Symbols

Vermilion Bird of the South

南方朱雀 · [ dnánfāng zhūqiǎo ]

The vermilion bird of the South is one of the five heavenly beasts, one of the fundamental symbols in the Taoist cosmology and the five elements. The constellation of the South represents summer, fire and vigor –  it embodies a strong yang energy. According to the legend, the vermilion bird was born in a vermilion cave at the South Pole, before he was worshiped as the constellation and as the king of the feathered.

The vermilion bird of the South is often compared with the phoenix (fènghuáng) or even equated – however their relation is more  vicariously. As one of the five celestial animals the vermilion bird stands for the cosmic principle, the phoenix represents rather an earthly variant of this idea. Their symbolic meaning is nevertheless (or just therefore) very similar. Like the phoenix, the vermilion bird is full of elegance and beauty and represents the five human qualities: virtue, duty, ritually correct behavior, humanity and reliability. It is regarded as a guarantee for favorable opportunities and financial success. Simultaneously it stands for energy, fire, zest for action and public reputation. The bird evokes the feelings of joy and confidence. Like any winged creature it embodies freedom, overview, self-confidence, ease and spontaneity.

 

> Usage of the symbol

The five celestial beasts are very powerful. As a representative of the South and the element fire the vermilion bird is best placed in the South quadrant of your home. For more tips pleas look up the articles fire and South.

For more information about the five elements/phases and the five celestial animals please read the article:
> Five elements

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