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Mythology and Fire

During ancient times, humans understood fire as one of the essential and basic elements of the planet. They also learned that air, earth and water were the others. Fire has long been considered both a help and a hindrance to our lives. It can provide warmth, and comfort, being a source of both essential heat and light. But it also has a darker side, spreading quickly and consuming everything in its path. In mythology, fire is seen as both a positive, cleansing power and also a destructive and deadly one.

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Myths and legends abound in all cultures across the globe. There are many stories that tell of the experiences of fire and how humans attempted to harness through their own daring means or how it was gifted from the gods or a mythological creature. What made humans unique and set them apart from the rest of the animal kingdom was their ability to control and harness fire to use for cooking, lighting, heat and to ultimately create things like glass, pottery and metalwork.

As fire provides heat and light like the sun, it is often used to symbolise the sun or a sun god in mythology. In many cultures, it is seen as a symbol of the hearth or the centre of a household around which families were able to survive. It is also viewed as a symbol of new life, as in the legend of the phoenix. This mythological bird was destroyed by flames but rose again in glory, reborn from the ashes of the fire. Don’t let any of your property be reduced to ashes. Whether you’re a homeowner or business owner, always take your fire risk assessment seriously. For a Fire Safety Consultancy, contact

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The darker side of fire is also seen in the tales of the apocalypse and the sudden, destruction and end of the world. The magnificent power and energy of fire is sometimes seen as a negative thing. Flames are used to symbolise suffering and punishment, as in the flames of hell and all its fiery torment. Some of the myths that exist about the apocalypse detail a destructive fiery end to the world but that a new one will emerge, like the phoenix, reborn from the ashes.

Fire can be an incredibly destructive force and many of the more malicious and sneaky figures of mythology are associated with it. It is believed that the Norse god Loki, who tricks people and is highly untrustworthy might have been based on the actions of a forest fire. Fire is also a symbol of the cremation of the dead, which happens in many cultures. A cremation fire represents a purification and a cleansing end to a person’s earthy existence.

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