Word-Whore Jeffe mentioned Prometheus early this week - the poor guy who dared defy the Greek Gods and who brought fire to humans. Do you suppose he was really strung up as a sacrifice to an eagle simply because he wanted to teach humans how to scramble an egg? (Refresher - he was bound to a rock for all eternity. An eagle comes each day and tears out his liver which subsequently grows back overnight so he can undergo this torture again the following day. That's more than an annoyed God.) No. The issue is that we're not talking about simple fire - the fires with which we cook, or with which we heat our homes. Fire, as it's spoken of in this myth is something much bigger, much greater than a few seared pieces of rabbit or deer meat.
Fire in the metaphysical traditions equates to Will, to the power within each of us to embody Fire. When used consciously and carefully, each of us is capable of channeling Will (or Fire, if you prefer) to shed light on some part of ourselves or our lives. We can use that Fire within to burn away and release those things that no longer serve us. In this aspect Fire equals transformation, the burning away of the old and out dated. It's a controlled burn, clearing space for something new, and laying down a nourishing ash base from which new growth can arise. (There's some discussion in metaphysical circles that this is the original concept of Hellfire - not punishment per se - but transformation.) The problem is that if you get carried away, if the Fire takes you, the focused laser turns into a raging inferno - think of some of the horrifying forest fires that have scarred the US recently. In this aspect, Fire becomes the Destroyer, like Kali or Sekhmet angered by Her people. You burn up everything in your path, including you.
Because Fire is equated with Will, which is the drive within each of us to destroy and to create, it is the element most closely associated with the Divine spark in each of us. THIS, I suspect, is what Prometheus actually stole from the Gods on Olympus. That's the Fire he delivered to humans - that tiny destructive/creative spark that drives us to achieve whatever it is we're each driven to achieve. That's what drove the Greek Gods to sentence Prometheus to an eternity of liver laceration. Not that I'm against the odd explosion or three. Or nicely seared meat or a cooked egg. I just don't think cooking our food made humans competitors to the Gods. But that Divine spark thing? Oh yeah.
(Image Source: http://www.nightingail.com/fractals/g1sekhmet.html