~ Symbolism of Blazes ~
The Phoenix - The Story
It is said that as early as 500 B.C., people
believed in the phoenix, a legendary bird that would live for 500 years.
Near the end of its life, the phoenix would build a funeral pyre for itself.
As it began to die, it would lay down on the wood; the wood would burst
into flames consuming the phoenix after the bird died. The phoenix would
emerge anew from the ashes of the funeral pyre stronger and more beautiful
than before living on for another 500 years.
Thus, the phoenix, the ancient mythical creature
that is consumed by flames, only to be reborn anew, is another symbol of
transformation and a representation of the grief response. The transformation
phase is similar to that of the mythical creature the phoenix, which after
burning on a pyre, rises gloriously and triumphantly from the ashes to
live again. This mythical bird is especially representative for those who
feel entirely consumed by the deep emotional response to grief before re-emerging,
in a sense, being reborn by the experience.
The Phoenix and Blazes
When looking for a unifying theme to symbolize
the processing the grief response, the main symbol chosen to represent
the process we have termed "Transitional Medicine" was the butterfly; this insect undergoes a major transformation process
as part of its normal life cycle. The phoenix is provided here as an alternative
for those who feel that the butterfly is too fragile and delicate a creature
to be used as a symbol of the grieving process.
The phoenix was chosen to represent strength,
hope and rebirth, as well as transformation. The image of the phoenix emerging
from the ashes of complete destruction was also selected to be one that
would appeal to male visitors to the site. This image would better represent
the sturggle to change following a loss and be a symbol of strength in
The term "Blazes" comes from a poem that written
in 1996. This poem entitled "The Blaze" describes the story of the phoenix,
a mythical bird, who rises victoriously from the flames set to destroy
it—reborn, renewed and gloriously and triumphant. In designing the site
we decided that it would be too confusing to use both themes within the
site, therefore use of the phoenix imagery has been primarily within the
"Butterflies & Blazes" section of the site. The phoenix images will
be incorporated with inspirational quotes into the new Healing
Place section of the site.
The Phoenix and Transitional Medicine
The mythologic phoenix was chosen as another
symbol of transformation and is used primarily within the "Butterflies
& Blazes" section of the site. This symbol was chosed to represent
an image of strength as an alternative to the more fragile, delicate butterfly
image. The story of the phoenix is another good representation of the grief
response, as the bird is consumed by flames only to be reborn anew rising
from the ashes of destruction; this imagery is especially helpful for those
who feel consumed by the deep emotional response of grief before re-emerging
in a sense, being reborn by the experience. Many people can relate to the
symbol of the phoenix emerging from the ashes of complete destruction—strength
The Phoenix Rises from the Flames of Loss
If you suppress grief too much, it can well redouble.
This website was established to help people of
both genders experiencing loss to better understand the grief response. It is particularly
important that the loss is processed in some way—whether talking with family a trusted friend, clergy,
health care or mental health professional; writing in a journal; working it out through exercise or finding other creative
ways of expressing the emotions— otherwise the grief may increase:
Journey of Hearts is also designed to aide visitors
in making it through the transition phase of the grief
response. This transition phase is one which may be filled with despondency
and depression, but by finding help and the resources that each individual
may need to cope with the crisis. It is our hope that the grieving will
emerge from the darkness of grief, incorporate the loss or change and be
transformed into a different person. In time just as the phoenix rises
reborn from the flames, so to will he/she emerge from the loss, forever
changed. Part of the grieving process involves learning to live again in
a life forever changed by the loss.
Each life-crisis I have faced has been a chance
for self-assessment and personal growth that has forced me to critically
evaluate the situation and find the opportunity frequently previously overlooked
or unconsidered prior to the life-altering circumstance. The crucial message
is that the out of death (symbolic as in relationship or death of a loved
one or friend), destruction and the depths of despair can emerge a new
life, a life stronger than before. I find the quote by Anne Wilson Schaef
to express these sentiments well:
we believe that we have
come to a place
that is void of hope
and void of possibilities,
only to find that it
is the very hopelessness
that allows us to hit
give up our illusion
turn it over,
and ask for help.
Out of the ashes of our
comes the fire of our
|Like the mighty phoenix,
Once again I rise from
the flames set to destroy me & take flight.
Kirsti A. Dyer,
The main orange logo phoenix was created
for the site by Maryann Sterling.
The blue phoenix is © Lethann at the
The animated blue
flames image is © Joan Kirk at Angelic
All images are used
within the copyright guidelines of the artists.
See the Emergency
911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless,
hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.
| A Healing Place
| Loss & Grief
| Emergency Pick-Me-Ups
| Condolence & Sympathy
| Transitional Medicine
| Butterflies & Blazes
About this Site