With its ability to generate heat, create light, cook food, sterilise water, transform materials and more, fire is a resource that humans have relied on for millennia.


Throughout this time, humans have developed a relationship with fire that extends into myth and religion, with a variety of fire gods and goddesses being created by countless cultures as symbols of its importance.

Just like the collective of water gods through world history, fire gods exist across a spectrum of creation, destruction, protection and war. They represent the importance of fire to human life – and death.

Naturally, then, their legends vary greatly depending on what culture and time they belong to.

If you're curious about this fiery pantheon, delve into the fascinating world of fire gods and goddesses; explore their roles, origins, and the cultures that forged and worshipped them.

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Fire gods and goddesses: which are the most famous in world history?

  • Agni – Hindu god of fire, sun, and lightning
  • Belenus – Celtic god of fire and light
  • Brigid – Celtic goddess of hearth fire, healing, and fertility
  • Hephaestus – Greek god of fire, metalworking, and craftsmanship
  • Kagutsuchi – Japanese god of fire
  • Kōjin – Japanese god of fire
  • Logi – Norse symbol of fire
  • Pele – Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes
  • Prometheus – Greek Titan and god of fire
  • Ra – Egyptian god of fire and the sun
  • Shango – Yoruba god of fire, thunder, and lightning
  • Vulcan – Roman god of fire, metalworking, and volcanoes
  • Xiuhtecuhtli – Aztec god of fire and hearths
  • Zhurong – Chinese god of fire

Greek fire gods


A marble statue of a metalworking god of fire
A marble statue of a metalworking god of fire. (Photo by Jastrow via Louvre Museum)

Name: Hephaestus

Origin: Greek

Known as: Greek god of fire, volcanoes, blacksmiths, and metalworking

Family: Son of Hera (Greek goddess of women) and Zeus (Greek god of the sky)

Hephaestus – the Olympian god of fire, metalworking and craftsmanship – cut a unique figure among the ancient Greek pantheon. He was born with a physical disability, characterised generally as ‘lameness’ and possibly bilateral congenital clubfeet.

Different myths explain how this shaped his life; some suggest that he was the son of Zeus and Hera, cast away from Mount Olympus by his mother upon seeing his physical form. Others claim he was born from Hera alone through asexual reproduction – a defiant act against Zeus.

Regardless of his origin, Hephaestus established his base in the mortal world on the Aegean island of Lemnos and, embracing the power of the isle’s volcanoes, he created his forge.

From Hermes’ iconic winged helmet and sandals to Achilles' near-invulnerable armour, and the thunderbolts wielded by Zeus himself, Hephaestus was renowned for making creations with immense skill and artistry.

Hephaestus's ingenuity also led him to create automatons: animated metal beings that would work for him as directed, and some Greek myths credit him with passing on his knowledge to humanity, sharing his power of metalworking.

Hephaestus’s position as one of the leading Greek gods is cemented by his marriage to Aphrodite: the goddess of fertility, sex and beauty. However, this relationship wasn’t without its troubles.

In fact, Aphrodite had an infamous affair with Ares, the god of war, and the pair had several children together. Throughout this, Hephaestus and Aphrodite stayed married.


Name: Prometheus

Origin: Greek

Known as: God of fire and a Titan

Family: Son of Iapetus (a Titan) and Clymene (Oceanid nymph) or Asia (Oceanid nymph), or Eurymedon (a Titan) and Hera (goddess of women and marriage)

One of the Titans – a pre-Olympian race of gods – Prometheus is known for bringing fire to humankind in ancient Greek legend.

A genius and a trickster, he stole fire from Mount Olympus and the grasp of the gods, and gifted it to humanity. As a punishment for his transgression, Prometheus was condemned to eternal torment by Zeus; he was chained to a rock, and each day an eagle would descend and eat his liver, only for the organ to grow back for the eagle to feed on again the next day.

