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Sacred Flames

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If you have a god of fire and/or the sun, you could leave the fire associated with them completely normal — holy only as a symbol. But another form it can take is to have their worshippers be able to wield their fire as a magical weapon, among other uses. This covers all forms of fire which are magic or otherwise important because they are religious or otherwise related to the divine in nature. It is possible to have multiple types of Sacred Flame within a setting, or Sacred Flame as well as mundane magical fire (or just plain mundane fire).

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One of the powers of Sacred Flames will often be Fire Purifies, as a literalization of Holy Burns Evil or to Burn the Undead. They may happen to be a type of eternal flame, constantly burning whether through magical or mundane means, but this isn't required. Another property might be that these flames don't burn the faithful, or just don't burn in general. If a weapon is Forged by the Gods, this type of flame may be used in the forging process.

The (unholy) inversion of Sacred Flames is Hellfire. Compare Fanatical Fire, The Flame of Life, and Heal It with Fire. The Phoenix is closely associated with this trope, as are fire-breathing examples of Dragons Are Divine. Contrast Holy Water. Can be the purview of a God of Fire if their flames have holy properties.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Digimon:
    • Digimon Adventure tri.: Holydramon's attack is called Holy Flame and causes her to breathe a fire stream imbued with divine properties. It has been shown to be powerful enough to throw the nearly unstoppable Ordinemon off balance.
    • Digimon Adventure: (2020): Holydramon and her Holy Flame attack make a return, accompanying the anime debut of Goddramon whose attacks both use holy fire. His God Fist is an Elemental Punch imbued with this while his God Flame is a Hand Blast fired from both fists.

    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four Issue #260 archnemesis Doctor Doom gets his body obliterated during a fight between Tyros The Terrible and the Silver Surfer. Doom's mind resides in the body of a bystander, who now uses "Gypsy magic" and the "Flames of Falroth" in his Latverian castle to try and reconstruct his mortal body. When these sacred flames cannot undo the disintegration, they summon The Beyonder instead. It's an awkward moment, having recently returned from the Secret Wars.
  • New Warriors Volume 5: In issue #6, Hummingbird generates divine fire which she uses to destroy a demon that was possessing Thor. However, she was overcome in that moment by Huitzilopochtli and has no memory of the event after it concludes.

