Tattoo designs

What is the Meaning of Phoenix Tattoos

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. March 28, 2017
What is the Meaning of Phoenix Tattoos

The term phoenix, comes from the Greek word phîonix, which means "purple" or red. It refers to a bird capable of being reborn from its ashes and thus living 500 years. The paleontologist and anatomist Cuvier (1769 - 1832) thought it resembled the goldfinch, while others compared it to the birds of paradise and more rarely to pink flamingos.

Although the phoenix is ​​found in Persian mythologies (Simurgh), Chinese (Fenghuang), Aborigines (Minka bird) and Amerindian (Thunderbird), its origin is African, more specifically Ethiopian. According to legend, the phoenix would die and then reappear in Arabia and in neighboring countries, such as Egypt, where it was associated with the cult of the sun.

A large bird like a raptor, its plumage is gold, but also blue, purple and red. It is sometimes called a bird of fire, for it can make flames burst out of its beak and emit energy comparable to the sun.

If phoenix tattoos are so popular today, it is partly due to the ancient and mythological meaning of this legendary bird, but also to its aesthetic rendering. Let's see what the meaning of phoenix tattoos is.

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  1. The Phoenix, symbol of the cylce of life
  2. Symbol of strength and longevity
  3. Symbol of Hope and Perseverance
  4. Fire symbol
  5. Symbol of freedom and delicacy
  6. The phoenix through mythology

The Phoenix, symbol of the cylce of life

Out of all the bird tattoos, Phoenix tattoos are more popular among women (who prefer a tattoo in the back or lower abdomen) than men (who prefer to have their tattoos armed).

According to mythology, the phoenix dies and is reborn, so that it represents the cycle of life. It may also mean that the person has had a difficult or even tragic experience but has recovered. In this sense, it symbolizes the transcendence of oneself.

Getting a tattoo of a phoenix serves to mark a new beginning.

What is the Meaning of Phoenix Tattoos - The Phoenix, symbol of the cylce of life

Symbol of strength and longevity

The phoenix sends a strong message to others: you are strong and able to face a harsh, even cruel, world with great adversity. Those who believe in the immortality of the soul will gladly go for this tattoo (the phoenix lives 500 years and sets fire to his own nest when he feels the near end, another phoenix will be born from the blaze ...).

What is the Meaning of Phoenix Tattoos - Symbol of strength and longevity

Symbol of Hope and Perseverance

Regardless of the adversity to which the tattoo is subjected, this person keeps hope and remains optimistic because he or she knows that better days are coming. He is reborn and rebuilt on his own wounds, however great they may be. The phoenix symbolizes courage, which is precisely the ability to rise when one is at their lowest point.

What is the Meaning of Phoenix Tattoos - Symbol of Hope and Perseverance

Fire symbol

Like the zodiac's signs of fire (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius) the phoenix is linked to the Fire element. Flames often run through its wings and head; If you are considering a color tattoo, go for red, orange and yellow.

The alchemists of the Middle Ages took the phoenix as their symbol, fire being essential to their work. It also symbolized the sun, an element indispensable to earthly life, and therefore vitality or attachment to the life of the person who bore it.

What is the Meaning of Phoenix Tattoos - Fire symbol

Symbol of freedom and delicacy

All freedom-loving spirits, who like to travel or dream of leaving far away, will not be insensitive to phoenix tattoos, a symbol of openness to the world, of curiosity and intellectual independence.

If the phoenix represents strength, it is also capable of tenderness: if this legendary bird produces destructive flames, know that it feeds only on dew and does not kill to survive.

The phoenix through mythology

As we've mentioned in the introduction, the Phoenix is present in many ancient civilizations' mythology. Let's take a look at each of the meanings that those people gave to the figure of this legendary creature.

For the ancient Chinese

The chinese version of the Phoenix is called Fenghuang (凤凰). It is also known as the "August rooster" and according to ancient literature is a mixture of several animals (rooster, swallow, stag, fish, goose and tortoise). This mythological animal represents both grace and virtue in a very similar way that the yin and yang do. At the same time, it is commonly seen depicted with the dragon as it is said that uniting them represents a whole, which is why they are both used in many decorations at Chinese weddings.

For the ancient Jews

The Jews gave the Phoenix a meaning of resistance and integrity, as it is said to be the only creature to resist the temptation of the forbidden fruit. To do so it turned into flames and came back to life after three whole days, which is why it is a reminder of resistance against temptation.

For ancient Persians

The simurgh was depicted in many Iranian silverware and was popularly known for having seen the end of the world over three times, which is why it is a symbol of wisdom and intelligence. It was also meant to represent fertility, as their phoenix was in charge of purifying their land and water.

For ancient Egyptians

If you take a look at the many representations of the Sun God Ra, you will notice that one of its favorite materialization is the phoenix. Known as the Bennu bird, it resembled a Heron and was the guardian of Heliopolis, which was in turn known as the city of the Sun.

For the Japanese

Still today, the phoenix has a great role in Japanese culture, as it is depicted as an emblem of the empire of the rising sun. Known in Japanese as the Hou-ou, it was anciently adopted as a symbol of the empress and is a symbol of prosperity and peace. It is also a representation of the sun, fidelity and obedience.

If you want to read similar articles to What is the Meaning of Phoenix Tattoos, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.


  • We find the phoenix over the ages: among the Persians, the Greeks, the Jews, the Romans, the Christians.
  • The phoenix is also present in the literature. 3 examples: Rabelais's 5th book, Voltaire's Princess of Babylon, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
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What is the Meaning of Phoenix Tattoos