When iron-smelting techniques by means of fire became prevalent among Neolithic peoples, as in Indonesia and Africa, the making of iron in shaft furnaces and bellows has been interpreted as coitus with a following birth .
Where geysers and volcanos indicate that the earliest fire is beneath the surface of the earth, fire is brought forth by animals and personalities. The Maori hero Maui seizes it from his ancestress Mahuike in the depth of the earth and puts it into a tree. Since that time it was possible to get fire from the wood of the trees . In regions practicing a certain ancestor worship, hunters obtained the fire in the subterranean world of the dead . Before the Iron Age , the generating of fire with the assistance of fire borers, or fire saws, was regarded as a sexual act , especially in southern and eastern Africa, India, Indonesia, and Mexico. From the creation myths of the Dayak of Borneo, fire is created by rubbing a liana on a tree and is translated as coitus. The Tlingit of the American Northwest tell a story of the magical conception of a woman by the sawdust of the flame borer.
This conceptual framework seems to be a late consequence of earlier ideas of passion in the body of humans, especially of women, as a centre of sexual life. Such views are probably most pronounced among the native peoples of Papua New Guinea and Australia. The Marind in New Guinea, whose myth of the origin of passion views it as deriving from the sexual act, undertake the new boring of fire in connection with a cultic act where the raping of a woman is the central rite. Founded in New Guinea, there is a myth that fire lies in women's genitals, especially of the first woman.
Stories are told of ancestors, heroes, or creatures of primeval times who purloined the flame from the higher numina . Bringers of civilization, like the Greek god Prometheus, fetch itoften together with fruits of the field, iron, or musical instruments--from heaven. Like Prometheus, Nommo, the primal being among the Dogon of Mali, brings fire and the first fruits of the field down to the earth. Nommo himself is the first blacksmith, although Prometheus steals the fire from the Hephaestus. In both areas this cultural achievement is celebrated with annual torchlight parades . Elsewhere birds or other animals--like the dog , who's closely allied to the hearth fire--would be the bringers of fire. Animals fetch the fire from the lord of the animals in the bush.
Iranian fire stunt was derived from the cult of this god Ātar, but it was made a fundamental act in Zoroastrianism. Fire worship is still practiced among the Parsis of India: in temples the sacred fire is maintained by a priest using sandalwood, while his mouth is bound with a purifying shawl; fire in new temples is kindled from the fire of the older temples; household fires are not allowed to go out and are greeted in the morning by the members of their family and offered sandalwood. Parsis don't practice cremation, as do adherents of traditional Indian religions, lest the fire be contaminated; instead, they deposit their dead in the 'towers of silence' , where vultures consume the flesh.