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Slavic Firebird as a Symbol of the Sun

firebird painting

“Firebird” by Victor Zhegalov (1928). Public domain image.

The Firebird of Slavic folklore is a mythological bird seen as a personification of the sun, light, and fire in various myths and legends.1 The Firebird’s mythological roots are believed to trace back to the solar religion that was once widespread in Slavic lands.23

The Firebird’s life cycle is believed to be intertwined with the cycle of the solstices and equinoxes. The Firebird is said to die every autumn and be reborn in the spring,4 which corresponds with the deeper meanings of the equinoxes (the autumn equinox being associated with death and entry into the dark half of the year, and the spring equinox with resurrection and entry into the light half of the year).5 The Firebird was said to show itself at the summer solstice6 — a time of year that in the religion of the sun represents spiritual ascension and a time of the greatest light in the year.7

In some myths the Firebird is said to have its nest in the World Tree (also known as the Tree of Life and Axis Mundi), and it is said that:

“The Firebird eats golden apples, giving youth, beauty and immortality; when it sings, pearls pour out of its beak. The singing of the Firebird heals the sick and restores the sight to the blind.8

In many ways the mythology of the Firebird seems to be intertwined with other cultures descended from the lost civilization of the sun, including the mythology of the World Tree and the garden filled with life-rejuvenating golden apples (elements also found in the Scandinavian and Germanic legends), and there are some similarities with other mythological birds associated with the sun such as the Phoenix bird of Greek mythology and the Simurgh bird of Persian mythology.9

capturing the firebird

Firebird depiction by Ivan Bilibin (1876-1942). Public domain image.

In Slavic folklore the Firebird is often sought after by a steadfast hero on a quest. It’s associated with tests and trials over which the hero must triumph. The hero capturing the bird, or even just one of its feathers, is then able to triumph over challenges and complete difficult trials. In many of these stories, even a single plume of the bird has the power to vanquish darkness.10

One interesting Firebird folktale is called “Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf” (collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki / Russian Folk Tales). It tells the story of Ivan Tsarevitch, the youngest son of a king, who went on a journey filled with many trials in order to capture the Firebird and bring it back for his father. Ivan succeeded in his quest, but upon his return his jealous brothers, who themselves refused to undergo these challenges (preferring an idle life), killed Ivan and cut him into pieces. They then claimed as their own the treasures Ivan brought with him from his journey and presented them to their father as though it was they who won them. Ivan was revived, however, and restored back to life with the help of a companion gray wolf that assisted him throughout his journey, and was able to reclaim his rewards despite his brothers’ treachery.11

This Slavic folk tale is somewhat reminiscent of the ancient Egyptian mythology of the god Osiris who was cut up into pieces by his jealous brother Seth, and then resurrected and was brought back to life.12 The tests and trials of Ivan, his journey to capture the Firebird (the Sun) and other treasures, and his betrayal, death, and spiritual help and resurrection appear to be mythological remnants telling of the journey of the sun through the solstices and equinoxes and the deeper spiritual meaning of these times of year.13

The following classic Russian folktale cartoon is an illustrated version of another myth about Ivan Tsarevitch, the Firebird and the gray wolf. This 1984 classic titled “Firebird” (Жар-птица) is unfortunately only available in Russian, but a summary of the spoken story is as follows:

slavic firebird

Zhar Ptitsa illustration by Shliht Oskarovitch (1922). Public domain image.

In a certain kingdom the land was overtaken by invisible dark forces that crept in unseen and enslaved humanity, in the process stealing and enslaving a maiden named Vasilisa.

Ivan Tsarevich, the hero of the story (who throughout the tale is assisted by a gray wolf and an invisibility hat that help him on his mission) sets out on a journey to rescue Vasilisa and to fight these dark forces, but despite his bravery he finds the powers of darkness overwhelming.

After unsuccessfully trying to fight this evil on his own he remembers a magical garden where the Firebird feeds on golden apples. He goes there and captures a fiery feather from from the Firebird’s tail. This luminous feather, which turns into a sword of light, helps him to fight and defeat the darkness (which takes the form of a flock of black dragons). Ivan is then able to defeat the dark forces, free Vasilisa from the dungeon where she was imprisoned, and the world from the shackles of darkness. The tale ends with the earth lit up by the sun and evil vanquished.


