The phoenix is the most celebrated of all the symbolic creatures fabricated by the ancient Mysteries for the purpose of concealing the great truths of esoteric philosophy. Mediæval Hermetists regarded the phoenix as a symbol of the accomplishment of alchemical transmutation, a process equivalent to human regeneration. The name phoenix was also given to one of the secret alchemical formula.
In the Mysteries it was customary to refer to initiates as phoenixes or men who had been born again, for just as physical birth gives man consciousness in the physical world, so the neophyte, after nine degrees in the womb of the Mysteries, was born into a consciousness of the Spiritual world.
This is the mystery of initiation to which Christ referred when he said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John iii. 3). The phoenix is a fitting symbol of this spiritual truth.”
By Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of All Ages