The Jewel of Fire

Guide and Commentary

With The Jewel of Fire, I had the joy and the labor of finally concluding the story arc on which I had labored for so long. Like The Earthstone, it includes some of the material from the original ur-manuscript, specifically, the magical harp-music and death of Silverhair. But between 1971 and 1991, just about everything else had changed.

The last Jewel was Fire, and in this book I tried to explore fire in its every dimension, from volcanic fire to forgefire, and from the fire of hatred to that of love.

On the Tree of Life, the sphere to which the element of Fire is ascribed is Netzach, whose name means Victory. Its color is green–in my interpretation, the green fire of photosynthesis–and its planet is Venus. Thus, one of the areas it governs is sexuality. One British reviewer commented rather sardonically that the moral of this book is that if you sleep with the right person at the right phase of the moon everything will be just fine. Of course it was another British reviewer who complained that there was too much sex in my book about Tristan and Isolde (The White Raven), so maybe it is a cultural sensitivity. However, sexuality is a powerful drive, and can serve as a useful metaphor for other forces.

In this book Coyote returns in his incarnation as the Bringer of Fire. I didn’t expect him to play so important a role, but you never know what Coyote is going to do–except they do say he always sleeps with his students.