The Simurgh Story
Watch the World Burn
The Simurgh is said to have watched the world burn three times over, having lived through infinite time. This long life has made her full of all knowledge. When it sees the sun begin to rage against all things, the Simurgh waits for the tree on which she sits to begin to catch alight. Then it allows itself to be burned with the tree. From the ashes of the tree, the Simurgh can be reborn. This symbolises the indestructibility of knowledge.
The Simurgh is a female creature. She is shown as having the body of a peacock, the feet of an lion, and the face of a dog, or sometimes a human.
Journey to the Simurgh
It is said that all the other birds in the land had given up belief that the Simurgh existed. Then one day they found one of her bright copper feathers, and decided to journey to her, so that she would help them with their problems.
This journey is considered to be the journey to knowledge that we all must undertake and it contains several stages.
To reach her in her home on Kaf Mountain, the Turkish believed that the birds must pass through seven valleys:
1. In the Request Valley many of the birds became enamoured with the magic of owning things, and they did no go further.
2. In the Valley of Love most birds became blinded by the sight of beautiful swans and went no further.
3. Next, the Ignorance Valley stops many birds through their own carelessness and ignorance. It is said that when they did not care about their quest, they forgot it, and insodoing they found their burden lighter.
4. The Valley of Faithlessness claimed those birds who began to lose heart - convinced that the Simurgh did not exist and terrified that they would die if they travelled further.
5. In the Valley of Loneliness birds began to think only for themselves. The larger birds went out to hunt, not caring about the smaller ones who had also wandered off in their own direction, each away from the other. The large birds hunting, became prey themselves, while those who took a solitary path to the Simurgh became lost.
6. Next the birds fell prey to the Valley of Rumours where whispers spread that the Simurgh had become soil, and that it was useless to continue. Many heard these words, and turned back without questioning them.
7. The final valley was the Valley of Me in which the few remaining birds began to expound on their own opinions, each one speaking over the other, lost in the sound of their own voice: "I don't like your wing", "We're going the wrong way", "The food is best over here".
They began to crush each other, until they were able to pass through this valley, and lose their sense of egoistic self.
Arriving finally at the place where the Simurgh should be, the remaining birds saw only a lake.
They understood, seeing their own reflections, the mystery's revelation: Si meaning thirty in Persian, and Murgh meaning bird.
If Simorgh unveils its face to you, you will find
that all the birds, be they thirty or forty or more,
are but the shadows cast by that unveiling.
What shadow is ever separated from its maker?
Do you see?
The shadow and its maker are one and the same,