Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Molefi Kete Asante
Animals and birds have been regarded in African religion and philosophy as teachers of wisdom and knowledge for a long time. In ancient Egypt, especially at the sacred city of On, the Benu bird, known in Greek times as the phoenix, was closely related to the benben stone, which was known by the Greeks as the obelisk. The benben stone was associated with the supreme deity in its Ra and Atum manifestations, and therefore rituals were developed that projected the ability of the benben to rise (the verb in ancient Mdw Ntr, weben) above circumstances. Indeed, the Greek word phoenix comes into being long after the Egyptian use of the Benu bird to reflect this activity related to One ...