Fire: The second of the Four Elements dream symbols




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.

Precognitive dreams



Over the years I’ve had a number of people share dreams where they thought they may have known what was going to happen in the future. I usually skirt the issue and deal with the more tangible images of the dream. When I have commented on the idea of prescience (keen insight), or even the more startling idea of precognition I’ve pointed out that for this to happen you need to have either a keen sense of intuition, or effect would  have to precede cause. Another explanation may be that everything has already happened and we are each living it out, though sometimes our brains malfunction and get ahead of themselves.

Some physicists have studied the phenomena of time and the direction it seems to go in and as it turns out not only does the past seem to make the present, but, oops, the present also seems to make the past and not just a person’s present experience of the past.

At the very miniscule quantum level, that is at the size of a photon of light, it appears that decisions made in how to observe an experimental result actually feedback to the beginning of the event and changes it. In short, the effect can come before the cause. Huh?

Does that mean that not only do our choices today affect the future, but they also affect our past? And does that then suggest that our future affects our present? Does that mean I can change my present by affecting my past? No, is the answer presented by Dr. Fred Alan Wolf PhD popular physicist and author of Taking The Quantum Leap (1989) and Time Loops and Space Twists (2010.) According to him there needs to be a conservation of continuity with regard to time that is when something has happened regardless of whether you’ve affected it in the present toward the past, or the future toward the present it cannot be changed to do so would quite literally split the universe into two universes where each of the two-time lines can co-exist side by side, but not as one.

But does this phenomenon exist in the macro world of our everyday life? In my book The Dragon’s Treasure (see Books by Author at right) I spend an entire chapter on time and report on a study done by two psychologists, Kolers and Grunau, from The University of Toronto (pg 154) where the results suggested that perhaps our minds don’t actually interpret events chronologically. The work of Dr. Roger Penrose also suggests that the ancient Hermetic axiom, “as above, so below” is true in that the quantum realm may be reflected in the macro, or human scale as well.

This asynchronous experience of reality shows up in dreams more often than not. Dreams seem to follow something other than linear time e.g. a nonlinear time, cause and effect is often turned on its head, and in fact everything seems to come at random. Why is this?

The answer may lay, in part, to one of the purposes of dreams e.g. to down load the days experiences, sort through them and encode those that may be of survival benefit and trashing those that may not. These memory fragments may come forward through association, one image associating with another thus appearing random in nature, or irrational. Also that part of the brain called the conscious mind is set up to perceive linearly, but that is the part that is shut down during sleep and the unconscious doesn’t need to work linearly. But both seem real when we are in them. They are even complimentary in that they both see reality, but from different temporal perspectives, thus they offer the potential for the wholeness that doesn’t exist in either, but does within the integration of their opposition–a process Carl Jung called Individuation. Following this concept of complimentary opposition it is no surprise that linear consciousness has its corollary in unconscious nonlinearity.

Sometimes in order for us to perceive reality as it is we need to function outside of linear time where we are not bound by the rules of cause and effect. It is in this realm where the creative composer, artist, poet, and writer dwells and expresses their spirit. It may also be there that we can remember what is yet to become.

It’s as the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s, ˆThrough the Looking Glass” said to Alice, “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.”