7 May 2001
They are among the most powerful and terrifying of all the deities, these Fire & Solar Beings, full of danger and death, but also warmth and mischief. They hurl lightning bolts, quarrel, furiously create volcanic destruction, but just as furiously create things of delicate beauty and magic. They lick our reflections in a candle-lit mirror and then boil out of volcanos. We have served them around ancient hearths and in temples for thousands of years. They are sacred, dark, living, transcendent light.....
Pele, Goddess of Volcanos (Used with permission)
© Herb Kawainui Kane: 2 September 2011: now on Web Archive
From Encyclopedia Mythica comes a brief but useful entry on Pele:http://web.archive.org/web/20100726130146/http://www.hawaiiantrading.com/herb-kane/index.htmlThe Hawaiian (Polynesian) goddess of the fire in the volcano, the mother of eruptions. She is a ravishing, whimsical goddess who resides in the volcano Kilauea on Hawaii. Daughter of the goddess Haumea. She is the personification of the (female) power of destruction and her jealous rages were believed to cause Kilauea's eruptions. Pele also controls lightning....Pele appears in many forms, such as a young child, a beautiful young girl or an old crone. She usually wears black....The article includes data on her origins and quest for a home. Hypertext links will take you to entries on her parents and favorite sister.
"Pele Honua Mea" (Used with permission)
Translation: "Pele of the sacred earth"
From Herb Kane
This site has a selection of books and art by Herb Kawainui Kane (see above), including a book on Pele as well as several portraits of her (with minimal text).http://web.archive.org/web/20060509073841/http://peledreaming.com/about-pele.html: [9/2/11: now on Web Archive]
[Added 10 October 2005]: This is another artwork by Herb Kawainui Kane, "Pele Dreaming," a lovely sculpture that portrays Pele as a compassionate nurturer of the natural green world. The page includes brief but evocative text.http://web.archive.org/web/20010619234707/http://www.galenorn.com/earthforces/hawai'i/hwmpele.htm: [9/2/11: now on Web Archive]
This is a fine essay, "Pele--Mistress of the Volcanoes," by Yasmine Galenorn, an eloquent wiccan author with a special love for this deity:...Barren wasteland, covered over and over again with hardened black lava, and yet, the ferns take hold and grow just as soon as the lava is cool. Life will not be denied in Hawai'i. The moment She has created a new blanket of rock and soil, Pele encourages new growth....I like Galenorn's special meld of scholarship and personal experience, common sense and mysticism. Note: since her Pele page provides no navigation, here's a direct link to her Hawaiian pages -- unfortunately, the paintings of Pele mentioned in her essay don't seem to be anywhere on her site: http://www.galenorn.com/earthforces/hawai'i/hwmwelcome.htm. [9/2/11: now on Web Archive]
This is a photoessay by David Alan Maszak, who focuses on various lava flows in the Kalapana area of the Big Island. Brief, poetic text on Pele accompanies evocative photos (each is clickable for dramatic enlargements).
DEITIES OF FIRE:
From the handsome site of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (or OBOD) comes a lengthy, thoughtful 1995 essay by Winter Cymres, "Brigid: The Survival of a Goddess." The page looks in depth at both the history and lore associated with this multi-faceted goddess:http://druidry.org/obod/deities/brigidfire.html...Brigid is the traditional patroness of healing, poetry and smithcraft, which are all practical and inspired wisdom. As a solar deity Her attributes are light, inspiration and all skills associated with fire. Although She might not be identified with the physical Sun, She is certainly the benefactress of inner healing and vital energy.
The fires of inspiration, as demonstrated in poetry, and the fires of the home and the forge are seen as identical. There is no separation between the inner and the outer worlds. The tenacity with which the traditions surrounding Brigid have survived, even the saint as the thinly-disguised Goddess, clearly indicates Her importance....
...She possesses an unusual status as a Sun Goddess Who hangs Her Cloak upon the rays of the Sun and Whose dwelling-place radiates light as if on fire....