  1. “Жар-птица.” Wikipedia. Accessed March 10, 2018. https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%96%D0%B0%D1%80-%D0%BF%D1%82%D0%B8%D1%86%D0%B0  

  2. Vatroslawski, Wilk. “Phoenix – The Legendary Firebird and myths about it in Slavic culture.” Slavorum. September 06, 2016. Accessed March 12, 2018. https://www.slavorum.org/legends-and-myths-about-the-phoenix-firebird-in-slavic-culture/

  3. The Firebird is known as Zhar-ptitsa in Russian, Ukranian, Serbian, Macedonian, etc., and Żar-ptak in Polish, Pták or Vták Ohnivák in Czech and Slovak, Rajska/zlata-ptica in Solvene, etc.). Source: “Firebird (Slavic folklore).” Wikipedia. February 28, 2018. Accessed March 10, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firebird_(Slavic_folklore)

  4. “Жар-птица.” Wikipedia. 

  5. Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard, The Path of the Spiritual Sun: Celebrating the Solstices & Equinoxes (Mystical Life Publications, Revised and updated second edition July 2017) p. 51-83 and 129-170. 

  6. Vatroslawski, Wilk. “Phoenix – The Legendary Firebird and myths about it in Slavic culture.” 

  7. Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard, The Path of the Spiritual Sun. P. 207-240 

  8. “Жар-птица.” Wikipedia. 

  9. Ibid. 

  10. Ibid. 

  11. “Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf.” Wikipedia. February 28, 2018. Accessed March 12, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsarevitch_Ivan,_the_Firebird_and_the_Gray_Wolf

  12. Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard, The Path of the Spiritual Sun. P. 141, 162. 

  13. Ibid., Chapter 4, p. 129, and especially p. 133 -135, 138, 140-147, 168. 

About the author

Jenny Resnick

Jenny Resnick is a researcher and practitioner of the ancient religion of the sun and the Managing Editor for The Spiritual Sun, where she also researches and writes about ancient sacred sites; spiritual texts and practices; the latest discoveries in archeology, archeoastronomy, and related sciences; as well as the exploration of various facets of the lost civilization of the sun.

45 Comments

  • I’ve often wondered about the symbolism of the peacock used in Hinduism and also as part of the Yazidi culture, in that could it have been another bird that looked like a peacock, due to the similarity of each having long tail feathers? Because of the spiritual significance and meaning of these birds, when I saw this picture of the slavic firebird I wondered if it was actually a firebird type of bird instead, and if perhaps over time it had been changed to a peacock in these cultures?

  • A great article that reminded me of early childhood myths and legends that all kids love to read and that perhaps some of these stories may contain hidden universal truths – thank you Jenny!

    From what I know Firebird was/is known in Poland as Raróg (ra-roog) – a divine fiery bird. In some myths Raróg was a guardian at the gates to heavens. Raróg was also thought to hatch from a golden egg that a person needed to sit on for nine days, and after that he or she would be accompanied by own Raróg.

    Thank you again for the article.

  • It was lovely to read about the firebird Jenny. Thanks for sharing. The cartoon is very beautiful. I’ve been reading old collections of fairy and folk tales lately and it’s amazing how often similar elements appear in them that could have truly spiritual roots, but mostly it’s a few isolated elements or aspects in one tale, or it seems mixed up together and you can’t make sense of it. Perhaps it’s too esoteric for me to understand 🙂 or maybe it’s what others have been saying here that their real meaning was lost along the way as it was retold or got divided into separate tales etc. So it was very nice to read about this tale with Ivan Tsarevich that seems to have kept a meaning intact that we can decipher.

    Golden apples seem to feature in old folk tales a lot. In this one tale called ‘Ohnivak’ (apparently the name for firebird in Czech and Slovak) it’s a tree in a king’s garden producing one golden apple every 24 hours but he can never get to taste them because someone or something steals them in the night. His sons offer to keep watch to discover who it is, but they fall asleep, and it’s the youngest who finds a way to keep awake, and sees who steals them, and it’s the firebird. The prince sees it but can’t capture it, just manages to get one feather, so he goes on a quest to find it. A fox helps him on the way. The fox tells him that the bird is sleeping in a copper castle. To get him out without raising an alarm, there are two cages, a wooden and a golden one. The fox tells the prince to put the bird in the wooden cage, but instead he puts him in the golden one, and fails. He then has to go to a silver and a golden castle as a result to get a few other symbolic treasures. As he returns his jealous brothers cut him up in pieces and steal his treasures, but the fox brings him back to life with the water of life, and he triumphs in the end. I found it fascinating though I’m not sure how meaningful it is, you can read it here https://www.worldoftales.com/European_folktales/Slavic_fairy_tale_16.html

    • What a nice resource of fairy-tales you found Laura, thank you for sharing! I have read so many as a child… Even later on when I was already older, I used to borrow new fairy-tales from a local library very often, always taking them with other, ‘seriously-sounding’ books, so that I didn’t look childish. 😉
      It will be interesting now to re-discover all those stories again, recognizing the elements of the spirituality of the Sun in them.