    Literature 
  • In Black Friar of the Flame by Isaac Asimov, the people of Earth, under occupation by alien conquerors, have a sacred flame that symbolises the human spirit. The priests tending it have a mechanism that can cause it to flare up and change colour, in case they need to stage a "miracle".
  • Diana Tregarde: At one point in Burning Water, a minor character is under a mind-control spell cast using Sympathetic Magic. Another character kindles a sacred fire to burn the tie away — when the torch gets close to the astral form of the tie, it intensifies to near-blowtorch levels. (The ritual works.)
  • In The Dresden Files, Soulfire is the holy counterpart to Hellfire. The power to use it can only be divinely granted and it uses up some of your soul every time you use it (it does grow back though), but it works really well for smiting the unholy.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: In the Mage Storms trilogy, a sacred fire is lit on the altars of Vkandis (supposedly by the god, but corrupt priests used a fire-starting spell instead) as part of the winter solstice ceremony.
  • The Purifying Fire: The titular Fire is a constant font of pure White mana found on the plane of Regatha. It probes the soul of all who enter its flames, and destroys anyone in which it detects sin or evil.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Sacred flames are par for the course for priests of R'hllor, an in-universe deity associated with fire and life. Allegedly with R'hllor's help, the Red Priests shown in the series have been able to perform supernatural feats yet unmatched by any septon or septa note , such as seeing into the future and bringing people Back from the Dead.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • Eru Ilúvatar is strongly associated with fire symbolism. His divine power and ability to create true, ensouled life is described as the Flame Imperishable, and in The Lord of the Rings Gandalf — a lesser Maiar and thus a servant of Ilúvatar — identifies himself as "servant of the secret fire, wielder of the flame of Anor" during the confrontation with the Balrog Durin's Bane within the Mines of Moria.
    • What Gandalf refers to there, is Narya: the Ring of Fire. It allows its user some degree of control over fire and other forms of light: as well as the ability to give people hope (which is often described using fire metaphors). As with the One Ring, the Rings of Power each have their own natures: and Narya's is fiery, bold and passionate. For this reason, the smith who made them gave each ring to a wielder whose nature was aligned with the opposite element to their ring.
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    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "The Brain of Morbius", the Sisterhood of Karn tend to a sacred flame from which the distill the Elixir of Life: a potent aid to healing. According to the Doctor, the flame is fed by a vent of natural gas. The gas picks up various minerals as it travels through which, when heated up by the flame and cooled back down, condense to form the elixir. The flame is dying, but the Doctor diagnoses the problem as a build up of soot from centuries of burning, and clears the blockage with a firework.
  • In Supernatural, angels are incapable of crossing the flames from ignited holy oil, much as table salt wards off several other types of monsters.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In traditional Aztec religion, the god of fire Xiuhtecuhtli had the New Fire Ceremony on 52 year intervals. On the day in which the 365-day solar and the 260-day sacred calendars ended on the same day, a procession of priests dressed as Aztec gods would make the trip to the summit of the extinct volcano Huizachtecatlnote  while every flame in the Aztec realm was put out. Upon reaching the summit, they would wait until the "fire drill" constellationnote  was above the horizon before sacrificing a person, removing his heart, and using a fire drill to make a fire on the chest of the sacrificial victim.note  This fire would then be taken by runners to every city and village in order to relight their fires. If the ritual was not completed, it was believed Aztec civilization would end.
  • In The Bible there are many metaphors for fire being a sacred force:
    • God appears to Moses as a burning bush whose flames do not burn.
    • The sacred flame used at the sacrificial altar for offerings was originally lit by God Himself. He further tasked the Israelite priests with keeping it lit while making clear that no fires from any other sources were to be used for sacrifices.
    • More than once, God is represented by fire. Both the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament call God a "consuming fire". In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit comes down on the Apostles on Pentecost in the form of tongues of fire.
  • Some Christian and Jewish places of worship feature sanctuary lamps showing the divine presence. Candles also feature prominently in some celebrations-such as Hannukah and Advent-as symbols for God's light and love.
  • In Catholicism, Purgatory is where the virtuous dead are purged of their sins by fire before continuing on to heaven.
  • Especially in Protestant traditions, describing God's power using fire metaphors is very common. To many, far too common. Particularly in the 19th Century, the hymns could be rather excessively martial in tone: with fire metaphors featuring prominently. It's worth noting though that God's power is more often described using water metaphors in the Psalms themselves.
  • In Greek Mythology, Hestia, goddess of the hearth was honored in every Greek home with scraps of food fed to the fireplaces as thanks for keeping them warm and comfortable. Her Roman counterpart, Vesta, was even more highly regarded. The fires of her temple were always kept burning by the Vestal Virgins dedicated to her service. It's said that the flames were synonymous with the continuation and prosperity of the Roman Empire. She was so beloved that mass protests and outrage broke out when emperor Theodosius I closed the temple and extinguished the flame in favor of Christianity. Sure enough, the Roman Empire was fractured into east and west halves by the end of his reign, and the west would fall to continual invasions from the Gauls and Huns.
  • The yearly descent of Holy Fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is viewed as one of the greatest miracles in Orthodox Christianity. On the day preceding Orthodox Easter, blue light is supposed to emit from the marble slab where Jesus' body was laid, creating a column of fire whose flames not only light the church, but doesn't burn the clergy or pilgrims.
  • In Mesopotamian Mythology, sacred flames dedicated to Nuska, the god of fire and light and vizier to Enlil, were used to transport sacrificial offerings into the presence of the gods.
  • Zoroastrians regard fire as sacred, so their temples each maintain an eternal flame as a holy symbol of Ahura Mazda.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The 3E divine spell Flame Strike calls down a bolt of fire from the heavens that does half fire damage and half divine damage. The divine half is not subject to damage resistance to fire-based attacks.
    • 5th edition, in addition to the aforementioned Flame Strike, has a cantrip for Clerics literally called Sacred Flame, which deals radiant damage as part of the magic priest's arsenal.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: The Court of Swords are associated with healthy passion (especially The Four Loves) and the element of fire, and many of their Charms create various kinds of magical fires with unusual properties.
  • Promethean: The Created: Prometheans are powered by Azoth, the Divine Fire that fuels their supernatural powers and acts as a general "power stat" in the Point Build System.
  • Warhammer:
    • Warhammer Fantasy Battle: The Flames of Asuryan are an eternal fire that burns within the temple of the chief elven god. The prospective Phoenix Kings of the High Elves have to step into this fire after being elected by the council of Ulthuan's princes, and if seen as worthy by the god are blessed with great power and extended lifespan. When the ambitious prince Malekith tried to forcefully usurp the throne and stepped into the flames himself, he was instead horribly burned.
    • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: The Sacred Flame of Ulric is believed to allow the city of Middenheim and its people to endure for long as the flame stays lit. According to one legend, when Magnus was being accused by the High Priest of Ulric of being a blasphemer, he willingly walked into the flames to prove Ulric's favor, and he didn't get burned.

