Fire-Symbol – General Characteristics
Fire as a symbol is a living element which absorbs, warms and illuminates, but can also cause pain and death – has a dual meaning. Often fire is a sacred symbol of home and embodies the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which in the form of fiery tongues exhorted the apostles during the first Pentecost while the ignition of the new fire early in the year was a sacred act in ancient Mexico.
On the other hand, it has the negative aspect of Hell’s fire, the devastating forest fires, the destruction by the heavenly fire of lightning, and the volcanic fire from the earth’s core.
It must be remembered that at the dawn of humanity millions of years ago, the “curb” of fire marked the beginning of culture, and that there were no “wild primitive humans without fire” as some pre-scientific evolutionary doctrines devised.
Fire is the only element that man can receive on his own, so fire is proof of his closeness with the gods.
In so many myths (from ancient Greece, Polynesia, for example) describes it as the original property of the gods which only through theft becomes human “property”. Therefore fire can have the quality of a “purifying flame” that destroys all evil and has the task of eradicating the corporeality of witches and other demonized creatures; in Purgatory: it removes the stains of sin from Catholic dogma and in paganism (the doctrine of Zoroaster or Zarathustra) it is considered sacred.
The Assyrian spell texts known as the Maklu and Shurpu series, largely consist of the desire to destroy evil spells through fire:
“Boil, boil, burn, burn! Evil and bad, do not come, disappear! … I am chaining you, I am tying you up, I am giving you to Gila, who girds, burns, shackles, captures the wizards. Just like this goat’s skin is torn, thrown into the fire and consumed by the violent flames … so does the curse, the magic, the torture, the harassment, the disease, the pain, the sin, the crime, the disorder, the suffering stuck in my body, to be torn ! Let the fierce flames devour them today … “.
Both “maclu” and “urpu” are translated with burning, with them most clearly manifesting their belief in the destructive action of fire against witchcraft.
Running/walking on fire across different continents (Nestinaria in Bulgaria and Greece), with bare feet without injury would initially be a purification rite in spring and more recently in Tibet (on the 150th day from the first month).
Most often, fire is considered a “male” element (as opposed to “female” water) and the embodiment of vital energy, sun, fertilizing power, enlightenment, sun (cf. Phoenix, Firebird).
It is said that the maiden Ocrizia conceived of a fiery spark and became the mother of the Roman king Servius Thulius. In spell formulas fire was treated as a supernatural being. The culminating point of the ancient Roman feast of the goddess Pales and the shepherds (April 21) was the skipping of a purifying fire of burning straw.
According to ancient Greek mythology, the goddess Demetra undertook to make the character Demophon immortal by cleansing him from his mortal parts putting him in the fire of a fire. Torches were made around the mentally ill or in need of redemption. When someone uttered the Latin word for ignis fire, the unsafe side of fire, which had not been preserved in ancient cities, had to be eliminated by a magically symbolic gesture of pouring water.
Due to the dual nature of fire, its gods or the supernatural beings associated with this element initially pass for tricks in which one should never trust, as in the case of the German Loki. However, the overwhelmingly positive appraisal of the “living flame” – especially after curbing it with the achievements of civilization – is manifested in both the maintenance of ancient customs such as torches and the burning of fires in the summer solstice, and the burning of candles for dinner decoration regardless of the presence of electric lighting.
In church rituals candles near the altar at baptism, communion, funeral, etc., also play an important symbolic role as carriers of the spiritual light.
The psychological symbolism emphasizes the close connection between fire and hearth (home and family), cooking food and melting metals, and the “fire of the heart” referred to in the poetic imagery. “When one approaches a great fire in a dream and sees a fiery glow rising in the sky, he is close to divine powers (E. Aeppli); however, “the fire of passion and ideological fervor is also a flame that can be burned.”
Gods of Fire
There are many gods in world mythologies, so they will be presented only to the oldest recorded civilizations:
- Gera – god of fire in the Akkadian and Babylonian records;
- Gabil – a skillful god of fire and blacksmiths in the Sumerian records;
- Ishum, the god of fire, who was the brother of the solar god Shamash, and the companion of Era;
- Nusku – god of the heavenly and earthly fire and light and the patron saint of the arts.
- Ishat – the Phoenician goddess of fire and drought killed by Anat;
- Shapash – Goddess of the Sun.
- Ariniti – the Sun Goddess of the city of Arina, and the goddess of the hearths of fires, temple flames and chitonic fires in later times.
- Ra – fire is a God of Sun, light, heat and growth;
- Sekmet- Goddess of the Sun and fire.
- Ogun – the god of fire and the patron of blacksmiths, iron, fighting, metal toolsWadget – the protective goddess of the serpent who sends fire to burn his enemies.