Unlike many other gods of fire, he doesn’t symbolise the element and is primarily associated with it through his actions.

Honourable mentions among the Greek pantheon

Hestia | Goddess of the hearth and home, Hestia maintained the hearth fire on Mount Olympus

Roman fire gods


A painting of Venus and Vulcan.
A painting of Venus and Vulcan. (Photo by Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

Name: Vulcan, Vulcanus

Origin: Roman

Known as: Roman god of fire and metalworking

Family: Son of Jupiter (god of the sky) and Juno (queen of the gods)

Vulcan is the Roman god of fire, metalworking and the forge. He holds a significant place in Roman mythology and religious practices as the son of Jupiter and Juno, king and queen of the gods.

Vulcan, or Vulcanus in Latin, is typically depicted as a powerful figure with a hammer and anvil, embodying the creative and destructive power of fire. Legends describe him as a master blacksmith, forging formidable weapons and armour for gods and heroes alike.

Vulcan's mythology is filled with tales of his craftsmanship and influence over fire; one story involves his creation of Jupiter's thunderbolts. In another, Vulcan constructs a net of metal to trap his unfaithful wife, Venus, with her lover, Mars.

The worship of Vulcan was important to Roman society, particularly among blacksmiths and craftsmen. His primary festival, the Vulcanalia, was celebrated on 23 August each year. During this event, Romans performed rituals to appease Vulcan and prevent destructive fires, including the sacrificial burning of small animals and the lighting of bonfires.

Vulcan's temples and altars, most notably the Vulcanal at the Forum in Rome, served as central points for his veneration.

Honourable mentions among the Roman pantheon

Vestia | The Roman counterpart of Hestia, Vestia’s servants tended to the sacred flame in the Temple of Vestia and was the goddess of hearth and home.

Fornax | A minor god, Fornax represented the intense heat of industry and ovens, and she was the goddess of the furnace

Egyptian fire gods


Egyptian god Ra depicted on papyrus.
Egyptian god Ra depicted on papyrus. (Photo By DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini via Getty Images)

Name: Ra, Re

Origin: Ancient Egyptian

Known as: God of the sun and the first pharaoh of ancient Egypt

Family: Self-born in most accounts, sibling of Apep (god of darkness), Sobek (god of power) and Serket (goddess of healing)

There are a number of Egyptian gods associated with fire, however it’s Ra, one of the central gods in the ancient Egyptian religion, who embodies fire, the Sun, and the essence of life.

Egyptian mythology portrays him as the creator god, the ruler of the heavens, and the bringer of warmth and light. He also represented the pharaohs’ divine right to rule, as each pharaoh was seen as a living manifestation of Ra on Earth.

Given this status, Ra was not just the sun god, but the king of all ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses. It was his reign that ensured the cosmic balance – represented by Ma’at.

The Egyptians believed Ra's journey across the sky in his solar boat, traversing the celestial Nile, represented the passage of time and the daily cycle of life and death.

The daily journey of Ra's solar boat held immense significance: it was believed that during the day, Ra battled the forces of darkness and chaos, personified by the serpent Apep. Victorious each day, Ra ensured the sun's rise, bringing light and life to the world.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, Ra was believed to travel through the underworld, battling further threats before emerging reborn each morning.

Honourable mentions among the Egyptian pantheon

Sekhmet | Daughter of Ra, Sekhmet was a lioness goddess of war. Her power was sometimes referenced in relation to the sun and fire.

Wadjet | A serpentine goddess who harnessed the power of fire to destroy her enemies.

Hindu fire gods


rides on his caparisoned.
Three-headed and four-armed Agni rides on his caparisoned. (Photo by Pierce Archive LLC/Buyenlarge via Getty Images)

Name: Agni, Ugnis, Agnish

Origin: Vedic and Hindu

Known as: God of fire

Family: Son of Kashyapa (a mythic sage) and Aditi (mother of gods)

Agni, the Vedic and Hindu god of fire, occupies a fascinating position within the Hindu religion and mythology. He represents the physical and spiritual forms of fire as well as its capacity for both destruction and creation, and the role of fire in sacrifice.

