Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tasmanians not knowing how to make fire?

Since finding out what the real deal was with a tribe in Papua New Guinea that didn't know how to make fire I have to question that, along with the stories of other tribes who don't know how to make fire. With Papua New Guinea it turns out the truth was that although they didn't know how to make new fire they had a sacred flame that had been generated by naturally occurring phenomenon that was kept burning and that they used to light their fires with. It turns out that the notion of a sacred flame by which all the other flames in the territory are lit was a theme in several major cultures, those of the ancient Egyptians and the pre-Christian Irish. There was a sacred flame burning in a special temple that would serve as the sacred fire source for flames all over Ireland, and the sacred flames of Egypt were ceremonially replenished from the central sacred fire every year. Makes you wonder if the source of these traditions was the kind of situation that the tribe in Papua New Guinea and maybe the Tasmanians found themselves in, something that had been carried on even though both cultures worked metal and so knew how to make fires.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Reminds me of that 80's movie "Quest for Fire" with the stone age charachters.
You know, there's probably a raging debate amongst the primitivists over whether people should make fire or use only naturally occuring fire after The Immanent Collapse of Civilization....
I like your blog btw.