January 30, 2018

Phoenix — Simurgh — Huma or Homa — سيمرغ — هما — Iranian legends consider the bird so old that it has seen the destruction of the world three times over and has learned so much by living so long that it is thought to possess the knowledge of all the ages. The phoenix famously plunges itself into flames before arising again. The simurgh purifies land and waters and hence bestows fertility. The bird represents the union between the Earth and the sky, serving as mediator and messenger between the two. The simurgh roosts 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 are deposited on it. When the simurgh takes flight, the leaves of the tree of life shake, 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 mankind. The calligraphy of this image is in Persian (Farsi) and reads اين نيز بگذرد translated as “This too shall pass” a phrase popularized by the Sufi poets of Nishapur, Iran from the 9th century CE onwards. This piece is available as a print. Calligraphy design by Stewart J. Thomas.