Coming in just behind the eagle in the popularity ranks is the phoenix tattoo. Perhaps the phoenix is better known as the bird of fire. This originates from an age old story from Greek mythology. The phoenix is said to of lived for 500 years. A few short days before its death, the phoenix made itself a nest from aromatic twigs. The bird then sets fire to the nest and goes down in flames. 3 days after its death it is believed that the phoenix reappears from the ashes and is reborn. This is where the phrase “Phoenix from the ashes” originates.
In different cultures the phoenix has varying meanings. In Asia it is believed that it is the bird of virtue and grace. The phoenix plays a huge part in Chinese mythology, it is believed to be the second most important player, second only to the dragon.
Tattoos with meaning change over the course of time. What the phoenix once meant as a tattoo probably does not ring true now. In fact it is very difficult to put a meaning to this bird as over time it has had so many. However, there is one theme that has remained a constant throughout the journey.