Symbolic Flame YKTTW Discussion

Symbolic Flame
Fire which is given religious or cultural significance.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-08-29 21:21:02 sponsor: Nocturna edited by: Paradisesnake (last reply: 2014-02-24 21:40:31)

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This is one of the many fire-related tropes that were identified as part of the Kill It with Fire TRS thread. Name suggestions and description/definition refinement suggestions are welcome and encouraged.

Indicies: This Index Is On Fire

Fire has long been associated with power, purity, endurance, and destruction. As a result, it is often gains symbolic associations, bearing special significance for a group of people. Often, this symbolic association will be religious in nature, like the sacred flame of Diana in Rome (representing the goddess and never allowed to go out), but it can also be cultural.

Sacred Flames occur when a god imbues his symbolic flames with magic (or holy) power.


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    Tabletop Games 
  • Among the many religious or mystical denominations in Fading Suns, the Templar Avesti are the most prone to kill things with fire. Their church's symbol is a holy flame. Avestite inquisitors and zealot monks wear fire-retardant robes with breathing masks and carry flame throwers when they do battle with mutated monstrosities.
  • Flamethrowers are used extensively by the Sisters of Battle in Warhammer40000, as purifying flame that will purge aliens, mutants and heretics of their faults. Sisters of Battle Seraphim can even dual-wield flame throwers. Less devoted troops use it as, well, a weapon that's extremely effective at killing things.

    Video Games 
  • The burning flame is one of the symbols of the Andrastian Chantry in the Dragon Age series because its founder Andraste was burned at the stake (cf. how Jesus' execution device is the symbol of Christianity IRL).
  • Final Fantasy VII gives us Cosmo Candle (a bonfire, in fact), which is the symbol of Cosmo Canyon, the settlement of wise men and the last place defying the rule of the resident evil corporate state.

    Western Animation 
  • Megas XLR: Coop wrecks a sacred flame that a civilization of robots value greatly. They quickly decide to make getting revenge on him the new task for the successor of the throne.

    Real Life 
  • Some memorials have Eternal Flames.
    • The Eternal flame in Sarajevo, a memorial to the military and civilian victims of the Second World War in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    • The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, has one.
    • The grave of President John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery is marked with an Eternal Flame.
    • Soviet World War II monuments and memorials.
  • The Olympic Games's "Olympic Flame" are a fairly prominent modern example. The flame is transferred from torch to torch in a relay which begins with a ceremony in Athens (where the games originated) until it reaches its destination (which might or might not involve a tour of that games' host nation) until it's used to light a "cauldron" in the opening ceremony which burns for the games' duration before being extinguished.
  • In ancient Rome, the Vestal Virgins (priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the heart) tended a sacred fire that was not allowed to go out.
  • Holy fires are kept in Zoroasrian Fire Temples as symbols of the divine, and were likewise kept ever-burning in ancient Greek temples.

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