Over the next couple of months, the sacred feminine is taking over Body Mind & Soul. Many of our teachers are presenting unique, goddess-oriented classes. And in addition, we are beefing up our goddess merchandise with brand new statues and books that honor the feminine divine gracing our shelves. Here on Modern Spiritual Living, we acknowledge this shift through a series of elemental goddess blogs, written in part by our guest blogger and intern, Morgan Stevens. Kicking off this week’s installment: Goddesses of Fire.
Fire has many properties associated with its flickering flames: change, passion, creativity. Similar to water, it has the ability to cleanse and purify, albeit in much different ways. Fire represents energy in its most raw form, only present as long as there is fuel to satiate its transformative hunger. This element converts life, such as plants and trees, into ash. Light and heat are used to give energy to new things.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Hawaiian goddess of fire and the volcano, Pele. Pele’s fires could cause devastating destruction, easily consuming all they came into contact with. However, when the flames abated, the Earth was purified and ready for new life. Dormant seeds in the soil began to grow, activated by the intense heat above ground, and the earth would begin anew with a fresh start. This same raw power can be used in many sacred practices, including rituals, ceremonies, auric cleansing, and magic rites or spells.
The renewing effects of fire are also present in the sun. At the core of our star, countless hydrogen atoms are densely packed together. The core is pressurized enough to fuse the hydrogen atoms together into helium atoms, releasing massive amounts of energy into our solar system. This molecular collision provides the earth with the sun’s warming rays. It also reminds us that fire’s transformation is ubiquitous, changing molecules and auric energy fields alike.
In Japanese mythology the goddess of the sun is Amaterasu. Her father, Izanagi, gifted her sacred jewels at her birth and made her the ruler of Takamagahara, or the High Celestial Plain, where every god must reside. As ruler of Takamagahara, Amaterasu is also worshipped as the goddess of the universe. Each of her powers, the sun, Takamagahara, and the universe, connect together in to the central theme of energy flow. The sun gives light and heat through photons beaming down on our planet. Takamagahara holds the high vibrational energy of the divine. The Universe is nothing if not an abyss of seemingly random animation. Amaterasu is the personification of divine energy. She endlessly snakes around us, gifting us with vitality and spirit.
Many cultures believe fire was sent from the heavens to give humans magic and power. Think of the myth of Prometheus in Greek mythology. The humans were unable to move forward until Prometheus stole fire from the gods and brought it down to earth. From then on they could cook food, work metal, stay warm, and have light.
Hestia, the Greek goddess of the hearth, personifies fire in this aspect crucial to our survival. She was among the gentlest of the Olympians, and the oldest of them. Through Hestia, the cultivation of fire gave humans the power to transform. Fire continues to lend itself to our personal transformations. It can do the same today in your modern practice.
The power of fire lends itself to life force, or the soul. As we go about in the world, our body breaks down energy in the same way flames consume fuel. The same force that transforms matter also hums through your veins to keep you alive. Bonds between molecules are broken and the free energy goes to wherever it is needed.
The Celts had a goddess for this more subtle aspect of fire, Brigid. She was their healer and their inspiration, a warmth which brought balance to their lives through craft and poetry. The flow of her energy is constant. Even as I sit to write this post my body is still humming with vitality, fueling my thoughts with flame. Our souls can be likened to a great furnace that fuels the travels of a steamship. It is our inner fires that keep us alive and burning.