  • This is a very nice tale – the symbology is so powerful! I remember seeing the image of the Firebird before so it’s nice to know more about it and the deep message behind it.

  • Hi Jenny

    I wonder if this ancient mythological Chinese (Taoist) firebird, the Vermilion bird – a primarily red bird covered in flames representing the fire element, summer and the cardinal direction south – may perhaps be related to the firebird legend of the Slavs? Ancient Chinese astronomers have named a specific constellation after it which supposedly was later known as the Red Phoenix and the Red Dragon. I couldn’t find any indepth info on it but thought it might be worth mentioning it here.

    https://www.en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermilion_Bird

    http://www.elderthink.com/spirituality/astrology/chinese_astrology/vermilion-bird/vermilion-bird.php

  • Very interesting tale Jenny. I loved this story. It made me an impression how big and strong were the negative and dark forces that could swallow everything and nobody was able to win them. But with a single feather of Firebird was enough for our hero to win all this malice of the world.

    One more information to add. In Greek the name Vasilisa of the maiden means Queen. So probably that tale contains one more symbol of the Religion of Sun.

  • This was a very interesting read, and made me feel inspired to dig deeper into slavic myths and folk culture.

    It is fascinating to see how the Slavic myth of the firebird seems to combine many elements also found in other cultures connected to the Religion of the Sun that you noted, such as the world tree, the golden apples, the resurrecting bird, along with the journey of the hero to face many trials.

    These folk tales seem very valuable as a record of knowledge that is likely far older. I noticed that the Egyptians also have a bird deity called the Bennu which is connected with the sun and was described to have a cycle of death and rebirth – another interesting possible parallel that suggests very deep roots for this symbol.

  • Thanks Jenny, it’s great to see the deeper meanings to this myth all bound together. The mission to free the maiden, the wolf as guide, the trials, the fire element itself, and the way the hero realizes he needs the help of this magical bird to overcome the darkness all carry such powerful meaning for the spiritual work. This bringing together of myths is really powerful in helping me to start to see how ubiquitous the message of awakening really is.

  • Thanks for sharing this Jenny. It’s fascinating to learn about this symbolism from Slavic mythology and its clear relation to the path of the sun and the spiritual journey it entails. I like the poignant symbolism of the traditional story, and how only with the help of the divine feather could the hero defeat the darkness. The Slavic culture is not one we tend to be very familiar with in the West, but it seems there is much richness in the Slavic tradition so it’s nice to learn more about it and its connections to the Religion of the Sun.

  • That was nice to read Jenny. There certainly seem to be some ancient magical truths contained in Slavic folklore from what I’ve seen. Sometimes the connections to real meanings come through quite clearly, though many times it also seems to have been changed in the (possible many?) retellings. Then you’re left feeling there’s something there, but also that it doesn’t quite slot into the right place yet.
    But I think it’s very cool that the knowledge of the principles of the Religion of the Sun can possibly shed light on and allow sense to be made of fairy tales previously obscure.

    This particular symbol is interesting for me. It’s similar to a symbol I’ve been shown in dreams for many years. A symbol that I dubbed ‘birds of paradise’. However I couldn’t find it’s meaning from any outside sources of information. Sometimes the meaning can still be understood fairly logically or seeing it again in different contexts will unveil its meaning etc. But this one for me felt like a stretch to be able to figure out and actually didn’t know at all what it meant for many years. Only very recently was I able to figure it out.

    • It’s great that you figured it out! Sometimes the symbols of dreams can be really illusive: you know they’re a powerful message, but the meaning isn’t there. Congrats on sticking it out!

  • Thanks for sharing Jenny, the symbolism of the slavic firebird has a majestic message, reminiscent of other legends of heroes interacting courageously with magic or divine-like elements and conquering evil.

    It would be interesting to unravel other timeless stories of ancient folklore. Once upon a time they may have offered its young audiences some direction and clues surrounding mankind’s personal quest for the spiritual.

    • Agreed Olga,

      it would be interesting to unravel timeless stories of ancient folklore. They seem to carry far more meaning than the rubbish that’s getting sold to us today.

