Q:

What does fire represent or symbolize?

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Quick Answer

Depending on the era, culture and context, fire may symbolize everything from divinity, power and dynamism to destruction and the damning fires of hell itself. It is one of the main elements as described in both Western and Asian traditions.

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Full Answer

The fact that fire may symbolically represent both positive and destructive qualities is due to its physical nature, which may provide warmth and light but may also destroy. Christian, Hebrew and Chinese philosophies view fire as being akin to divinity. It is also viewed as a force of purification. Since human beings can produce fire themselves, unlike other traditional elements like water and Earth, it has been considered a link between human beings and the gods. In the modern era, Freud saw fire as being linked to sexual passion and libido.

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