Out of the ashes of the end


Arises the Phoenix.


Who is this Phoenix


Who flies through flashes


Of burning embers,


Who extends


Her black-enchanted wings


From the horizon


To the wind-streaked high plateau,


This one who ever dies,


Yet flies




With golden beak


And brown-laked eyes


That seek


Only those stories, spoken lore,


True and raven-wandering?


Mountain air gleams;


Glittering stars talk


And walk,


And wend their way


Among the hidden crannies of the skies


And know


Where eagles slip through time’s illusion,


Eagles who remember every eon


And recall the wisdom


Of the glad-winged Hamsa


Who hears,


Even now, the dawn-invoking, distant drums


Of long-gone dreams.


After the flames of desecrated towns


Leave strange, fossilized soils,


After the blanched wicks


Of all the candles have been snuffed,


And volcanic plumes fluffed


Aloft in sobering winds,


After the great ending,


The air clears


Of dim, smoke-laden whiffs.


Then Adi Sesha of the thousand, bright-singing,


Emerald crowns,


Older than all the many worlds before,


Older than the trees of time, ever ancient,


Floats again


On the timeless mist


Of eternity,


Lifting, on his linked coils,


The light form of Narayana,




Who slumbers,




Then the Phoenix


Rises through the amethyst




Over the land where lilies still grow


In the backwaters


Not far from the rainbowed sea,


In the rain,


In the truth where only


The innocent curlews, nesting,


Play by the rocky shore


On a gray, moon-bent day


There the waves crash, exuberant,


Against the granite cliffs.



©Sharon St Joan, 2018


Illustration: Phoenix detail from Aberdeen Bestiary, Public Domain, Wikipedia











The Sun



To the Japanese who followed, and for those who still follow, the Shinto religion, the Goddess of the sun is Amaterasu, who is also Goddess of the universe.  Her name means “shining in heaven.”  The Emperor of Japan was believed to be a direct descendant of Amaterasu.


Amaterasu was the sister of Susanoo, the God of oceans and storms, and of the moon God Tsukuyomi. She shared the reign of the heavens with Tuskuyomi.


After a quarrel with her brother Susanoo, during which he destroyed her rice fields, she hid for a while inside a rock cave, and during this time the sun did not shine. Eventually she was persuaded to come out of the cave and the sun shone again.


In Honshu, Japan, at the Ise Shrine, a ceremony is held every twenty years to honor Amaterasu.  At this time the buildings of the shrine are torn down and built anew at a nearby location.


The hidden sun is a common theme in mythology. In ancient Egypt, the sun God Ra traveled through the underworld every night, where he did battle with Apep, the dragon of chaos.  When he had defeated Apep, the sun rose and began a new day.


For the Norsemen, the enemy of the sun was the wolf Skoll who chased the horses which pulled the chariot of the sun Goddess Sol through the sky every day.


For the Chinese, an eclipse was caused when the magical dog of heaven bit off a piece of the sun.  This is said to have happened around 2,160BCE.


Ancient Egypt had many sun Gods and Goddesses over the centuries. The God Amun rose to a place of national significance and became identified with the God Ra, the earlier sun God of the Old Kingdom.


In Hinduism, in the time of the Vedas, the solar deities were the Adityas. The Rig Veda describes the Adityas as bright and as pure as streams of water, free from all deceit and falsehood. They protect the world of spirits and the earth.


Vishnu is mentioned in the Rig Veda as one of the Adityas, who created the solar year.  When Vishnu’s head was cut off, due to a trick, his head became the sun.


The sacred prayer, the Gayatri Mantra, recited daily by millions of Hindus, invokes the sun God by the name Savitar.


In the Ramayana, Rama, the avatar of Vishnu, belongs to a dynasty of kings descended from Surya, the sun God. Surya is traditionally worshipped at dawn. Surya is also known as Mitra, which means friend, and by a great many other names.


Vishnu, the God of light, is identified with the sun as the source of life, blessings, nourishment, sustenance, and all good things.


It made sense to ancient people, and still does to millions of people today, to worship the sun.


The sun gives light and life to the earth and to all the plants and animals who thrive on the earth. To each of us the sun rising in the morning brings a sense of joy, peace, and positivity – a sense of renewal and optimism.


We as humans are conscious beings and does it not make sense that the spirit of consciousness and intelligence which manifests in us, must also pervade the entire universe – the oceans, the wind, the trees, the animals, the planets, the stars, and especially the sun, who gives us life?


Photo: Wikimedia Commons / “This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired….You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States.” / “Surya receives worship from the multitudes; Tanjore School miniature painting, 1800’s “A Painting of Surya. India, Tanjore School, 19th Century.”