    • I wonder if there’s something about encoding the truth behind the soul’s journey and putting them in children’s myths that is a very genius way of feeding young minds and hearts this teaching, while they’re still so open to hearing it and feeling it.

      It’s probably not that it was intended to be this way, simply to become children’s myths, more that these epic stories of heroes on a quest become reduced to child’s play as adults forget the realness of the ‘fairytale’.

      • I found a while ago that artists and writers would take esoteric concepts, symbols and words and intersperse them within egotistical stories and paintings to evoke powerful emotions in people. This would add power to their work and how it was perceived.

        However there is a bizarre children’s cartoon from the 1980’s I watched as a child which seems to be rather confusing. It’s called ‘The Mysterious Cities of Gold’. On the surface it is full of symbolism from the religion of the sun with the main character being a child who commands the sun but doesn’t understand how or why. Every body is searching South America to find the ‘7 cities of gold’. They all claim to know it exists but don’t know how to find it. For some reason there are these mini documentaries at the end of each episode that talk about the incas and European voyages. In these documentaries they talk about sun worship as being the religion of the natives in South America and even have rather graphic depictions (considering it’s at the end of a children’s cartoon) and explanations about how pretty girls were drugged and sacrificed to the sun.

        It’s interesting they aimed that at children.

        • If that cartoon was made with some sort of agenda to try and influence people’s perception about cultures that venerated the sun in a negative way, starting to give that message to children would make it harder for people to shake off those ideas later in life definitely.

          It’s pretty sad that kids would be taught that “sun worship” is in any way related to things like human sacrifice through cartoons like that, as the wisdom bringers who shared the religion of the sun made it so clear that human sacrifice was totally against what they were teaching, and it’s just a few degenerated cultures that took over much older sites who have created that perception / association.

  • I’ve always loved the symbology of the Phoenix, so I think it’s great to see the Slavic Firebird now recognized here on this site.

    Interestingly there was a bird symbol called the Thunderbird prominently used by the Mississippian culture that occupied Cakohia and other mound sites in the USA’s midwest. While it doesn’t seem to have the same stories recorded that we have about the Phoenix and Firebird, it probably had meanings which are now lost. I went to a site with petroglyphs that had a few solar crosses alongside Thunderbirds and various other symbols.

    • Good to hear of a parallel myth in Americas. The Phoenix myth (I had a quick look and it seems it was of Greek origin) was very ingrained in my childhood too, and was a story I remember vividly – maybe something in me recognized the power behind the symbolism.

  • The mention of golden apples makes me think of all the times they appear in various mythologies, as well as fairy tales.

    When I was little my mother would play a tape with fairytales in the car to entertain me. One of my favorite fairytales was “the princess on the glass hill.” A princess is sitting on top of a glass mountain with three golden apples in her lap. But no one can reach her. Only one man is able to reach the top, first on a bronze horse, then on a silver, and finally on a gold horse in gold armor.

    I loved it so much as a child, perhaps because of the horses and beautiful imagery.

    Here is a version of it in English
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkVTd7N1Mp4

    • That was a nice fairy-tale Anne Linn! And quite symbolic too, isn’t it? I think I have heard something like that before in some other fairy-tales, especially about 3 different horses/armors, and also how the one who is ridiculed a lot and looks simple on the surface, eventually wins. 🙂

    • I read that fairytale recently Anne Linn and it’s really nice. I’m quite intrigued by the copper, silver and gold items or places, always appearing in this order, featured in very many old fairy tales. In one tale it was bridges the hero must cross and fight a beast on each, in a few it’s been forests he must pass through and again fight a beast that lives in each and ‘owns’ them, also there’s one that has different versions of it, where the hero goes to the underworld and discovers a copper, silver and golden castle, with a maiden in each, and he has to fight a monster in each I think to rescue the maidens.

      And also in this story where he goes to the underworld, he takes the maiden or maidens with him back to the upper world, but his brothers or companions who first draw the maidens up, then betray him and leave him trapped below. He wanders around for some time, until he comes to an eagle’s nest (in one version), he rescues the eagle’s chicks from being eaten by a snake, and the eagle then out of gratitude takes him back to the upper world. His companions meanwhile pretend they’re the ones who’ve performed his heroic deeds and are going to marry the maidens, but in the end the hero is able prove himself.

      It often feels like there is something true behind the symbolism of old fairy tales but it’s hard to piece together. Nevertheless, it’s like some leave me with a feeling of having touched something deep and ancient.

