Fire is very important in Siberian tradition. Fire must always be treated with great respect. Fire represents life, the hearth, the family, and the past, present, and future prosperity of the clan. Fire is the golomt. The base of the World Tree. The smoke from it travels upward and represents the connection of the three Worlds.
Because of this, the hearth is treated like a sacred place. Garbage is never put in or near it. Sharp objects such as knives are never allowed near fire or even pointing towards it. Fire is allowed to go out naturally and water should not be thrown on it to put it out.
It is surprising how many people in Western countries throw garbage and cigarette butts into fire. Even ceremonial fires. This is considered very taboo to Siberians.
A new, first-level shaman is given flint and tinder to start ceremonial fires with. Almost all ceremonies start with fire. Showing disrespect towards fire is an insult to the spirits that we pray to. It is an insult to the ancestors and to the family who’s hearth it is. This is why it is very important that people know how important it is to be respectful of fire.