Again from OBOD (see above) comes "Brigid & The Fires of Love" by an Australian, Akkadia Ford, a very personal account of a relationship with this goddess:http://web.archive.org/web/20050418074759/http://www.hhhh.org/maia/Brighid.html: [9/2/11: now on Web Archive]There is a special place in my heart for Brighid - perhaps it is the ancestral call of her ancient fire blazing, that potent ashless fire tended by both female Druids and by the Goddess Herself, which reawakens in me an ancient urge to create.... What follows is an attempt to harness some of the inner meanings of the outer symbols associated with Brighid and to reawaken the Goddess' ashless flame within each one who also hears Her call....This rich essay looks at sacred lore connected with the goddess. I especially love the fact that Brighid herself was called upon to tend her fires on the twentieth night -- too often, deities rely solely upon humans to serve them and it's refreshing to know that the Celts asked for -- and received -- the goddess' own cooperation in tending to her own fires while her priestesses slept:...That nineteen Druid Priestesses tended Her flame is significant. It was said that for each of nineteen nights one of these dedicated women would stand guard in sacred vigil over the flame, to prevent it dying out; but on the twentieth night, they would all gather and offer a prayer to Brighid "This is your night Goddess to keep alight your hearth"....The author also explores the significance of the "ashless fire" and -- most interesting -- the connection between sword, phallus, and fires of another kind. The passage is lengthy but worth quoting in full lest this site ever vanish:...Suffice to say, the seemingly genteel activity of tending an ashless fire, has other more dynamic implications. This becomes much more apparent when the ancient Irish Gaelic lore and language surrounding the sacred occupation of Smithcraft is taken into account. It is perhaps not coincidental that the word for sword, colg, also may be translated into phallus. (4) Through extended meditative research and through guidance from the Lady Herself, I have come to the conclusion that part of the ancient Mysteries of Brighid, that have been 'lost' due to the break in oral transmission, have to do with tending the fire of love. The art of Smithcraft, of which Brighid is Patroness - Goddess, is the outer and secular form of the ancient alchemical art.The author also explores her thoughts on the Southern Hemisphere's problems with reversing Imbolc and Samhain (she's against the reversal and makes her case well). I found it a well-written, thoughtful, and very insightful essay.
Thus the 'sword', a life-blade in its literal sense, was 'forged' in the 'hearth' of the Goddess Herself. When considering an ancient Celtic custom, that the woman armed the young male with his weapons (an example being the tale of Arianrhod and the arming of Lleu in the fourth Branch of the Mabinogion); one begins to detect perhaps, an ancient lore concealed beneath: of an initiation into manhood of a far more inner kind, whereby the lore of life of the eternal flame of the Goddess passed from an older Druid-Priestess to a younger Initiate. It is not coincidental that those responsible for giving birth to each generation were also in charge of instructing the sons in how to defend that generation. Those who give life are more reluctant to take it. Perhaps this is also one reason why the nineteen female Druids dedicated to Brighid lived in seclusion; to maintain the sanctity of their 'flames' and thereby potentise them. That Brighid's fire is ashless is worthy of meditation in this regard. It is notable that amongst the 'fires' we revere in contemporary Druidry is the 'fire of creativity' and anciently Brighid was also considered to be the Patroness of creative activities such as the Bardic Arts of poetry, music and song....
This is "Brighid: Bright Lady of Fire and Poetry," a brief page by Megan Schroder. Here's an excerpt:In Celtic mythology, Brighid (pronounced "breed" or "bride") was a triple goddess, ruling over the domain of fire, smithcraft, and healing. Her temple priestesses kept an eternal flame burning, much like the Vestal Virgins of ancient Rome did....The element of fire binds all her dominions together: the fire of the hearth, the flame of the forge, and the spark of poetic inspiration....
Hephaistos & Thetis
(Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)
Myth*ing Links Hephaestus Page
[Added 9/2/11]: This is my page focused on Hephaestus -- some of the links are duplicates of broken links on this Fire Deities page but they often have longer excerpts, so it will be worth a look for those interested.http://web.archive.org/web/20030806083951/http://jcccnet.johnco.cc.ks.us/~jjackson/heph.html: [9/2/11: now on Web Archive]
This is "Hephaestus," an entry-level compilation of data based on the Iliad and Homeric Hymns. Here's a brief excerpt concerning the expulsion of Hephaestus from Olympus, an event that led to his becoming a smith and creating rare beauty:...That would have been a dangerous time, had not Thetis and Eurynome taken me in-- Eurynome, daughter of the tidal Ocean. Nine years I stayed, and fashioned works of art, brooches and spiral bracelets, necklaces, in their smooth cave, round which the stream of Ocean flows with a foaming roar: and no one else knew of it, gods or mortals....At the end is a link to images of Hephaestus -- unfortunately, due to copyright limitations, all of these University of Haifa links are blocked. Personally, I feel that these ancient images should be available to all; after all, the marvelous works were created many centuries ago and contemporary museums and photographers should have no binding claim on them. Nevertheless, the restrictions remain.
This is a brief, entry-level Encarta Encyclopedia entry on Hephaestus:...As the artisan among the gods, Hephaestus made their armor, weapons, and jewelry. His workshop was believed to lie under Mount Etna, a volcano in Sicily. Hephaestus is often identified with the Roman god of fire, Vulcan....