      • I feel that too Laura. That there is something beautiful and even magical to many of the fairytales, even though we don’t quite understand their meaning. Another favorite of mine is East of the Sun and West of the Moon. About a beautiful princess who is taken away by a big polar bear, who is really the king of the summer country. Here’s a version of it, though it’s missing some parts. Like the wreath of gold that the white bear gives her. And of course the girls two ugly sisters.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El_KZaYiwPY

        Here’s the trailer for the movie that was made of it. (Though it makes me cringe a bit lol). I remember watching it as a child.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JuHoZ5RLuY

  • I love the transformative power of the Light and Sun, really well depicted in the video.

    That was very enjoyable, Jenny. I like the similarities that you bring to our attention with tales from
    other cultures and times. Lots of symbology in the imagery, it is so well done here. Yet simple.

    We really more of these kinds of stories being told more often.

    Thanks Jenny.

  • I was thinking also about Phoenix in the past and if it is connected with the spirituality of the Sun/Son. Great to hear that there is a connection with the Firebird which btw I didn’t know that existed in Slavic folklore

    Τhank you for finding and bring it up, Jenny

  • Thanks Jenny for finding solar roots of the firebird. I had thought about it as a solar symbol quite a few times, but was always swayed by elements that I did not understand (i.e. the violent capture – often using food or play). It’s encouraging to hear that there are roots to this mythical bird that do correlate to the sun and makes me think about other mythical creatures and elements of folk tales (such as those from Pushkin) that may have a solar origin.

    • Hi Alex,

      I’ve thought about the means of the capture of the bird as well. It does seem a bit “off” to me in some of the tales. It’s hard to know for sure of course, but my feeling is that it’s an aspect of mythology that might have gotten distorted over time, similar to other mythologies from other parts of the world that have their roots in the ancient religion of the sun but which have come to contain tales not in accordance with its principles (for example, the Mahabharata or the Eddas).

      Some of the original tales might have been a bit different — for example the version of a Firebird story Anne Linn posted here in the comments about the man who heard the song of the Firebird and was deeply inspired by it seems a version of mythology that doesn’t involve any trickery or the capture of the bird itself.

      • Hi Alex and Jenny,

        I’m not familiar with the Firebird legend myself, but perhaps the trickery and capture in some versions of the story could be related to the betrayal of the Christ during the spring equinox.

      • I agree Jenny that the capture of the bird (particularly the ‘violent’ way portrayed in the cartoon) seems to be a distortion of the tale, and possibly due to simple mis-translation. I figured that the original texts/stories used words like ‘attained’ or ‘drew close to’ or ‘acquired’ rather than more aggressive ‘taking’ or ‘capturing’.

        Regarding the spiritual texts that have the roots of the ancient sun removed: I’ve been looking at the folklore of the Australian Aboriginals trying to see if there’s any sun related stories, but the sad truth is that the *one* story will have so many variants that to pick out the root thread is beyond me! eg. The Rainbow Serpent stories (wikipedia) clearly have spiritual roots, but strangely the root itself seems different from telling to telling, sometimes mentioning the Creator, sometimes the Mother, sometimes the egos.

        It goes to show how valuable the work being done to thread all this spiritual sun information together is — so thanks everyone working on it!

  • Thank you for the deeper research into this beautiful symbol Jenny, especially in relation to the spirituality of the Sun.

    I find that Russian folktale cartoon very interesting in the sense that the hero was not able to overcome the darkness on his own, no matter how hard he tried, but only with the help of the fiery bird, the feather of which turned into a sword of light. That, and the fact how this bird is often depicted in a female form, reminds me of the fiery energy of kundalini that is also connected to the spiritual mother, without whom it is impossible to get rid of some deeper negative states within us.

    What I also like about this legend is how beautiful it feels somehow, the decorative pictures of it, the blazing fire one can only imagine when reading about the descriptions of the bird, and everything surrounding it evokes this sense of “fiery beauty”. 🙂

    • Jordan mentioned to me after I started writing about this that you also brought up the Firebird in another discussion earlier — seems we’re often onto the same ideas 🙂

      It’s a beautiful symbol. I felt drawn towards it for some time, just seeing it a lot in embroidery, and of course from childhood memories (there was a popular bedtime soviet TV show that had a song about catching the Firebird’s feather I watched daily as a child which stuck with me mentally 🙂 ), but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon a reference about it nesting in the World Tree recently that I decided to have a look into the actual mythology surrounding it. I was really surprised how solar the Firebird is!

