The spotted salamander of the symbolists taxed the imagination. Its alleged resistance to fire was such that it lived in volcanoes. Pliny believed its body was cold enough to extinguish flames. Its spittle was so poisonous that a man's hair would fall off his body at its touch. This creature's presence was believed to poison wells and orchards.
It was considered the "king of fire" and as such was representative of Christ who would baptize with the flames of the Holy Spirit and who surprised his followers by warning, "I have come to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division" (Lk 12:49, 51).
William of Normandy called the salamander the symbol of the three Hebrew children who survived the fiery furnace (Dan 3). The salamander can also represent the fourth man seen in the furnace who promises, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you ...When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you" (Is 43:2). Cloquet considers Christ the salamander king of fire because He passed through the fires of hell after His crucifixion without harm.
The salamander represents those who pass through the fires of passion and of this world without stain. Therefore, it stands for chastity, loyalty, impartiality, virginity, courage, Jesus, Mary, and the faithful.
The salamander is also used to symbolize the flames which it passes through and so is a symbol of fire, temptation, and burning desire.
Unless otherwise noted all scripture quotes are from the NKJV Bible.
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© 1997 by Suzetta Tucker
To cite this page:
Tucker, Suzetta. "ChristStory Salamander Page." ChristStory Christian Bestiary. 1997. http://ww2.netnitco.net/users/legend01/salamand.htm ().