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE: The Sacred Fire is a continuously burning fire that Turaga Vakama purportedly uses to divine prophecies, although in reality it's a cover for the visions he continues to receive. The fire itself does help him concentrate, however.

    Video Games 
  • Dark Souls: The First Flame is the origin of all light and souls (except the Dark Soul, which the setting's humans possess) in the game.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, The Paladin Cecil has the Holy Flame attack which will summon a pillar of white fire from under enemies.
  • In Divinity: Original Sin II, Sacred Fire is any fire that has been blessed with Source, and has the property of healing living beings instead of harming them (and doing damage to The Undead). Its opposite is Necrofire, which deals extra damage and cannot be put out with water and water-based magic.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, the Dragonfires when lit serve to protect Nirn from the realms of Oblivion, preventing the Daedra from manifesting there permanently and preventing the easy opening of Oblivion portals, and were originally created from the Dragon God Akatosh gifting his blood to Alessia.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Celica's signature move Ragnarok Omega is a powerful fire based spell that was originally granted to Zofia I, first ruler of the kingdom Zofia, by the Earth Mother Mila herself.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates the Flame Tribe Rinkah hails from worships the God of Flame embodied in a holy volcano near their village, and keep a sacred flame burning at all times to honor him. Once when the flame was put out by an invading enemy tribe, the God responded by having the volcano erupt and do major damage to both sides.
  • In God of War III has the Flame of Olympus, originally the lock for Pandora's Box, and the source of Zeus' godly might.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, in order for Link to power up the Goddess Sword into the Master Sword, he has to temper it with the three Sacred Flames associated with Din, Nayru, and Farore, which according to Hyrule Historia are manifestations of the Force, the essence of life itself.
  • Octopath Traveler: The Church of the Sacred Flame is a continent-wide religion revering the fire casted down by Aelfric the Flamebringer, leader of the twelve gods that vanquished the evil god Galdera. Every twenty years, a member of the church becomes the Flamebearer who takes part in the pilgrimage by bringing the fire from Flamesgrace and perform the Kindling ceremony to reignite the flames in two other locations. This is where Ophilia's story begins when she volunteers to take the pilgrimage in her adopted sister's place when her adopted father grows ill. This is nearly inverted when Mattias, the antagonist of Ophilia's story, uses Lianna to corrupt the Flame to Galdera's Flame in order to obtain his power.
  • Path of Exile has a number of holy-themed fire skills, which have a distinct white or orange color to them. They're also distinct for regular fire skills in that they deal part physical damage. Innocence, the patron god of Oriath, wields these purifying flames as a weapon.
  • Pokémon: The move Sacred Fire is learned by the legendary Pokémon Ho-oh, who is believed to have the power to bring the dead back to life, and was formerly its Signature Move until Generation VI when the closely associated Enteinote  gained the ability to learn it. While not the absolute strongest of Fire-type moves, it does come with a higher chance of inflicting burns.
  • Street Fighter: Dhalsim's Yoga Fire is a gift granted from the Hindu fire god Agni.
  • In Tales of Berseria and Tales of Zestiria, the Flames of Purification are flames created by powerful malakhim and seraphim in order to purify Malevolence, and humans can use them via pacts with either being.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Priests have Holy Fire that used to do Fire damage before later patches modified it into Holy damage instead, doing extra damage against demons and the undead. It still looks like they're being set on fire from above, though. It's likely this spell is actually a combination of The Light and Elemental Fire, much as fire mages use a combination of arcane magic and elemental fire.
    • The Light is often described using fire analogies, although this talk is generally associated with the more...zealous...sects. It also literally sets undead creatures on fire, even undead priests. The Light itself is more like Water with its healing and emotional manipulation effects, akin to how chemicals like sodium combust when placed in water.
  • In Six Ages, building a shrine to Osara (female aspect of the Riders' sun god) will reward the clan with extra powerful fire-tipped arrows. One event chain challenges the player to deal with children who have manifested Rider-typical pyromantic abilities 'way too young; you can ask the gods to remove their blessing, but that has a chance of angering them.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Sun Warriors are a Mayincatec civilization who were the original firebenders. They keep a sacred fire called the Eternal Flame in their temple, gifted to man by the dragons, and it has been burning for thousands of years. Aang and Zuko must each take a piece to the firebending Masters and dragons Ran and Shao.


Alternative Title(s): Sacred Fire, Holy Flames, Divine Fire, Holy Fire

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