We humans are as attracted to the flickering flame of a candle, a bonfire or a fireplace as is the proverbial month. Long before the current reign of our branch of the race of two legged, the Neanderthals mastered the skill of domesticating fire which allowed them to survive even in the shadow of the glaciers.
How mysterious it must have seemed to our early ancestors when a few of them accidentally learned the secret of creating fire. These keepers of that life sustaining fire must have been held in the highest regard, maybe even looked at as workers of magic.
Fast forward to the present time, I would wager maybe one out of fifty could start a fire from a few bits of dry wood and a couple of stones rubbed together and I am not sure we’d ever have the patience unless we were desperate. Its not particularly easy, I know; I’ve tried it with no success.
Without fire we would not survive and yet the fire was also a communal thing where family and tribal members gather to share in the oral traditions, the myths, the stories, indeed the culture which united a people into a cohesive entity.
In time fire has become one of our most universal archetype not only as a metaphor for life itself but a symbol of spiritual enlightenment.
I doubt if there are very many religious that don’t use candles or at least employ a flame as a symbol for deity.
Like all elements of life fire has a dual nature and finding a way in which to balance the duality of fire or our own nature constitutes the basic theme that resides at the very core of existence.