What is the Bennu? The Egyptian meaning of the Bennu is purple heron, as well as, Palm tree. This bird is associated with the Phoenix and its legend is associated with the Bennu. The Bennu bird, resembling the heron, has red and golden plumage and is the sacred bird of Heliopolis. It also has a long straight back with two erect feathers on top of its head and is believed to have other interpretations such as the reincarnation of the Gods Ra and Osiris. Heliopolis is referred to as the City of the Sun and is known as one of the oldest Egyptian cities.
The ancient Egyptians believed the Bennu created itself from a fire that burned upon a holy tree in the temple of Ra and yet others believed that it exploded from the heart of Orisis. The Egyptians believed this bird to be sacred and that it arose regularly to renew Egypt. Like the Phoenix, the Bennu is thought to have been self created and that it was born in an untraditional manner experiencing death and regeneration.
The Bennu is believed to originate from Egypt or Arabia and is said to spend the majority of its life in Phoenicia. According to legend and that on the Metternich Stele (also known as a large block of stone), Isis told Horus, “Thou are the Great Bennu who was born on the incense tree in the House of the Great Prince of Heliopolis.”
The Egyptians believed that the Bennu’s cry started the cycle of time, and that made it divinely appointed. The Egyptians also believed that there is a spell from the Book of the Dead that allows the transformation into a Phoenix or Bennu. In the Book of the Dead, one can find the following statement, “I am the Bennu bird, the Heart-Soul of Ra, the Guide of the Gods to the Tuat.” The ancient Egyptians believed this statement to be true.
Some titles associated with the Bennu are: “He Who Came Into Being by Himself,” and “Lord of Jubilees.” The Bennu is considered to be the mythological Phoenix of Egypt and has connection to the rising of the Nile.
The ancient Egyptians used the Temple of Bennu in order to keep up with time. The Egyptians also believed that the Bennu bird flew over the waters of Nun before its original creation and that it sat upon the mound Benben or ‘House of the Obelisk.’ The Bennu first was represented by a Wagtail, which is a small bird that has a long tail and wags regularly; however, eventually it took on the appearance of the Heron. The bird’s image is carved on Scarab beetles, which are beetles that were worshipped by ancient Egyptians and were used for the preservation of the body to make certain that the departed would pass the test of Two Truths and thus enter heaven.
In conclusion, the Bennu is a beautiful mythical bird, derived from the Phoenix that was believed to have overwhelming powers and the ability to resurrect itself. The ancient Egyptians believed this bird to be sacred and the soul of Ra. According to the Ancient Egyptians, the pillar on which the bird sits is considered to be the holiest place on earth.