Flaming sword (mythology)

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Painting by Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix of an angel (Camael) expelling Adam and Eve with a flaming sword

A flaming sword is a sword glowing with flame by some supernatural power. Flaming swords have existed in legend and myth for thousands of years.

According to the Bible, a cherub (or the archangel Uriel in some traditions) with a flaming sword was placed by God at the gates of Paradise after Adam and Eve were banished from it (Genesis 3:24).

Eastern Orthodox tradition says that after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, the flaming sword was removed from the Garden of Eden, making it possible for humanity to re-enter Paradise.[1]

In Welsh mythology the Dyrnwyn ("White-Hilt") is said to be a powerful sword belonging to Rhydderch Hael,[2] one of the Three Generous Men of Britain mentioned in the Welsh Triads. When drawn by a worthy or well-born man, the entire blade would blaze with fire. Rhydderch was never reluctant to hand the weapon to anyone, hence his nickname Hael "the Generous", but the recipients, as soon as they had learned of its peculiar properties, always rejected the sword. Its fire would burn the man who drew it for an unworthy purpose.[3]

A flaming sword with immense destructive power appears in Norse mythology. It is said to be wielded by Surtr, the leader of the giants of Muspelheim.[4]

The sword Acala holds may or may not be flaming and sometimes described only generically as a treasure sword (宝剣 hōken?) or as vajra-sword (金剛杵 kongō-ken?), which is descriptive of the fact that the pommel of the sword is in the shape of the talon-like vajra (金剛杵 kongō-sho?) of one type or another.

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