Pipe Smoking and Fire and Prometheus

Pipe smoking and fire, and of course Prometheus — what do they have to do with one another? Well, you can’t burn that burley without a flame, can ya? Breach-Bang-Clear

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Pipes, Fire, and Prometheus

Stephanie Kimmell, via Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine

In quiet moments of pipe-smoking solitude, the mind is free to wander and imagine. Eventually, thoughts land upon consideration of the pipe itself, and the constructs that make it function so satisfactorily. Of the four anciently-revered elements of earth, air, fire, and water, only fire allows the pipe to work its magic. How did man first learn to tame and control it?

The Greeks had their version of how mankind came to possess fire. According to mythology, it was the god Prometheus (his name means “forethought”) who first gave men fire and acquainted them with architecture, astronomy, mathematics, writing, animal husbandry, navigation, medicine, prophecy, and the working of metal. But Zeus, god of the sky and rain, supreme ruler of all gods, was deeply unpleased that man had been given the gift of fire. He believed fire was to be reserved for the gods alone. After being tricked by Prometheus in a matter involving a sacrificial bull, Zeus commanded that the fire be removed from man.

Pipe-smoking and fire: Zeus reserved fire from mankind.
Zeus removed fire from mankind, which needless to say made things tough for pipe-smokers and cigar aficianados.

Prometheus was a friend of mankind, and he saw the miseries they endured without the ability to use fire. In an act of rebellion against the supreme ruler of the gods, he stole fire from the workshop of Hephaestus, the god of fire. He gave the forbidden fire back to man, hidden in a stalk of fennel.

Prometheus stole fire, which was forbidden to men.
Prometheus brings fire stolen from the gods to humanity: tobacco lovers rejoice!

Because of this act of rebellious thievery, Zeus banished Prometheus to Mount Caucasus for eternity, chained to a rock, with a vicious eagle eating his liver every day. At night, his liver regenerates, granting the eagle eternal provision. Thus, the wrath of Zeus is satisfied as he hears the enduring screams of Prometheus, the friend of humanity.

Prometheus and the eagle on Mount Caucasus.
Prometheus facing the eagle on Mount Caucasus (image source variousgods.com).

It’s an exquisite story, isn’t it?

Chuck Stanion takes this story to even further delights with his thoughts about smoking pipes over a pool game with Prometheus (who happens to get one day a week reprieve from Mount Caucasus and that bastardly eagle.)

He took a puff from his pipe without lighting it, and smoke billowed into every

corner of the room. No one complained. “Tuesdays off. The stories are wrong. Fire

was no gift for humans—some goatherd stole my pipe, and the next thing I knew fire

was everywhere and I was lashed to a rock. I sure miss that pipe. It was broken in

perfectly. You’ve not seen any goatherds around here, have you?”

“Still looking for that pipe, eh? I know the feeling. But that goatherd has to be

dead by now.”

“Not if he still has the pipe. My pipes grant immortality.”

Go read his story, Fire, at Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine. You won’t be sorry you did.

Additionally, if you’re looking for different types and cuts of tobacco for your contemplative pipe-smoking times, you can read about them here.

– Steph –

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News Desk

Reported on today by the News Desk. Our goal is to inform, educate, edify, and enlighten. Warrior-scholar or everyman, we believe everyone should think and be dangerous.

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