Fire as a dream image portends passion and energy and is often associated with the color red, summer, the Sun, volcanoes, and the stars.
Technically fire is a chemical reaction between oxygen in the air and some kind of fuel i.e. wood or gasoline and one more factor, the right ignition temperature, or flash point, (roughly 300 degrees Fahrenheit/150 Celsius for wood). Simply put, the first stage is decomposition of the wood turning the solid into a gas that heats to about 500 0 F causing the carbon (the basic building block of life) in the wood to recombine with the oxygen and flames of fire flash forth.
In many cases the igniter is fire itself e.g. a match– fire begets fire, passionate behaviors often create passionate behaviors in others– a perfect example of this is anger and or hatred. Have you ever noticed that fiery behavior usually evokes an in-kind response? And once anger has hit its ‘flash point’ there’s often no chance of turning back and passions are ignited.
In dreams fire images can show up in a host of ways. Depending on how it shows up it can represent destruction, passion, illumination, enlightenment, transformation or anger. It can symbolize the dreamer’s inner motivation and drive, their creative energy i.e. their internal fire.
Fire can be about one’s temper or temperament (fiery). If burned in the dream it might suggest that someone’s temper is out of control and is hurting someone (the dreamer?). If a house is on fire it might suggest the need for some transformation or that some transformation is taking place that will change the very structure of the dreamer’s inner being.
Setting fire to the dream-self or to the house they’re living in might suggest great distress with something in the dreamers waking life. Sometimes a whole town/city may be burning within the dream and might suggest that one’s whole world is being destroyed, or that big changes are happening or need to happen, or that some old way of thinking or old belief or dependency needs to be let go of.
Putting out a fire may be about getting things under control or the need to get it under control.
Some people dream of magically starting a fire with a wave of the hand that might symbolize repressed anger that may eventually get out of hand through some kind of overreaction.
Underground fires or fires in caves could refer to some repressed passions, desires, or emotions that may need to be dealt with in order for the dreamer to grow forward in their life. Interestingly fires in the sky can be about changing ones viewpoint in order to attain the same growth as represented by the fires beneath the Earth that of course may add meaning to the phrase, “As above, so below”.
I’m also reminded of the phrase, “In the line of fire” that suggests being a target to someone’s wrath. “Under fire” is a phrase used to designate someone under stress and verbal attack– the steel blade of a sword was often heated in fire then thrust into water to harden it for combat. This may have also been part of the derivation of “trial by fire” in that one becomes hardened and tested through adversity.
Fire also can be about cleansing and purification e.g. witches were often burned at the stake in the belief that it would cleanse them in death.
Climbing down a fire escape might suggest that the dreamer’s need to distance themselves from some negativity. A fire extinguisher might suggest getting their emotions under control or controlling some inflamed situation. Burning coals can be about some burning passion as yet unexpressed whereas a firecracker can refer to angry outbursts perhaps even misdirected.
When the image of fire shows up in the image of a fire-breathing dragon it can suggest that the dreamer is using anger to get their own way and that perhaps they need to exercise some self-control.
When fire is experienced as though one were in hell, the dreamer may be experiencing an inescapable situation or suffering from guilt or repressed negative feelings. One may be punishing themselves unnecessarily or to a greater degree than what is called for and perhaps needs to take a break from this.
Summer is of course the hottest time of the year and can represent some hot issue, or sweltering situation, but it can also be about ones midlife or the peak of life. A sweaty summer day might suggest struggles or emotionally heated situations.
When the fire image shows up as the Sun it can often symbolize divine power, enlightenment, or insight. Sometimes the Sun can be a pun for Son and can refer to actual people or an aspect of Jesus of Nazareth or some other divine figure associated with the “light of enlightenment”. The Sun is also thought as a masculine symbol in a dream.
To see the sun (or any star) exploding might suggest some traumatic event in the dreamer’s life that portends the end of something, some relationship or way of life. Sunburns may suggest some problem or burning situation that needs to be attended to.
Fire in the form of fiery suns can be about ones aspirations or ideals but can also be about placing too much in the hands of luck. When these stars go Nova it can symbolize the need to “blow up” some old way of being or letting go of some no longer useful goal. Supernova’s in dreams can also symbolize something brilliant and new or be about shattered dreams, though this destruction may lead to something better over the long run.