Omnipresent across all aspects of Hindu belief, Agni manifests in three tangible forms. He exists as the earthly fire (Bhumi Agni) used in rituals and hearths; the celestial fire (Daharakasha Agni) of the sun, providing warmth and sustaining life; and the fire within all living beings (Jatharagni) that digests food and generates internal heat.

Like so many ancient gods, Agni's origins in religious myth are ambiguous and the Rigveda, the oldest Hindu scripture, presents several narratives. In some, he is described as the son of Dyaus (god of the sky) and Prithvi (goddess of the Earth), symbolising fire's hold on both the celestial and the terrestrial. Other stories depict him as self-born.

One of Agni's primary roles in the Hindu religion relates to his presence as a connection between the human and divine worlds through his association with sacrifice. Agni serves as the divine priest, the ‘hotṛ’ who carries offerings made during rituals to the heavens. The sacrificial fire acts as a bridge, ensuring the proper flow of communication and offerings between the two realms.

The mythology of Agni also points to the power of fire to destroy life, and well as to enable it: the Mahabharata, an epic Indian poem, depicts Agni devouring the mythical Khandava forest with wildfire.

Honourable mentions among the Hindu pantheon

Surya | The god of the sun, Surya is the world’s source of light and heat

Javali | A lesser deity associated with volcanoes and sacrificial fires

Norse fire gods


Name: Logi or Hálogi

Origin: Norse

Known as: Symbol of fire

Family: Son of Fornjótr and the brother of Ægir or Hlér (Jötunn who symbolises the seas) and Kári (Jötunn who symbolises wind)

Among the Viking gods, there is no single deity that represents or symbolises fire. Instead, it is a Jötunn named Logi who is the personification of fire.

In Norse mythology, the Jötunn are most often depicted as a cosmic race of fearsome giants who are, in the main, adversaries of the Norse gods. However, not all Jötunn are hulking symbols of evil. Some are cunning, wise, and symbolically powerful like Mimir, who guards the well of knowledge at the root of Yggdrasil – the Norse tree of life that connects the cosmos. Logi is one such Jötunn.

Logi's name itself translates to ‘fire’ or ‘flame’ in Old Norse, and he represents fire in its purest form – untamed and destructive, but also a source of warmth and light.

Logi's appearance in Norse myth stems from the Prose Edda, an Old Norse account of myth and legend, where he features in a contest with Loki, the Norse trickster god.

Loki is presented with a series of challenges, one of which involves consuming an entire platter of flaming food. Logi is Loki’s adversary in the contest, identified not as a separate entity but simply as fire itself, effortlessly devouring the meal.

Honourable mentions among the Norse pantheon

Surtr | Like Logi, Surtr is a fire giant Jötunn who is central to the events of Ragnarök and carries a flaming sword into its battles.

Celtic fire gods


Name: Belenus

Origin: Celtic

Known as: God of fire, sun, light, and healing

Family: Not associated with a family

The Celts, a vast and diverse people who once inhabited much of Europe, held a deep reverence for the forces of nature. Among their deities is Belenus, who embodies the warmth and power of the Sun as well as fire.

Reflecting his association with the Sun, the origins of Belenus's name are likely rooted in the proto-Celtic word ‘belo,’ meaning ‘bright.’ Variations of his name, such as Belenos, Belinus, and Beli Mawr, appear across Celtic regions.

Primarily a solar deity, Belenus may have also been worshipped as a god of healing. Healing springs and sanctuaries dedicated to Belenus have been unearthed across Europe, from the Adriatic coast to the British Isles, suggesting people sought his blessing for physical and spiritual wellbeing.

