Fire represents many things to many people and cultures. It is recognized as a purifier, a destroyer and as the generative power of life, energy and change. It represents illumination and enlightenment, destruction and renewal, spirituality and damnation.
Fire being of such strange substance, ability and power is believed to have divine origin, which contributes to its use in ritual and religion. In ancient Egypt, scribes wrote in the Papyrus of Ani that the Flame of the Sun was an individual, showing that the mystical nature of fire was viewed as a divine entity rather than a chemical reaction. Sacred fire was carried before the Caesars as a symbol of their perpetual power, indicating that fire was forever in existence and would never dim—as it was believed that the might of the Roman empire would forever blaze across the world.
Fire rituals were very important to the Celts. Beltane, one of the most important, was observed on the first day of May to encourage the sun to warm the earth after the long cold winter. Flaming wheels were rolled down hillsides and placed in the temples of the sky-god where flames were redistributed to the hearths of each home to keep the fires burning for warmth and cooking. The burning wheels were set on their way in an effort to assist the sun on its course across the heavens. Bonfires dotted the hillsides across the Celtic world.
Within the Celtics concept of time they saw three worlds in parallel and simultaneous existence: The Upperworld, The Mundane World, and The Otherworld. But they also believed in a fourth realm called Mide ( the "center"), a powerful place where all the Celtic worlds converged and was symbolized by the institution of the main Celtic government at Tara near Ireland's center. It was at Tara where the Sabbat began with the lighting of the ritual fires.