Goddesses Of Fire

The mobile element of fire is more typically depicted as feminine than masculine, although a few fire gods appear in world mythology. 

These are often blacksmiths, such as the Celtic Goibniu, Greek Hephaestus, or Roman Vulcan. 

Such gods do not so much embody fire as use it in transformation of one material to another. 

But the role of smith is not always a male one in mythology. 

Smith goddesses also appear, most notably Celtic Brigit, connected to smithcraft, poetry, and healing, all of which show her trans formational power. 

In Japan, too, we find the smith goddess Ishikore-Dome, who crafted the first mirror and saved the world from darkness. 

In China, the smith Moye worked with her husband to craft an impossibly strong sword, in the process of which she sacrificed herself to the fire. 

Fire itself appears as a goddess in one of two forms: as the wild, tempestuous fire of volcanoes, and as the tamed and useful fire of the hearth. 

The former figures are typi cally depicted as voluptuous and demanding of lovers, who often perish at their em brace. 

The unpredictability of volcanic eruption and the potential destructiveness to human settlement, coupled with the astonishing fertility of volcanic soil after it has cooled and settled, led to depiction of volcano goddesses as both threatening and fecund. 

Around the ‘‘ring of fire in the Pacific, such volcano women can be found, from the Aleutian Chuginadak and Multnomah Loo-Wit (see North America) to Micronesian Latmikaik and Hawaiian Pele (see Pacific Islands). 

In Europe, a similar figure is Roman Aetna, whose mountain bears her name. 

The earths inner fires, which pour out from the surface as lava, gave rise to images of women with flames hidden in their genitals, as in Goga (see Pacific Islands). 

The connection of such natural fires with the domestic flame upon the hearth was articulated in some cases, as in Japanese Fuji, who was both the volcanic mountain and the familys cook fire. 

More commonly, the fire goddess of the household is seen as a distinct domestic presence, to whom simple rituals are offered daily while cooking and eating. 

The hearth, which is either the home of the goddess or her very body, was often hedged about with taboos. 

Spitting in the fire, dumping urine or other waste upon it, or otherwise showing disrespect was typically forbidden, with penalties enacted for transgressions. 

Across Indo-European territory, the hearth goddess was typically vir ginal (Greek Hestia, Roman Vesta, Celtic Brigit) and served by a college of similarly chaste priestesses. 

At other times, she was a nurturing maternal force (such as the Bal tic Gabija). 

Finally, in a few cases fire goddesses were connected with water, espe cially hot springs, as was Celtic Sul (see Sun, above). 

~ Kiran Atma

You can learn more about Goddess Symbolism here.