Originally conceived (most likely in the dark) to provide light in the dark, candles, though simple in design, perform the task of shedding light very well. Today, in the west at least, candles are probably considered to be more decorative (or ritual) than functional, and indeed whole businesses have emerged to sell candles and associated paraphernalia for “atmosphere”. Of course candles are still functional, and would be unusual to find a house lacking a pack in the event of an emergency. Even in the midst of today’s complex technology with LED and CFC lamps and etc., candles still hold a place – just in case.
Whether the candle wax be made from the effort of gazillions of honey bees, or soybean oil, or paraffin (from fossil fuels) candles are a gift from the natural world, it reminds us to be grateful for all the natural world provides for us in our survival – thus far at least. Far too many take the environment for granted.
Like us candles are largely useless without a flame to ignite them. They remind us all is lifeless and useless unless fired with a flame in our case the Divine flame or spark that resides within us all. Candles remind us of the light of the Divine and that it resides within.
Have an intention when lighting the Divine candle for your Reiki altar. Of course use your own words, but something like “May the light and love of the divine fill the hearts and minds of all who sense this flame – past, present and future.” certainly sets an intention.
Reflecting the state of our hearts, candles can be soft and hard. Like our hearts, hard when cold, softening when warmed with the flame of love for all beings, creatures great and small.
Little drips that form and run down the candle are tears. The tears of a candle remind us of our humanity and how we shed tears as easily in joy or sorrow. Using a dripless candle it indicates how much we like to control and avoid especially sorrowful tears.
An overly long wick burns brightly but burns more wax than is usual thus shortening the life of the candle. This reminds us of a couple of things. The first is to be measured and aware that we are not using more of our energy than we need to. The second is that things that were once useful and necessary have had their time and should be let go because they no longer serve our greater good. If a wick becomes too long it may bend or break of its own accord, fouling and discolouring the melted wax. Trim your wicks to dispose of that which no longer serves before it begins to colour your outlook.
Candles stand straight and remind us that we must also be straight, i.e. honest, in our actions. A candle that is not standing straight will burn in an unbalanced fashion. The integrity of the candle walls may be breached and a flood of hot candle tears will leak onto things creating a mess. The wick also quickly becomes overly long accelerating the process shortening the candles life. So we too must be straight and honest, especially within ourselves to maintain our integrity.
Candles are impermanent and like us their time here on earth is fleeting. With every flicker the candle’s life grows shorter until it is extinguished. Like each moment of our lives, each flicker of a candle is unique and cannot be replicated. Candles remind that with each passing moment our lives grow shorter, and that we should spend each moment well.
One’s aim in life should be to die in good health. Just like a candle that burns out.-Jeanne Moreau
Candles give warmth and comfort reminding us to be mindful of giving warmth to those around us, especially those in need.
Perhaps the most obvious of all, a candle giving light should be a reminder we should also shine our lights, because we are the light of the world. A candle loses nothing by lighting others, nor do we.
I’d be interested to hear of any other comparisons or reminders that a candle may give you, and I hope the above has given you food for thought.