Transformation by Fire

In ancient times, fire must have been a deeply mysterious and awe-inspiring force to us humans. It was flung from the skies in the form of lightning. It erupted from the innards of mountains and became a glowing lava river of destruction. When we finally learned to harness fire, it transformed our existence – we were able to cook our food, vastly expanding our culinary options; we were able to warm ourselves when it was cold outside which allowed us to move into the coldest climates on earth; and we were able to wage war with fire and produce greater degrees of pain and destruction. Fire allowed us to refine our weapons and tools, to harden our cooking vessels, and to fly into space.

Fire warms, transforms, and illuminates, but can also bring pain and death reducing everything in its all-consuming path to ashes.

Is it any wonder that we created symbols of divinity connected to fire? There is Agni, the Hindu God of Fire who exists in three forms: fire, lightning and the sun. The Hawaiians know Pele, the Volcano Goddess, who created the Hawaiian Islands with her enormous powers over fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes. The Greeks had Zeus, the God of Lightning. Many religions honored a sun god or goddess for the sun’s life-giving fire.

Fire is also a symbol for creativity, passion, and sexuality – do you remember “Light my Fire” by the Doors?

Fire bridges the gap between mortals and gods. We can now use fire for destructive purposes that, in the past, would have appeared god-like – rockets, missiles, atom bombs. On a more positive note, fire becomes the symbol of inspiration, purification and spiritual enlightenment in our higher spiritual pursuits. Our plane of duality is perfectly expressed through the dichotomies of the fire element.

No matter our personal knowledge of or experience with Fire, when Mother Nature unleashes her fiery minions – lightning, wild fires and volcanic eruptions – we stand in awe, reminded of the true scale of our existence.

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About Beauty Along the Road

A blog about discovering beauty in all its ordinary and extraordinary manifestations.
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19 Responses to Transformation by Fire

  1. Well penned post… 👍

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  2. Tish Farrell says:

    Your close-up shots are wonderful – the heat! And the texture of the ash. A great sense of rendering down. And a red-hot essay to go with them.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. shoreacres says:

    And don’t forget the importance of fire to the cycles of the natural world. On the prairies, fire traditionally helped to restore and reinvigorate. Today, our appreciation for the life-giving aspects of prescribed fire has helped in the maintenance of old prairies, and the re-emergence of new.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well there you go, Linda…stealing my fire.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres says:

        I’ve been fire-focused for the past two months, taking training as a burn volunteer, and tracking the regrowth of a section of burned prairie. It’s been fascinating, to say the least. How long does it take for burned land to come back? Less time than you would think. 😉

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        • While I have little personal experience with burn recovery, I have read a little and do know that certain plants come back quickly while other plant and seeds that lay dormant waiting for fire spring forth. In non-prairie situations, some trees are fire-resistant (cottonwood and aspen for example) and survive a good bark scorching.
          I envy your participation and will be eager to read about the experience…I am betting it will appear on your blog. Are you able to make some images?

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          • shoreacres says:

            “Some” images? HA! And “participation” isn’t quite the word. There’s been no one but me, the prairie, and the two dudes that pulled me out of the mud one day. 🙂

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    • Thank you for mentioning the uses of prescribed fires/burns. I’ve heard of seeds that will not sprout unless they’ve been through a fire….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. In addition to Linda’s comment about fire being an important ecological force, it is also a symbol of rebirth in lore. My first real awareness of fire as a child, aside from houses burning down, was a book I read, David and the Phoenix.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a great book (that I’ve never heard of before). From the description, it appears that there are many layers embedded in this children’s book. The Phoenix, to me, has always been the symbol for something new arising out of destruction.

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  5. A wonderful post, Annette! Thanks for putting it together.

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  6. Sageleaf says:

    Beautiful musings on fire. It’s a powerful force…along with earth, wind, and water. You’re right: it would be intimidating to people who didn’t necessarily know and associated it with a god but more recently, its power to destroy is also intimidating. Wonderful, thought-provoking post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anarette says:

    Fire is always intriguing. Something primal I guess to be able to control something that can be so powerful and destructive.

    Liked by 1 person

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