For a long time, even when I was really young, I wanted to live in Phoenix. I remember smelling the orange blossoms when my family stopped in Phoenix to visit during Spring and that alone, was intoxicating enough to draw me in.
But I thought it was for something bigger, even then. As I grew and learned of the legend, according to Wikipedia,
The phoenix is sometimes pictured in ancient and medieval literature and medieval art as endowed with a nimbus, which emphasizes the bird’s connection with the Sun. In the oldest images of phoenixes on record these nimbuses often have seven rays, like Helios (the personified sun of Greek mythology). Pliny the Elderalso describes the bird as having a crest of feathers on its head, and Ezekiel the Dramatist compared it to a rooster.
Although the phoenix was generally believed to be colorful and vibrant, there is no clear consensus about its coloration. Tacitus claims that its color made it stand out from all other birds. Some thought that the bird had peacock-like coloring, and Herodotus‘s claim of red and yellow is popular in many versions of the story on record. Ezekiel the Dramatist declared that the phoenix had red legs and striking yellow eyes, but Lactantius said that its eyes were blue like sapphires and that its legs were covered in scales of yellow-gold with rose-colored talons.
Herodotus, Pliny, Solinus, and Philostratus describe the phoenix as similar in size to an eagle, but Lactantius and Ezekiel the Dramatist both claim that the phoenix was larger, with Lactantius declaring that it was even larger than an ostrich.
Scholars have observed analogues to the phoenix in a variety of cultures. These analogues include the Hindu garuda and gandaberunda, the Russian firebird, the Persian simurgh, Georgian paskunji, the Arabian anqa’ (عنقاء), and from that, the Turkish Zümrüdü Anka, the Tibetan Me byi karmo, the Chinese fenghuang and zhu que, and the Japanese hō-ō. “
My curiosity about why Phoenix was named “Phoenix” continued to grow along with my desire to live there. The story is interesting according to http://phoenix.about.com/cs/wacky/a/phxspelling01.htm
“Before there was ever a large city called Phoenix, before stadiums and freeway loops, and airport terminals and cell phone towers, the inhabitants of the Pueblo Grande ruins tried to irrigate the land of the Valley with about 135 miles of canal systems. A severe drought is thought to have marked the demise of these people, know as the “Ho Ho Kam”, or ‘the people who have gone.’ Different groups of Indians inhabited the land of the Valley of the Sun after them.
A City Is Born – How Phoenix Got Its Name
In 1867 Jack Swilling of Wickenburg stopped to rest by the White Tank Mountains, and envisioned a place that, with just some water, looked like promising farm land. He organized the Swilling Irrigation Canal Company, and moved to the Valley. In 1868, as a result of his efforts, crops began to grow and Swilling’s Mill became the name of the new area about four miles east of where Phoenix is today. Later, the name of the town was changed to Helling Mill, then Mill City.
Swilling wanted to name the new place Stonewall after Stonewall Jackson. The name Phoenix was actually suggested by a man named Darrell Duppa, who is purported to have said “A new city will spring phoenix-like upon the ruins of a former civilization.
…there are thirteen other states that have a city named Phoenix? They are:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
When I was in banking, I had a wonderful customer from Zuni, New Mexico whose grandmother and grandfather, Effa and Andrew Vanderwagen were missionaries from the Christian Reform Church and in 1896 went to Zuni, NM to do missionary work. His grandfather had been a preacher in New York City and was sent out west to convert the “Indian people.” When his family came to live in Zuni, his grandfather was deeply changed as he learned of the natives’ way of practicing life according to nature and devotion to God in all ways. When he returned to New York, excited to share the knowledge he had gained, he was nearly hanged by the people fearing that Satan had grabbed him while out west. He decided it wise to take his family back to Zuni, to live a better life. That was how the first trading post was established there.
My friend, Micky Vanderwagen, was elderly and when he came to town he always wanted to take me to lunch and tell me stories about growing up as the only white kid in Zuni, New Mexico. His stories were wonderful and powerful for me. He talked of the magic of the Medicine Men and the dances. He told me that the Zuni’s, Hopi’s and Tibetans were from the same people at one time, and the keepers of the spiritual ways. He told me they were the peace keepers for the earth. As I listened to his stories, I yearned to know more about living closer to the ways of nature. I had become obsessed with reading about Quantum Physics, Systems-Designed-Thinking and how our brains work with our hearts. By then, I had been practicing and teaching yoga for years. Yoga means “Yoke” and “Unity” and I wanted to make a web of things. So his stories made me wonder if we put all ancient stories together, might we find answers that made sense? I wondered, if God made the world, it should work. But through man’s choices, it became dysfunctional in so many ways. Micky told me that the Medicine Men told him that Hopi and Zuni elders had predicted for at least 4000 years, the world would be saved from the area in the southwest.
In many ways, it feels as if the world is really a confused, mess right now. But I don’t see it that way. When the tragedies of 9/11/01 occurred, I became incredibly sad and angry that each of us had allowed a non-working world to continue for so long. I believe people are taught love and hate, natural living versus natural destroying, harmony versus anger, and I believe it starts with how we train children. I also believe we have at least three generations of terrible parenting; not because people are bad or wrong, they have just been poorly trained…they don’t know what they don’t know. But they can learn, at any age, at any time, each of us can change. Our DNA, a few years ago scientists thought could never change, changes all of the time. Our brains and our hearts’ rhythm changes all of the time. We can be retrained. There are incredible people and things happening in Phoenix, Arizona. I know because I live here.
Named “An ASHOKA, World-Changemaker School”
ASU Named Most Innovative University
Let’s get going people! We have a Phoenix to raise!!