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Phoenix Rising

June 21, 2011

Phoenix Rising by Leah McNeir
“Phoenix Rising” Fine Art Print by Leah McNeir

The Phoenix is a legendary mythical bird that appears in one form or another in the lore of multiple ancient cultures such as in Egyptian, Chinese, Persian, Greek, Roman and Phoenician tales to name a few. The phoenix at the end of one life cycle builds a nest that bursts into flame, consuming both the bird and nest in fire and reducing them to ashes. From these ashes a young phoenix or egg emerges, renewed and reborn to live once again. Considered benevolent, sacred, and magical, it was often depicted as a beautiful and powerful  bird, a fire spirit, a free spirited being who was an allegorical or symbolic embodiment of the concepts of beauty, virtue, triumph over adversity, resurrection, rebirth, immortality and renewal. The word ‘Phoenix’ is derived from the Greek word for ‘red’, which also associates it with the Sun.

Phoenix Rising shirt
Phoenix Rising T-shirts and Hoodies


I made this piece last year, for my brother Greg while he was in physical therapy after his long stay in the hospital’s ICU. He was the Phoenix. He went through so damn much throughout his short life and still bloomed into a vibrant loving man. Though we all have our struggles, he remained generous of spirit and goodhearted in spite of things that could have made him entirely bitter. He  looked death directly in the face, and by some miracle survived against all odds. His journey from the edge of death back to life was incredibly & deeply at times terrifying and heartbreaking while at other times moving, utterly amazing & inspirational. I created this for him, as a reminder of the trials he had been through in the context of seeing how he rose above them and had the potential to rise above other, or future, hurdles. It was meant to be a reminder to him of his strength, perseverance and endurance as well as a symbol of hope and possibility for his future. It was also a cathartic process for myself to make this for him during that time.
Phoenix Rising-closeup-Leah McNeir 2010
On this summer solstice, the most luminous day of the year, i’ve decided to publish this piece in his memory and honor. Though now he is no longer with us physically, i believe that this was just another transformation, a rebirth of a different sort.  I also post this as a tribute to those of us left behind- for my brother Ryan especially, our extended family, Greg’s friends and loved ones, and all those who have been through hard times and are on the path of being ‘reborn’ and rising to new heights with the hard fought wisdom in hand that comes from struggling and enduring…

To you i say~

Rise, phoenix.

"Phoenix Rising" stickers by Leah McNeir“Phoenix Rising” Stickers

One Comment leave one →
  1. Kit permalink
    June 21, 2011 6:38 pm

    All I can say is…….Perfect !

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