Ancient mythology tells us that fire came to humanity not as a gift from the gods but as a spoil of an act of thievery. It was stolen from the god Zeus by the cunning Prometheus. Prometheus was rewarded for outsmarting Zeus by being chained to a rock and having his liver eaten daily by an eagle.
In mythology, fire was a complex symbol meaning far more than warmth and comfort. It was in fact, the very "means of life." Fire as a dream symbol is as complex as its mythology. Here are some interpretations of dream fire forms.
Lightning, while destructive if encountered in a direct hit, is often symbolic of sudden enlightenment. In addition to spiritual enlightenment, lightning may also symbolize a sudden flash of inspiration or the spontaneous answer to a vexing problem. It can also represent an unexpected event--a 'bolt out of the blue'.
"Snakes in a Dream" ( http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art16788.asp ) took a look at the various ideas dream snakes symbolize. One of the aspects of snakes not covered in that article is the snake as a symbol of kundalini. In Hinduism kundalini is an energy that sleeps in the base of the spine coiled up like a serpent. Kundalini, when awakened, uncoils and flames up the spine into the brain. In some cases this fire is the flame of illumination or enlightenment. Therefore, fire or even a snake or dragon in a dream, may herald a spiritual awakening, or a radical change in spiritual perspective.
Fire in dreams, especially fire that appears in the form of erupting volcanoes or irrepressible wildfires may symbolize emotions that are out of control. These symbols are especially representative of suppressed anger--anger that has reached its boiling point and can no longer be contained. Take care to examine your life and address these issues so as to prevent the damage that can occur to interpersonal relationships during and emotional meltdown.
Another way fire may manifest in dreams is by seeing the color red. Of course the color red may symbolize things other than fire, but keep fire in mind as a possible meaning when it appears in your dream. The type of fire that red represents may be the fire of passion or something far more spiritual.
To alchemists, red was the color of the 'fulminato'--the time when all the forces were coming together to at last become the 'Great Work'. Red in this context symbolized the creative force of fire. As such, red dreams may suggest that a project or idea you have been working on is finally getting near the point of transformation. It is important here to be careful with yourself as fire can burn as well as transform!
Creativity and Nourishment
A campfire, fireplace, cook top or oven may show fire in its symbolic form as a creative agent or provider of sustenance. Remember dreams often communicate via wordplay and all of these symbols are associated with places where things are 'cooking'. This type of cooking can be a simmering creative project, a successful business endeavour, or may even signify birth.
Dreams of torches, candles, or lanterns can represent spiritual guidance. Is someone holding the candle? If so, who is it and where are they going? If you are holding the candle yourself this dream may indicate wisdom from your higher self.
In the Tarot the Hermit card is often depicted as a sage carrying a lantern symbolizing the illuminating light of wisdom that shows through even in the dark night of the soul, the light that is present even in darkness. In this capacity, the soft light of the candle or torch can be representative of hope, even it that hope appears to be terrifyingly small.
When interpreting dreams don't forget that they speak the language of metaphor. Fire dreams are no exception. Look for fire not only in its obvious form but in some of the more cleverly disguised ways we have discussed. Remember, Prometheus brought us fire by slipping it past Zeus--your dreaming mind may be doing the same by bypassing the conscious censor in order to bring you spiritual wisdom.
Until next time, sleep well and dream out loud!
*~Aisling Ireland~* is an ordained Spiritual Counselor providing dream interpretation and Tarot readings. To make an appointment check out her website at: web.mac.com/aisling.ireland
Below are links to two of Barbara Walker's books. Both have interesting information about god/desses, mythology, and symbols. I use both frequently to help interpret symbols in my own dreams!