The splendid-feathered phoenix lives for hundreds of years builds its own funeral pyre, sets it on fire, and rises from the ashes after three days. The phoenix represents long life, conscious acquiescence to death, and assured regeneration. The fiery alchemical process of calcinatio leaves behind a white ash equivalent to salt, that which cannot be burned: life, soul, and Eros.
The phoenix is usually depicted ascending in its joyful solar plumage of red, orange, and gold, indicating that when one is purged of instinctual drives, affective intensity, and egotistical desires, fire is experienced as divine illumination. The resurrected phoenix constructs an egg from the ashes of its former self and deposits it on the altar of the sun god—an acknowledgment of the regenerative connection between the ego and the Self.
Here’s The Dream We Analyze:
“In this dream, my father, who passed away fifteen years ago, had come back to visit. He seems well but somewhat less warm than he used to be, and not as demonstrative; taller and paler than I remember. We all go to some sort of train station in Amman, which does not actually exist, and hop on a light-rail train suspended high above the city. My father, eldest sister, and brother go ahead of us; and myself, my disabled brother, and his driver are in the compartment behind them. No sooner had the train started to move than I look down and see ancient ruins that apparently were recently excavated. The view is breathtaking; an entire ancient city so well preserved; so beautiful as to rival any ancient ruin on the planet. I notice one or two temples fashioned in the image of gigantic feline heads. I also notice the tasteful lighting that adds a lot to the experience as the evening darkness descends. I wonder how this is here, in the middle of the city, and worry a bit about this lovely ancient ruin being overrun and perhaps damaged by people and tourists. For the moment, there were only one or two people down there that I could see. As I look further I remember that I have been in this place before. We get to our destination and my siblings and father want to go down below and walk. I tell them that I will push my other brother’s wheelchair and take him to the car with the driver.”
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Edward Edinger. Anatomy of the Psyche: Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy, https://www.amazon.com/dp/0812690095/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_PXR5RHSZDH31GA722MW3