virtue. It is ranked as second important to the dragon. It also represents the union of yin and yang or the good and the evil. The Empress, who alone could wear its symbol, is associated with this gentle creature. In Japan, the phoenix, along with the sun, is one of the emblems of the Japanese Empire.
Tattooing the phoenix is often associated with the dragon in Japanese. It symbolizes the yin and yang (good and evil). It can also be the harmonious combination of the feminine and masculine virtues.
The phoenix as a tattoo is often associated with feminine characteristics. Each part of its body is a representation of a specific virtue. Some of the less aspects of the phoenix are duty, kindness and reliability. The phoenix's flame represents transformation and purification through adversity and fire.
For some who is interested in getting a phoenix as a tattoo, it can be a symbol of a life that is new-a life that was changed after a long journey of storms, trials and hardships. The phoenix can be a representation of someone's life that experienced a bad past and is now ready to be reborn to put the past behind and start a new life again.