Why ‘Phoenix’ Bereavement?
“From innocence came wisdom and from a darkened flame a thousand sparks of hope.”
(The Dolphin – Carma Sounds)
The Phoenix is a mythical bird which was said to be colourful with a tail of gold and scarlet. In many cultures the Phoenix is said to represent high virtue, grace, strength, peace, purity and life, all characteristics we look to embody at Phoenix in our work with young people rebuilding their lives after they have lost loved ones.
The Phoenix has been frequently referenced in modern popular literature, most famously in Harry Potter where the Phoenix is said to boast magical tears which have potent healing capabilities to heal even severe poisoning and other illnesses and injuries. The presence of a phoenix reinforces a constant underlying theme seen in the Harry Potter books of overcoming death by embracing life,
In Slavic literature a Phoenix is known as a Firebird. It is said to fly around giving hope to those who need it, embodying what we aim for as we work with people when they are at their most vulnerable.
In Slavic literature it was said that pearls would fall from the eyes of the Phoenix to the peasants below, giving them something to trade for goods. The Tsar commanded his three sons to capture the Phoenix, which had also been flying into his orchard and eating his golden apples. The sons failed to capture the bird. However, in their attempts they managed to catch one of his feathers during the struggle. They took the feather, which glows in the night, to a dark room which it is said to light completely. The mystery of the feather has been said to illuminate people’s hearts for years.
In China and Japan the Phoenix is known as the Fenghuang bird – a symbol of the Imperial House. In the Chinese tradition the bird appears only rarely and is said to mark the beginning of a new era. This too poignantly reflects our work of comforting children after someone has died and families are rebuilding their lives.
So, the Phoenix is a sign of life, peace and strength. It brings hope to those who need it. It is a light, glowing in the dark so that people can find their way through difficult times. And it marks new beginnings, as children and families begin to rebuild their lives.
We support children, young people and their families when someone close dies. We are Phoenix.
Alex Rafalowicz-Campbell, Phoenix Communications Volunteer
Published on 5 March 2013