What Does the Fire Symbol Mean?

fire symbol
There is a sacredness given to fire in the traditions of human civilization. It has been portrayed in various ways throughout human history and across the scientific, philosophical, and religious spectrums. Popular fire symbols throughout history include the flame, the Phoenix, and the hearth.

Fire is a force that has contributed to humanity’s development but also threatens its extinction. It gives off natural warmth when the sun goes down. Here we’ll explore the plethora of interpretations that fire can have.

What Is The Symbol of Fire?

A flame, or a picture of a flame, is a common visual representation of the element fire. However, there are other images of fire as well. Typically represented as a torch with flames, the Olympic flame symbolizes fire worldwide. 

In myth and legend, deities and heroes are commonly represented with blazing swords or swords with flames emanating from them. The dragon and the Phoenix are mythical creatures related to the fire symbol. The Phoenix is known for its ability to rise from the ashes of its previous life. The dragon is often depicted as a fire-breathing creature. 

fire symbol
The Phoenix is associated with fire because it burns up at the end of its life before rising from the ashes.

Why Is Fire A Powerful Symbol?

Due to its destructive and creative capabilities, fire serves as a powerful emblem. It can purify and transform but also destroy and consume anything in its way. Because of its dual character, fire has been utilized as a potent symbol in various cultures and circumstances throughout history.

Fire represents the essence of life and vitality in many cultures. It’s also commonly used in religious ceremonies. For some people, fire is a medium between humans and the gods or other spiritual beings.

Fire symbolism varies across different cultures. 

Greco-Roman Culture

The ancient Greeks and Romans highly valued fire in their religious and cultural practices. Many different deities in ancient cultures were linked to fire because it was considered a divine manifestation.

In Greek mythology, Prometheus is well recognized as the figure who stole fire from the gods and bestowed it upon humanity. This was regarded as highly generous because fire allowed people to create heat, light, and nourishment. 

The Olympic fire represents the element Prometheus took from Zeus, the supreme god of the Greek pantheon. However, it also symbolized the challenge to the gods’ authority posed by the knowledge and power that Prometheus bequeathed to humans.

Even though Prometheus was the one who gave people fire again, he paid a high price for doing so.

In Roman mythology, Vesta, the goddess of the home and hearth, was closely linked to the element of fire. Priestesses, known as Vestal Virgins, were responsible for keeping the sacred fire burning at all times in the Vesta Temple. 

The sacred flame at the Temple of Vesta represented Rome’s safety and wealth, making it one of the city’s holiest sites.

Fire was an important emblem of the divine presence and might in ancient Greek and Roman religion and culture.

fire symbol
Vesta, the Greek goddess of home and hearth.

Native American Tradition

Many Native American cultures use the bright seven-ray sun sign frequently. Its minimal design consists only of a crimson sun with seven rays.

As a whole, the emblem represents the healing arts and the desire for peace. In contrast, each individual ray represents a different energy center or the energetic fire within humans, of which there are said to be seven.

Each of the seven sun rays represents one of the seven rituals practiced by the Cherokees throughout the year, making it an extremely significant fire symbol in Native American tradition. 

The fox is also a revered and powerful native American symbol. In several myths, the fox is often depicted as a symbol of the sun and its fiery energy. They are referred to as fire-bringers in Native American culture. 

Foxes feature prominently in several myths, including one in which the animal stole fire from the gods and gave it to humanity. In different folktales, the fox’s tail and mouth show magical qualities, such as the ability to conjure fire or lightning.

Many people today think the sight of a red fox will cause an outpouring of strong feelings, including passion and creativity. Because of its close relationship to the sun, the fox gets credit for bringing its owners a sense of buoyancy and drive.

Fire Symbolism in Tarot 

In tarot, fire is often associated with energy, passion, and creativity. It can represent a transformative experience or a burst of inspiration. Fire symbols in tarot can also suggest action, determination, and the need to take bold steps.

The Suit of Wands in the tarot is often associated with fire. The cards in this suit represent ideas, creativity, and the spark of new beginnings. The Wands can also suggest taking action and making things happen.

Some other tarot cards associated with fire include The Tower, The Sun, and The Devil. The Tower is a card of sudden change and upheaval, showing the destructive power of fire. 

The sun is a card of joy, success, and abundance, and it is associated with the warmth and light of the sun. The Devil is a card that can represent temptation, desire, and the power of the ego. It symbolizes the all-consuming fire of passion.

fire symbol
Cards featuring fire have a significant meaning in Tarot.


In Hinduism, fire symbolizes purity, transformation, and the elimination of ignorance. Agni, the Hindu god of fire, is thought to mediate between people and gods.

Fire is a symbol in Hindu rites and is utilized in offerings and sacrifices to purify and change. In some Hindu traditions, messages and offerings are transmitted through the flames.

What Is Fire A Symbol Of In Literature?

In literature, fire can represent a variety of ideas and subjects. Fire is associated with passion and desire. It can symbolize how these sensations engulf and transform the individual feeling them.

Uncontrolled or weaponized fire can symbolize destruction. Fire may signify light and knowledge when used to illuminate darkness or guide people. In some religious contexts, fire represents hell and damnation. 

What Emotion Does Fire Represent?

The fire emotion is associated with warmth, enthusiasm, and creativity. An overabundance of it can lead to aggression, impatience, and impulsive behavior. This is why fire is associated with negative emotions, such as hatred. However, in modern times, the fire emotion symbolizes something cool, awesome, exciting, or, more colloquially, “on fire.”


Vanessa's liberal arts background has prepared her well for Symbol Scholar. A self-proclaimed theology nerd, Vanessa has interests in world religions, Reformation theology, history, and more. When she's not working, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family, reading, exercising, and watching professional basketball.

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