In Slavic folklore, the firebird is described “as a large bird with majestic plumage that glows brightly emitting red, orange, and yellow light, like a bonfire that is just past the turbulent flame. The feathers do not cease glowing if removed, and one feather can light a large room if not concealed.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firebird_(Slavic_folklore)]
The iconic firebird has inspired many literary and musical works as well as Igor Stravinsky’s ballet. The firebird is a coveted role for aspiring ballerinas. Stravinsky’s firebird is half-woman, half-bird.
The firebird is also at the heart of many fairy tales and legends. In one legend, a young girl is reputed to create the most beautiful embroidery imaginable. An evil sorcerer comes to visit her after transforming himself into an attractive young man. He claims that he will make her a queen if she will come with him, but she refuses to leave her beloved village.
Enraged, he transforms himself into a black falcon and her into a colorful firebird. He picks her up in his talons and flies away, but she dies, allowing her feathers to fall to the village below. The magical feathers glow in gorgeous colors, showing themselves only to those who love beauty and create beauty.
I think of the firebird as closely related to angels, dragons and phoenixes. It is symbolic of resurrection through self-transformation and the creation of exquisite beauty through overcoming hardship and tragedy. The firebird flies upward, going heavenward in spite of all obstacles.
In addition, the firebird is lit from within, casting darkness aside and trailing glory for all to see. The firebird is able to heal the sick and blind by it’s chants. For me, this is the core of all art and music: to uplift and heal the viewer or the listener. That is the goal and the aim of my art and my life.