Since man’s discovery of fire, it has played a central role in our daily lives, not only as a practical tool for light, heating and warding off danger, but also as a depiction of the human spirit and a sacred element used in rituals and worship.
The intrinsic relationship between fire and spirituality can be seen across many different cultures and religions throughout the ages. The very same flame which is lit today during the Olympic Games is reminiscent of the flame that the ancient Greeks burnt in honour of Zeus during major religious festivals. In the bible, God comes before man numerous times in the form of a holy fire, such as the burning bush which speaks to Moses. Agni, the Hindu god of fire, is mentioned more times in the Vedic hymns than any other deity and Hindu worship of other gods is mostly through fire rituals. This is because out of the four elements (earth, water, fire and air) fire is the only element which cannot be polluted.
While the practices and beliefs surrounding the spiritual significance of fire differ from person to person, what is undeniable is fire’s ability to comfort and soothe us. Whether we’re curled up by the fire on a winter’s evening, or eating dinner by candlelight, just the sight of a flame can burn away any negative feelings and lift our spirits.