Something about lighting a fire signifies: “now we choose actions with serious intent.” Our lighting a UU chalice is one of many types of fire ritual. Fire can symbolize creation and destruction, comfort and cruelty, the eternal and the ephemeral, the power of intense emotion and the illusory nature of all experience, the brightness of Heaven and the torments of Hell. How can a single phenomenon represent so many concepts? What makes fire such a versatile engine of ritual?
BIOGRAPHY: Jim Gasperini is currently writing a cultural history of fire entitled Fire in the Mind. A longtime member of UUCB, he has served as Worship Associate, Chalice Circle Facilitator, and Webmaster. He has authored educational computer games, books for children about history, and interactive multimedia works of art. A longtime “burner” (attendee of the Burning Man festival), he was a member of the High Council of the Burning Man Opera.