The Symbolism of Phoenix: Simurgh vs. Phoenix

simurgh vs phoenix

My spirit animal is a phoenix.

I call him anqa, and the analog motif I like most is the Simurgh between all because of my connection to my land.

If you have never heard the legend of Simurgh, come closer and drink this story and let it sink into your inner self.

Then witness what its message for you is.

If you are interested in phoenix, then this article would get your interest as well. So feel free to enjoy:

What is the ultimate meaning of the Simurgh?

Simurgh is related to the phoenix in Persian culture.

It is known as Anka or Zumrudu Anka in those cultures that are being affected by Islam.

It is a massive creature with the feather of peacock, Lion claw, head of a dog, and wings.

Sometimes it is also described with the face of a human.

The Simurgh (also spelled Simoorg, Simorq, Simourv, Simorgh, or Simorg) means thirty birds in the Persian language (‘si’ representing thirty and ‘murgh’ meaning birds).

This bird is so old that it has all the information of all ages and has seen the destruction of the Earth three times.

Simurgh was able to think and speak like a human and was very wise.

He was giving consultancy to kings.

According to legends, he was living on the top of the Qaf mountain. Mount Qaf is a legendary mountain in the popular mythology of the Middle East.

In Islamic tradition, Mount Qaf is the homeland of the jinn and was made out of shining emerald by God.

He lived in a mansion-like nest with poles made of ebony, sandalwood, and gall.

It was so big that the sky was getting dark when he was flying, and it looked like a vast cloud.

The Simurgh was purifying the land and waters and hence bestowed fertility.

The creature represented the union between the Earth and the sky, serving as a mediator and messenger.

The Simurgh roosted in Gaokerena, the Hōm (Avestan: Haoma) Tree of Life, which stands in the middle of the world sea (Vourukasha).

The plant is potent medicine and is called all-healing, and the seeds of all plants deposit on it.

When the Simurgh took flight, the leaves of the tree of life shook, making all the seeds of every plant fall out.

These seeds floated around the world on the winds of Vayu-Vata and the rains of Tishtrya, in cosmology taking root to become every type of plant that ever lived and curing all the illnesses of humanity.

What does Simurgh represent and symbolize?

Simorgh symbolizes the God in the Sufi poem Ferîdüddîn-i Attâr’s work; Mantiq-al-Tayr (The Conference of the Birds).

It symbolized abstinent in the epic Shahnameh.

Who wrote the story of Simurgh?

Sufi poem Ferîdüddîn-i Attâr’s wrote the story of Simurgh in Mantiq-al-Tayr (The Conference of the Birds).

Simorgh also plays a vital role in the verse epic Shahnameh, which contains the stories of Iranian kings and heroes.

What is the story behind the Phoenix Simurgh in the verse epic Shahnameh?

When Zal was born with white hair, his father was afraid, thinking it would bring bad luck.

So he left the baby alone outside.

Simurgh saved the kid and took care of him.

When he grew, he became a hero, and Simorgh brought him back to his father to unite.

When he was leaving, Simorgh gave one of his feathers to Zal, saying that he just needed to burn it when he needed help so that Simorgh would come back.

Years later, when Zal needed help for his wife, he burned the feather, and Simurgh came and helped his wife give birth.

It symbolized abstinent.

What is the conference of the birds about?

Conference of birds is a Persian Simurgh poem by Sufi poet Faridud-Din Attar, commonly known as Attar of Nishapur.

The title is taken directly from the Qur’an, 27:16, where Sulayman (Solomon) and Dāwūd (David) are said to have been taught the language, or speech, of the birds (manṭiq al-ṭayr).

The conference of the birds summary: What happens in the conference of the birds?

Simurgh, which was reborn from its ashes by burning in its fire, lived in the branches of the Tree of Knowledge and knew everything.

Birds believe in Simurgh and think that he will save them.

They believe that Simurghwill finds a solution to everything that goes wrong.

However, as long as Simurghdid not appear, the birds stopped waiting and finally gave up hope.

One day, a flock of birds found a feather from Simurgh’s wing and called to other birds.

All the birds in the world who heard the call and believed that Simurgh existed gathered together.

Together, they decided to go before him and ask for help in the guidance of the bird Hudhud (hoopoe), the king of the birds.

Hudhud was, according to the Quran, the messenger, and envoy of the Prophet Sulayman.

The birds set out to seek Simurg under Hudhud’s guidance.

But over time, they got tired and started to make excuses for Hudhud. Hudhud gave correct and convincing answers to all of them and explained the extraordinary features and beauties of Simurgh.

However, Simurgh’s home was on top of Mount Qaf.

Moreover, to get there, it was necessary to cross seven different valleys, each more difficult than the other, with a different emotion hidden in each.

The birds started their journey by flying towards the sky together.

Those with little will and determination poured out on the road one by one.

Some got tired, fell, and gave up while passing through the valleys.

First, nightingale remembered rose’s love for him and said, “If she gets sad, I will die,” and he returned from her longing.