      • Hi Jenny,

        I agree it is intriguing about often stumbling upon similar things! 🙂 Sometimes I think that some things are “in the air” somehow at certain times, and those who are tuned in can catch them. It is also very interesting how you spotted that little note under that embroidery image in the video. I have never noticed it before either, as it is so low that its often covered up by the bottom bar of the video. But now I had a closer look, and it was nice to read that writing in Russian. So many references to the spirituality of the Sun are still out there! Preserved in these folk tales, art and legends even after all those centuries… And it makes sense too, because if the spirituality of the Sun was once so global and ever-present for such a long time, then it can’t be so easily erased, even though of course massive efforts have been done to do just that.

        My interest in the firebird was sparkled after seeing a beautiful video that accompanies this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeHIsLvd90s. There are so many paintings of firebirds in that video, including the embroidery you talked about, that I could not but notice it. Also the fact that the author of the video connected this hymn to the Sun with this particular bird just stood out to me. I haven’t made a detailed research of it, but still managed to see how this myth is related to the spirituality of the sun, especially after watching an inspiring ballet that depicts the story of the firebird (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0MpwTEkzqQ). It struck me how in that ballet, the whole story happens under a tree. Now after your research I know what tree is that, even though I did suspect that it may be the famous tree from the garden of Eden. Interestingly, some sources say there are two trees, one is the tree of life, and another one the tree of good and evil, while others say its the same tree (depending how we look at it and how it is “used” I guess…). Another thing that struck me in the ballet was how the couple holds a monstrance high at the end, and there also appears a gate with the sun symbol throughout the performance.

        • I’ll have to watch that ballet sometime — sounds interesting. I did watch the song video and the Firebird paintings in it are really lovely. The chorus of it is very popular to sing Russia btw (and maybe there are equivalents in other Slavic cultures) during the lighting of big ceremonial bonfires.

  • I love how one feather from the Firebird turns into a sword of light, to help the hero fight all those dragons. Such beautiful symbology.

    Some time ago I started reading a book where the main character came across a beautiful bird whose song was so lovely that he would go through his entire life longing to hear it again. The song gave him the strength to fight the evil he was facing. I believe that bird was a Firebird. I think it was a retelling of the tale of Prince Ivan and the Grey Wolf.

    Thanks Jenny 🙂

    • The symbology regarding the feather and the sword stood out for me too. This Slavic folklore and its symbols are incredibly beautiful as well as the images you have chosen for this article Jenny.

      It’s amazing how similar it is to the Egyptian, Persian and Greek mythologies. It makes me wonder about the roles of other ancient legendary creatures such as the griffin.

      • Yes, the subject of the Firebird made me very curious about the many other legendary “creatures” in these myths.

        I learned about the Firebird seemingly by chance. I was looking at some embroidery of a Firebird briefly featured in the Mother Lada song video from AuraMira that I posted about a few weeks ago. At around the 3:25 minute mark in that video there is a picture of this Firebird embroidery and the caption underneath it says “The Firebird made a nest in the World Tree” — it was such a tiny reference that I hadn’t noticed it before despite having seen the video many times, but the connection with the World Tree jumped out at me as interesting, so I decided to look up what Russian mythology has to say about the Firebird (since it’s a very prominent symbol used in children’s tales, and is also very commonly used in traditional embroidery, etc.). I was really surprised that such a clear link to the ancient religion of the sun survived with these traditional tales, especially with the life cycle of the Firebird being connected with the solstices and equinoxes.

        But all that came about from just being curious about one piece of embroidery 🙂 It made me wonder how much more ancient knowledge is imbued everywhere around. Would be amazing to explore the many other mythological creatures in various cultures and see what they might represent.

    • That’s such a beautiful story, Anne Linn. Seems there are many interesting stories about prince Ivan that have a deeper meaning.

  • Wow. The story of Ivan and the video has some very powerful imagery. If only Disney and Hanna-Barbera (now part of Warner Bros) would’ve made cartoons like this!

    I couldn’t help but notice the similarities, even when reading the title of this post, between the Firebird symbolism and the Phoenix, rising from the ashes.

    • Hi Craig,

      I find it interesting there’s ancient mythology about birds related to the sun, like the Phoenix, the Simurgh, the Firebird, etc. They’re not all the same, and not all of the myths have as clear a (surviving?) link to the ancient religion of the sun as the Firebird, for example, but the prevalence of them in ancient folklore around the world seems very interesting.

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