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Mythical Birds and the Mystical Discourse in Persian Poetry

Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak

Simorgh has from the very beginning of its appearance in extant pre-Islamic records of ancient Iran – i.e., texts in Ancient and Middle Persian – has been characterized by three features, a bird of large size, a healer and protector of sorts, and possessor of certain secrets which, being inaccessible to ordinary mortals, turn the bird into a prime sign of transcendence, physical or intellectual or spiritual. Let me address this last issue, the matter of transcendence, first, as it goes to the most general attributes of mythical winged creatures, therefore separating birds from the other animals in many primitive cultures, bestowing on them a uniquely distinguished status in matters that lie beyond natural elements or physical domains. We know, for example, that in the language of classical Persian poetry, asses are associated with innocence of the sort you do not wish to be associated with, and that dogs, as signs of our animal instincts, are emblems of angry outbursts.

It is through Carl Gustav Jung that we have been made aware of certain half-forgotten universal tendencies that still reside in our mind but are neither accessible to any single individual nor recorded in any tribal or Simorgh has from the very beginning of its appearance in extant pre-Islamic records of ancient Iran – i.e., texts in Ancient and Middle Persian – has been characterized by three features, a bird of large size, a healer and protector of sorts, and possessor of certain secrets which, being inaccessible to ordinary mortals, turn the bird into a prime sign of transcendence, physical or intellectual or spiritual. Let me address this last issue, the matter of transcendence, first, as it goes to the most general attributes of mythical winged creatures, therefore separating birds from the other animals in many primitive cultures, bestowing on them a uniquely distinguished status in matters that lie beyond natural elements or physical domains. We know, for example, that in the language of classical Persian poetry, asses are associated with innocence of the sort you do not wish to be associated with, and that dogs, as signs of our animal instincts, are emblems of angry outbursts. national memory. Jung has given the sum total of those the name “collective unconscious".