Fire's symbolic meaning varies in different cultures, but it is often linked to destruction and fear. Because of fire's seemingly magical qualities, it has captivated people for thousands of years.Continue Reading
Fire is difficult to control, and many cultures viewed it as a force that demanded respect and, in many cases, fear. Fire could wipe out a settlement in a short period of time, and communities would struggle to recover. Without modern tools, ancient societies had no means of combating fire, and they often turned to religion in the hopes of avoiding its destructive power.
However, later cultures often took a more nuanced view of fire. While fire leads to destruction, it also allows people to live in colder areas; it was a tool that aided survival when harsh winter temperatures arrived. Fire has also been linked to the idea of renewal. The Greek phoenix, for example, would come back to life after burning, and it served as a symbol of renewal and rejuvenation. In many cultures, fire was viewed as a tool that could be used for good or evil, and being able to control it was viewed as a sign of culture, knowledge and mastery over the natural forces that haunted their ancestors.Learn more about Symbolism
In some cultures, people believe that birthmarks predict future traits of an infant. For example, some believe that a birthmark on the baby's foot is an indication that she will travel a lot as an adult, while a mark on the back may signify that she will be truthful and open-minded. Other people believe that birthmarks originate from specific events experienced during the mother's pregnancy, such as getting a fright or having an fulfilled desire for a certain food.Full Answer >
Imagery of dead birds can have several different meanings in a variety of cultures, but the most common application is symbolic of a loss of freedom. Due to the fact that birds are not Earth-bound like humans, they tend to represent freedom in literature, poetry and art. Therefore, dead birds often represent a loss of freedom, imprisonment or paralysis.Full Answer >
In Native American culture, hummingbirds symbolize the bringing of fire, healing and helping others. In other cultures, such as shamanism, they carry similar symbolism, but may also represent the need for someone to let go of their past.Full Answer >
Robert Frost's "Fire and Ice" discusses the question of whether the end of the world will come in ice or fire, and while that question is part of the meaning, so is the question as to whether cold or heat is the more painful, not just in terms of destruction but also emotion and pain. It is possible to explore the difference between the two on a number of levels based on the text of his poem.Full Answer >