The mythological bird of fire is familiar to most of us, but perhaps not so well-known is in it's original meaning -- "phoenix" in Greek means "palm tree".
Tales of the phoenix appear in ancient Arabian, Greek, Roman, and Far Eastern mythology. In both Greek and Egyptian tales, the phoenix represented the sun, dying in flames at the end of the day and rising each morning. Early Christians came to view the flight of the phoenix as a symbol of rebirth and the resurrection, leaving the old world for the new world of the spirit, dying and rising again, reborn. It symbolized the victory of life over death, immortality, and Christ's resurrection. Jewish legend describes the phoenix as the one creature that did not leave paradise with Adam, and that its legendary longevity is due to abstaining from the forbidden fruit that tempted the 'first man'. On Roman coins, the phoenix represented an undying empire.
In Japanese tattooing the phoenix is often twinned with the the dragon, symbolizing yin and yang, the harmonious combining of the best of the feminine and masculine virtues.
Below you will find a gallery of inspirational images that will help you in your quest of creating the perfect phoenix tattoo.
Also Check out: Bird Tattoo Index.