With the Roman conquest of Gaul, a phenomenon known as interpretatio Romana emerged. Roman deities were equated with their Celtic counterparts based on shared characteristics. In this case, Belenus was associated with Apollo, the Roman Sun god, rather than Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and craftwork.

The Celtic fire festival of Beltane, still celebrated today on 1 May, shows how Belenus’s legacy has endured. Beltane marks the beginning of summer, a time of renewed growth and fertility, and celebrates the Sun's life-giving power.


Head of a female deity, likely the Celtic goddess Brigid.
Head of a female deity, likely the Celtic goddess Brigid. (Photo by Werner Forman/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

Name: Brigid, Brigit, Bríd

Origin: Celtic

Known as: Goddess of fire, hearth, poetry, healing, smithcraft, and inspiration

Family: Sometimes the daughter of the Dagda (chief god of life and death) or a lesser deity

While fire is a crucial aspect of Brigid’s domain, it’s a facet of her broader influence over creativity, protection, and inspiration.

Unlike Belenus, who only represents fire's external power, Brigid is intrinsically linked to the hearth fire – the heart of the home. This fire provided warmth, light for crafting, and a space for storytelling, all aspects Brigid presides over.

Healing is another key facet of Brigid's fire. Healing springs were associated with her, and her blessings were sought for physical and spiritual well-being. She is also a patroness of poetry, smithcraft, and inspiration.

Japanese fire gods


Name: Kagutsuchi

Origin: Japanese / Shinto

Known as: God of fire

Family: Son of Izanagi and Izanami (gods of creation)

In the Shinto religion, an indigenous Japanese system of belief, Kagutsuchi is a kami of fire. Kami are divine or spiritual entities that serve as the animating force behind the natural world, broadly (but not entirely) akin to deities and gods in other religions.

Kagutsuchi is the son of Izanagi and Izanami – gods of creation and life. However, being a kami of fire, he fatally burned his mother Izanami when she gave birth to him.

Kagutsuchi’s father, Izanagi beheaded the newly born fire god, creating ‘death’ itself, and other deities were born from his corpse.

Kagutsuchi represents fire's destructive power when a raw, unharnessed force.


A painting of Kojin, Japanese god of the Hearth
A painting of Kojin, Japanese god of the Hearth

Name: Kōjin, Sambō-Kōjin, or Sanbō-Kōjin

Origin: Japanese / Shinto

Known as: God of the stove

Family: Not associated with a family

Kōjin is another kami of fire but is primarily linked to it in a more domestic sense.

Kōjin presides over the essential fire of the hearth; the warmth that cooks food, brings comfort, and wards off the chill.

Blacksmiths and metalworkers also revere him, and he symbolises the idea that a destructive force like fire, when harnessed, can be channelled into something productive and creative.

With this duality in mind, Kōjin isn’t always perceived as being a benevolent kami. If angered, he can unleash devastating flames, and is depicted as a fierce deity with a wild beard and fiery eyes. Offerings of sake and rice can be made to appease him and ensure his continued protection.

Shinto shrines dedicated solely to Kōjin are relatively rare, however within homes and workshops his presence can be acknowledged through small shrines or sacred corners where offerings are made.

Aztec fire gods


Name: Xiuhtecuhtli

Origins: Aztec

Known as: God of fire, day, and heat

Family: Created by the Tezcatlipocas

Xiuhtecuhtli, the ‘Turquoise Lord’, was a central figure in the Aztec pantheon. He wasn't just the god of fire's raw power, but also its transformative potential, encompassing heat, volcanoes, day, and even rebirth.

Xiuhtecuhtli presided over the daily rise of the sun, becoming a symbol of renewal and the cycle of life. Aztec rulers, seen as embodiments of the sun, were considered under his special protection.

Volcanoes, awe-inspiring displays of fire's destructive power, were also Xiuhtecuhtli's domain. He was both revered and feared, as eruptions could bring devastation or fertile ash for new crops.

