|The Bennu bird serves as the Egyptian
correspondence to the phoenix, and
is said to be the soul of the Sun-God
Ra. Some of the
titles of the Bennu bird were He
Who Came Into Being by Himself,
Ascending One, and Lord
of Jubilees. The name is related
to the verb weben, meaning
to rise brilliantly, or
to shine. The Bennu bird
was the mythological phoenix of Egypt.
It was associated with the rising
of the Nile, resurrection, and the
sun. Because the Bennu represented
creation and renewal, it was connected
with the Egyptian calendar. Indeed,
the Temple of the Bennu was well known
for its time-keeping devices.
According to ancient Egyptian myth, the Bennu had created
itself from a fire that was burned on a holy tree in one of
the sacred precincts of the temple of Ra.
Other versions say that the Bennu bird burst forth from the
heart of Osiris. The Bennu was supposed
to have rested on a sacred pillar that was known as the benben-stone.
The Egyptian priests showed this pillar to visitors, who considered
it the most holy place on earth. The Bennu was pictured as
a grey, purple, blue, or white heron with a long beak and
a two-feathered crest. Occasionally the Bennu was depicted
as a yellow wagtail, or as an eagle with feathers of red and
gold. In rare instances the Bennu was pictured as a man with
the head of a heron, wearing a white or blue mummy dress under
a transparent long coat. The Bennu was considered the soul
of the god Atum, Ra,
The Book of the Dead says,
I am the Bennu bird, the Heart-Soul of Ra,
the Guide of the Gods to the Tuat.
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