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Name(s): Bennu, Benu
Appearance: A large grey Heron with two crest feathers, or classically, the Benu bird is described as being as large as an eagle, with red and gold (solar or flame-colored) plumage.
Lore: According to some stories, the Bennu is a self-created creature that existed before time began. It flew over the waters of creation and when it came to rest on a ben-ben stone (a sacred stone in the temple of Ra), its call began the creation of the world and determined what would and would not be created.
Other stories say it is reborn every 500 years, like a Phoenix. As a matter of fact, it is often thought that the legends of the Greek Phoenix were inspired by the Bennu. Because of its association with rebirth, it also appears on funerary heart scarab amulets (for protection of the deceased in the afterlife). While none of the Egyptian lore says anything about a permanent death for the Bennu, it is believed that is rises every day with the sun (linking it to Ra).
The Bennu is also associated with Osiris, and for this reason is often depicted wearing the atef crown (Osiris’ feathered crown). You can also find it depicted in a willow tree (a tree often associated with death or rebirth in many cultures).