Horus, Phoenix and Bennu – the Great Birds
Leonardo wrote the majority of his journals using mirror writing (Appendix 12) which leads us to apply the mirror in learning more about his paintings. When Mona Lisa del Prado is tripled with a mirror, a figure of a bird is formed at the crux. We know many symbolic accounts of the use the bird: in Egypt, Horus assumed the form of the Hawk and the Bible describes Cherubs as part eagle. The most well-known symbolic bird, however, must be the phoenix, symbolizing rebirth. It is also equal with the Egyptian symbol called Bennu-bird (Pinch, 2002).
Image 11. Mona Lisa del Prado mirrored and large bird highlighted
Phoenix (Egyptian Bennu)
The Phoenix is a universal symbol of death, rebirth, and of the Sun. The mythological phoenix is usually portrayed as an eagle-like bird rising from the flames. In this context, why not look at Mona Lisa’s arms once again, as the flames.
In the Egyptian Book of the Dead the phoenix appears, when the main character Ani reaches the point of immortality. This is after the weighting of the heart (which is symbolically equal to baptism of water, washing away one’s sin) and wandering in the Lake of Fire (the baptism of fire). Phoenix is the soul of an ordinary man, who has proceeded with the Day and symbolically transformed into the light or lamb (see e.g. John the Baptist in the Bible).
Horus the Hawk
As the phoenix is the end of the story, another central Egyptian symbolic tale begins with Horus the hawk. Horus was an Egyptian God, and as part of the Egyptian Holy Trinity (Mano Pantea), Horus is the Child of Osiris (the Father) and Isis (the Mother). Actually, there are two different accounts of Horus in ancient Egyptian tales – the Elder and the Younger. (Pinch, 2002)
Image 12. Left: Cow Mehet Weret (Eng. Great Flood) Right: Symbol four-circle-flower
The first form of Horus which is introduced in the Egyptian order of creation is called Horus the Elder. In this form, Horus is the god of light and husband to Hathor (Pinch, 2002). Hathor is a goddess who takes the form of a loving cow. Pursuing this link between Horus and the celestial cow, we might look at Spell 17 in the Egyptian Book of the Dead (Faulkner, 2011). The eyes of Horus the Elder are said to be the Sun and the Moon respectively. Spell 17 describes also how Horus receives his all-seeing-eye from the celestial cow and Thoth, who is also known as the god of the Moon. The cow is covered by the same symbolic flower consisting of four circles which we find on Mona Lisa’s chest (Image 12 & 19). The same geometric symbol is also exhibited on the body of the newly-born Phoenix-bird (Image 72).
The second form of Horus is called Horus the Younger. In this form, Horus is depicted as wearing the twin-crown of Egypt. (Pinch, 2002) Horus is reborn as Son of God: the crown symbolizes his ability to reunite the kingdom, and of therefore achieving a universal balance. Horus the Younger is sometimes described as a very young child whom Isis is nursing. This symbolic tale is very similar to that of Jesus as a child with his mother Mary.
In both forms, Horus is represented by a falcon with the all-seeing-eye. And as he is the balance, he represents the both aspects of Cosmos, masculinity and femininity – the Sun and the Moon. He is the child in which all the elements are united. He has been baptized with water (white crown of the South) and with fire (red crown of the North).
A big bird like that which is found in the Mona Lisa, together with the all-seeing-eye, are featured on the American one-dollar bill. Once upon a time, this bird used to be phoenix, but later it became an eagle. In all cases, the bird symbolizes rebirth, of burning our evil thoughts away, and the establishment of a virgin foundation. When symbolic spiritual Father (= the Truth, the Knowledge) enters the human mind, there is no room for beliefs anymore: the knowledge of the Absolute Truth has raised the mind into complete consciousness. This is the process and the foundation, which 4000 years ago was known as Horus the Hawk in Egypt and 2000 years later, Jesus Christ.8
8 There is no difference between Horus and Jesus, thus they are the same Son of God. A fish, which is the symbol of Jesus is the symbol of one’s ability to control the subconscious (such as Superego, Id) and correspondingly a hawk is the symbol of one’s ability to control the conscious mind (such as Memory, Creativity).