Secret Fire

From Tolkien Gateway
The name Secret Fire refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Secret Fire (disambiguation).
Secret Fire
Ainulindale - Harmony by Anna Kulisz
Other namesFlame Imperishable
Imperishable Flame
OwnerEru Ilúvatar
Notable forPower of Creation

Therefore Ilúvatar gave to their vision Being, and set it amid the Void, and the Secret Fire was sent to burn at the heart of the World; and it was called Eä.

The Secret Fire, also known as the Flame Imperishable and the Imperishable Flame, was Eru Ilúvatar's mysterious power of creation.


The Secret Fire is that aspect of Eru which is his Power of Creation. Only by means of the Secret Fire can something with substance or life be made from nothing. It was by means of the Secret Fire that Eru gave to the Music of the Ainur real being and existence as .

Eru created all fëar, including those of the Ainur, Elves, Dwarves, and Men, through the Secret Fire, and it is a part of each of them. Only a being animated with the Secret Fire can have its own true life and free will. Without it, creatures lack sentience and independent thought, though they may be puppeteered by a greater will. Aulë's Dwarves were such automata until Eru endowed them with their own fëar born of the Secret Fire.[1]

Even before the Music was sung, Melkor envied this power and sought it in the Void, but the Flame Imperishable was with Eru.[2] After the Music, Eru sent it to burn at the center of the World.[3]

Only Eru as Creator could command the Secret Fire; no created being could claim this power.[4] Given this, it is unclear as to how Melkor could have "made" such creatures as Orcs and Dragons or how these could have acted in the apparently rational and self-directed manner in which they did. See Orcs/Origin for a fuller examination of this thorny issue.

Gandalf the Grey referred to both the Secret Fire and the flame of Anor while facing a Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, saying "I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor."[5]


This is an alternate name of the Holy Spirit in Tolkien's mythos, like Eru is the name of God. Clyde S. Kilby mentions a discussion he had with Tolkien: "Professor Tolkien talked to me at some length about the use of the word 'holy' in The Silmarillion. Very specifically he told me that the 'Secret Fire sent to burn at the heart of the World' in the beginning was the Holy Spirit."[6]

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