Honourable mentions in the Aztec pantheon

Chantico | Aztec goddess of the hearth fire, a more domestic aspect of Xiuhtecuhtli's fiery realm.

Yoruba fire gods


A staff used by devotees of Shango the Yoruba god of fire, thunder, and lightning.
A staff used by devotees of Shango the Yoruba god of fire, thunder, and lightning. (Photo by Werner Forman/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

Name: Shango, Sango, Changó

Origin: Yoruba (Nigeria, Benin, Togo)

Known as: God of fire, thunder, lightning, justice, virility, dance

Family: Son of Oranyan (a powerful Yoruba king)

God of fire and storms, Shango was a mythic king of the West African Oyo empire. He was a powerful and charismatic leader, but was also known for his thunderous temper.

Shango became a deity after his death, which occurred – in some stories – when he accidentally struck his palace with lightning in a fit of rage. He wielded this lightning as one of his weapons, while some legends say he could breathe fire.

However, Shango’s followers associate him with not just raw power but also justice, fairness and virility. Like fire, his anger is a force to be respected, but it can also be harnessed for positive change.

Honourable mentions among the Yoruba pantheon

Jakuta | Sometimes associated interchangeably with Shango, Jakuta is a Yoruba deity of fire and the forge. While Shango embodies the power of storms, Jakuta represents the controlled fire used in metalworking and crafts.

Hawaiian fire gods


Statue of Pele, the Hawaiian fire goddess.
Statue of Pele, the Hawaiian fire goddess. (Photo by Werner Forman/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

Name: Pele, Pelehonuamea

Origin: Hawaiian

Known as: Goddess of fire, volcanoes, lightning, dance, and creation

Family: Commonly the daughter of Kane Milohai (sky god) and Haumea (earth goddess)

With its rumbling volcanic landscape, it’s no surprise that the Hawaiian fire goddess, Pele, is intrinsically linked with volcanoes.

Pele is a complex figure in Hawaiian mythology. She embodies the raw power and creative potential of fire, particularly as manifested in volcanoes, the island’s geological foundation.

Volcanoes are seen as Pele's physical domain, but her presence is felt throughout the islands. Volcanic rock is considered sacred, a connection to Pele's fiery essence. Eruptions are seen as both destructive and life-giving, bringing devastation, and also nourishing new growth. Each eruption is said to be a new manifestation of her fiery temper or passionate dance.

Legends depict Pele in various forms. She can appear as a beautiful young woman, enticing and dangerous. Other times, she manifests as an old woman, cloaked in mist and wielding a stick, carving volcanic paths.

Honourable mentions in the Hawaiian pantheon

Kane Milohai | The creator god in some Hawaiian traditions, father of Pele and other deities. He represents the sky, alongside Pele's fiery power.

Chinese fire gods


Name: Zhurong

Origin: Chinese

Known as: God of fire and the south

Family: Possibly descending from the Yan Emperor (god of agriculture) or from the Yellow Emperor (legendary ruler)

While Zhurong's origins are contested, many accounts portray him as a historical figure, whose skill and knowledge in using fire are said to have changed humanity. Eventually, over time, his association with fire and its power elevated him to godhood.

Specifically, Zhurong is credited with teaching humanity how to harness fire for warmth, cooking and metalworking. He especially associated with the south, the hottest region in Chinese cosmology. But, while primarily linked with fire's life-giving potential, Zhurong also presides over its destructive power. Some myths depict him wielding fire as a weapon in legendary battles.

Zhurong is still celebrated in festivals, particularly those related to fire and agriculture. He is depicted as a fierce warrior clad in armour, riding a tiger or even two dragons (symbolising fire and heat).

Honourable mentions among the Chinese pantheon


Huo De Xingjun | A lesser deity representing the ‘Star of Fire’, a symbolic representation of fire in Chinese cosmology.


James OsborneContent producer

James Osborne is a content producer at HistoryExtra where he writes, researches, and edits articles, while also conducting the occasional interview