Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Weckea D. Lilly
Fire is one of four basic elements in the universe, the others being air, Earth, and water. In many African cosmologies, fire represents the first element because, accordingly, it represents the state in which the world/Earth originated—“a burning planet.” Thus, fire is central to how African people understand the structure and order of the universe. More specifically, the universe is conceptualized as a spiritual force providing for the sustenance of human existence in both physical and spiritual realities. Therefore, fire is an ...