I have tried to write about phoenix so many times and faltered mid-essay. I've laid outlines on paper, summarized my research, half-finished draft after half-finished draft... explanation, defense, so much theory and detached exposition.
It's not working. I've attempted this for a year, two years--and it sits unfinished every single time.
Maybe I'm going at it the wrong way. Let's try again at 2:30 in the morning.
Phoenix is this ephemeral force, an energy that is felt rather than seen, impossible to simply dissect. There is a timelessness to phoenix, of being outside of time, and thus linear time is meaningless because I/the world/existence is cyclic, spiraling, a burning helix...
When I heal, I am phoenix. When I mediate conflict, I am phoenix. It is a role, or a description of a role, as much as it is a quality of spirit. Healer-Diplomat, a fire that cleanses and purifies, illuminating, yet intensifying shadow. Eastern (and Middle Eastern) culture is strong here, elements of Chinese feng-huang, Japanese ho-ou, perhaps even Persian huma or, yes, Mediterranean phoenix-- social tendency, consciousness, time sense.
And controlled--a tight focus--quiet intensity of mind and soul so rarely unveiled to blazing glory. There is an element of solitude to phoenix, even as it is adept at connectivity: each connection, action, reaction is moderated and calculated. I am connected, yet held apart; touching skin, touching minds, yet a membrane of discipline separates hearts and souls.
Phoenix is a controlled burn. I do not blaze unending, nor unguarded; if I burn before my time, before my nest of cinnamon and myrrh is complete, before the cycle has come to its apex, there is no rebirth. Cannot burn too hot or two cold either--each release, opening, blazing is carefully chosen. Precise. A directed wildfire to burn away dead tinder, one that if it got out of control could prove destructive rather than beneficial.
Blazing out phoenix is like taking the lampshade off my aura--a forceful exhalation of breath and the silver/copper/solar flare whooshes out around me, vague bird-shape in whitegold light, corona of my soul-sun. The connection to sky fire burns blinding-bright at these times; I am a lighthouse, my focus even more intense; I radiate heat. It is the badge of my Self, my role, my ba.
My ba, the eternal part of myself, my soul: this carries the essence of phoenix. This is what reincarnates. Hawk is now, is spirit, ka, this-life, present-moment. Phoenix is always, every-time, forever. TIme means little to hawk, for only now exists. Time means little to phoenix, for all points in time overlap, intertwine, are one.
Phoenix dances words, relationships, the rise and fall of cultures. Phoenix is the subtle sensing of relationship dynamics, social fencing, the minute shifts of interaction. I am phoenix when I mediate between friends, clients, lovers--when I pour tea for a teary-eyed neighbor asking me for advice on a love triangle--when I ask questions that succeed in getting a mental health client to rethink her assumptions--
And lest you think this is all glamour and benefit, know this: phoenix is, many times, too tightly controlled, erring on the side of self-suffocation. Too careful of boundaries, erring on the side of isolation. Too high-context, impairing and slowing communication in a low-context culture like the modern West. Sometimes, when it is time to burn, I cannot loosen control enough to let the long-stoked embers breathe into flame, and need another's intensity to light my nest.
Sometimes I am a creature of pride and paradox. I fear change, yet I crave it. I desire order, yet need chaos. I am a dynamic creature that too often goes static. I need connection with others, yet keep my core apart from all. Balance is more important than anything, yet my balance is and must be a precarious, active balance, so difficult to maintain.
Cycles, sunflare, moonfire, controlled burning, brightness in a laser focus, active balance, healer, diplomat. Phoenix. I feel as though my attempts to describe and explain have only muddled the issue further, but clear-cut attempts have failed, so this disjointed rambling is the best I can do.
This is what phoenix, being phoenix, is for me, and that's all I can explain.