However, his longing for the rose would never end.

The parrot said, “I have gorgeous feathers. Flying this much makes them old; I can’t help my feathers,” and stopped flying.

And because of their beautiful feathers, they were always kept in cages and spent their lives in cells.

The eagle could not leave his kingdom on high.

The owl missed its ruins.

The heron bird missed its swamp.

In each valley, a trap of emotion discouraged some birds from the journey, and they returned.

As they flew over the valleys, the number of birds gradually decreased. Finally, when they reached Mount Qaf, thirty birds remained.

They looked; neither the Tree of Knowledge nor Simurgh were there.

They understood that the real journey was a journey to oneself.

The savior wise bird was the bird that crossed these seven valleys, and they understood that;

Each one is a Simurgh!

What are the seven valleys in Conference of the Birds?

In Sholeh Wolpé’s translation of the conference of the birds, these seven valleys are as such:

1. Valley of the Quest, where the Wayfarer begins by casting aside all dogma, belief, and unbelief.

2. Valley of Love, where reason is abandoned for the sake of love.

3. Valley of Knowledge, where worldly knowledge becomes utterly useless.

4. Valley of Detachment, where all desires and attachments to the world are given up. Here, what is assumed to be “reality” vanishes.

5. Valley of Unity, where the Wayfarer realizes that everything is connected and that the Beloved is beyond everything, including harmony, diversity, and eternity.

6. Valley of Wonderment, where, entranced by the beauty of the Beloved, the Wayfarer becomes perplexed and, steeped in awe, finds that they have never known or understood anything.

7. Valley of Poverty and Annihilation, where the self disappears into the universe, and the Wayfarer becomes timeless, existing in the past and the future.

The Conference of the birds quotes

“If Simorgh unveils its face to you, you will find

that all the birds, be they thirty or forty or more,

are but the shadows cast by that unveiling.

What shadow is ever separated from its maker?

Do you see?

The shadow and its makers are the same,

so get over surfaces and delve into mysteries”

“The Beginning is lost;

the End stretches into eternity.

Don’t bother with them, they’re all irrelevant.

And since all is really nothing,

then nothing is; indeed everything.”

“When they had understood the hoopoe’s words,

A clamor of complaint rose from the birds:

‘Although we recognize you as our guide,

You must accept – it cannot be denied –

We are a wretched, flimsy crew at best,

And lack the bare essentials for this quest.

Our feathers and our wings, our bodies’ strength

Are quite unequal to the journey’s length;

For one of us to reach the Simorgh’s throne

Would be miraculous, a thing unknown.

[…] He seems like Solomon, and we like ants;

How can mere ants climb from their darkened pit

Up to the Simorgh’s realm? And is it fit

That beggars try the glory of a king?

However, could they manage such a thing?’

The hoopoe answered them: ‘How can love thrive

in hearts impoverished and half alive?

“Beggars,” you say – such niggling poverty

Will not encourage truth or charity.

A man whose eyes love opens risks his soul –

His dancing breaks beyond the mind’s control.

[…] Your heart is not a mirror-bright and clear

If there the Simorgh’s form does not appear;

No one can bear His beauty face to face,

And for this reason, of His perfect grace,

He makes a mirror in our hearts – look there

To see Him, search your hearts with anxious care.”

“It was in China, late one moonless night,

The Simorgh first appeared to mortal sight –

He let a feather float down through the air,

And rumors of its fame spread everywhere…”

What is the message of the Conference of the Birds?

The hoopoe, the guiding bird in “The Conference of the Birds,” symbolizes a Sufi mentor, and the valleys represent the spiritual levels that the Sufi is supposed to pass through.

Each of the other birds represents various human characteristics.

For example, the nightingale represents someone who is possessed by worldly things and forgets their creator.

The parrot clings to worldly goods in fear of death.

The peacock is obsessed with the piece and misses the whole.

The partridge cannot reach its main goal due to its worldly ambitions.

Moreover, the story shows us that the actual journey is the journey to oneself.

Simurgh is somehow symbolized with God, and where one can find God is in the heart of its own.

As the hadith shows us:

“I did not fit in the universe, in the sky, but the heart of the believer.”



It is hard to explain what Simurgh means or the message of the conference of birds.

Because there is never one.

When you read them, be aware of the coincidences around you.

Today I joined a group reading Fusus al-Hikam from Ibn Arabi, and there a sentence from the chapter “of the sublime wisdom in the world of Ismael” just reminded me of Simurgh:

“Know that He who is called Allah is One in the Essence and all by his names, and all conditioned being is only attached (as such) to God by his own Lord (Rabb) exclusively: for its impossible that the totality (of the names of the divine aspects) correspond to a particular being. “

Fusus al-Hikam, Ibn Arabi

That is why Simurgh represents 30 birds, maybe.

Life is a journey of getting closer to the One until there is no anything called One anymore.

If you liked this article, get a look at other articles related to the symbolism of the phoenix:

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