From "Torrey Philemon" comes "Hephaestus or Vulcan, The Wounded Artist," a rich, interesting, literate site based on Classical sources. The site explores these topics: Who Was Hephaestus - His Birth; Early Years - Love and Marriage; Hephaestus as Artisan - His Activities; The Worship of Hephaestus; Hephaestus, Psychological Archetype; and Hephaestus Links - Sources. Here's an excerpt from the beginning:The god of the forge and subterranean fire, the master craftsman, and the only god who worked or suffered from physical deformity, Hephaestus was ugly in appearance but a creator of beauty. A skilled blacksmith and artisan, he was most known for his devotion to his forge, where he crafted not only decorative jewelry, drinking vessels, furniture, but also weapons (including Zeus' thunderbolts) and armor for the gods and heroes.There is a section listing all his brilliantly crafted creations; at the end is a lengthy collection of links to texts and images. (NOTE: for more excerpts from this fine site, see my Greek section on Hephaestus.)
In Roman mythology, Hephaestus was called Vulcan (which means fire), and was the god of volcanic fire and the forge; he was also called Mulsiber. Because people feared the devastations of uncontrollable fires, temples to Vulcan were built outside of town. According to the Romans, his smoky, flaming workshop was inside Mount Etna, the Sicilian volcano. Hephaestus’s festival in Rome, known as Vulcanilia, was celebrated on August 23 (the first day of Virgo) to protect people from destructive fire....
From Laurel Bowman comes a fine collection of many ancient texts related to Hephaistos. Texts are organized by topic.
Again from Laurel Bowman comes an excellent collection of images relating to Hephaistos and deities associated with him.
This is a very brief, illustrated page on Italy's fire-god, Vulcan:http://www.pantheon.org/mythica/articles/p/prometheus.html...Vulcan was also the god of fire, usually in destructive form like forest fires, volcano eruptions, etc. Because of this his temples were always built outside of the town. Originally an old Italian deity, Vulcan was identified with the Greek god Hephaestus in classical times....
Prometheus Stealing Fire from Zeus and Ganymeade
No consideration of Greek Fire Deities would be complete without the famous Prometheus. This page is by Jonathan Vadakethu for Encyclopedia Mythica, a brief entry on this Titan who stole fire from the gods. Why? Because he felt pity for humanity. The page has a clickable image of the young Titan being savaged daily by a bird attacking his liver.Myth*ing Links Essay on Prometheus
Don't miss the link to articles on Prometheus -- these include works of rich contemporary relevance -- do explore these! Eventually, I'll grok them more thoroughly for my Greek pages but it could be months, even years, before I get to this (I'm writing this 31 May 2001) -- so don't miss this page in the meantime.
[Added 9/2/11]: These are my reluctant and very, very personal thoughts on this tortured fire-stealer.http://web.archive.org/web/20011109232835/http://www.hsa.brown.edu/~maicar/Prometheus1.html: [9/2/11: now on Web Archive]:
Excellent page on Prometheus from Carlos Parada with primary sources and much more.
Myth*ing Links Essay on Hestia
The fire-goddess, Vesta, Hestia's counterpart in Rome
© Sandra Stanton -- used with her kind permission
[Added 9/2/11]: These are my personal thoughts on this reclusive Greek goddess (Roman: Vesta, with her vestal virgins).
SEE 6 UNGROKKED LINKS BELOW
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This page created with Netscape Gold 3.01 & 4.7
Technical assistance: William Weeks
Text and Design:
Copyright © 2001-2011 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved except where noted.
Page designed & launched (with ungrokked links)
on Earth Day, 22 April 2001
7-8 May 2001 (began annotating links); 13 May 2001; 30-31 May 2001.
10 October 2005: updated 2 Herb Kane links and added a 3rd for him.
6:40am, 2 September 2011: have been up much of the night updating the many broken links on this page (also added 3 more images).
Probably all my pages have broken links -- that's simply unavoidable with such an ephemeral technology.
But this page was worse than most, as Kasia -- one of my faithful readers -- pointed out yesterday.
So I decided to fix it tonight because it might be months, even years, before I can get to it again.
Credits: fire background comes from Varian's DreamTiles.
6 UNGROKKED LINKS:
http://web.archive.org/web/20010624115531/http://www.wicca.drak.net/malaria/fire2.html: [9/2/11: now on Web Archive]:
Cross-cultural fire deities.http://www.windows.ucar.edu/cgi-bin/tour_def/mythology/gods_n_goddesses.html
Cross-cultural fire deities.http://web.archive.org/web/19981206093345/http://members.aol.com/xiuhcoatl/huehue.htm: [9/2/11: now on Web Archive]:
Meso-american fire deities.http://solar-center.stanford.edu/folklore/folklore.html
"Fun Myths About Ancient Sun Gods" is the title of this page geared for younger readers.http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Thebes/3803/Prome.html
9/2/11: Prometheus...left message with REOCITIES for updates on this former GEOcities link. They will eventually restore it. Be patient!