Candle Lighting: A Spiritual Exercise

Lighting Candles for Yourself and Others

by G G Collins (Copyright 2013)

Our earliest experience with candles is usually one placed on top of our first birthday cake. Can’t remember? Me either. But candles come to symbolize many things as we make our journeys through life.

Candles at St Francis Cathedral, Santa Fe, NMCopyright G G Collins

Candles at St Francis Cathedral, Santa Fe, NM
Copyright G G Collins

Candles have been used in religious ceremonies for centuries. Catholic Churches frequently have tiers of candles. If I’m traveling and learn that a friend is ill or suffered a tragedy, I will find the nearest church and light one for that person. On acatholiclife.blogspot.com, Matthew posted that Catholics light candles for several reasons, but the original purpose was to remember the words: “I am the Light of the World.” Vigil candles are lit to “wait” with someone who may need us and can be accompanied by prayers.

On Friday evening, 18 minutes before sunset, Jewish women light at least two candles for Shabbat. After lighting the candles—for harmony at home—the woman covers her eyes, moves her hands around the candles several times and says the blessing: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with commandments, and commanded us to light Shabbat candles.”

Couple Lighting Unity Candle, Wikipedia Commons

Couple Lighting Unity Candle, Wikipedia Commons

But candles are used in many religious ceremonies around the world, from customary services to baptismal and memorial services. At some weddings, family members light two candles for the bride and groom. Once the official vows have been declared, the couple take the lighted candles and together they bring the flame to the Unity candle, symbolizing the union they have just formed.

For me, I like to light candles for people I know who are going through illness or misfortune or traveling. Whenever possible, I’ll add a sage bundle or a stone to my grouping. The ritual helps me focus on this person and send them good thoughts.  I may meditate for a few minutes watching the flame. I’ve collected a number of photos and drawings of candles which I send to my friends letting them know I’m thinking of them. If I know their favorite color, I’ll send a candle of the same.

Always place candles in a safe location and never leave them burning if you are going to sleep. A friend uses battery operated candles to rule out the possibility of a fire. The bonus, you can drop off to sleep watching it. I’ve also moved on from wax to soy, which burns cleaner.

Candles for FriendsCopyright G G Collins

Candles for Friends
Copyright G G Collins

Lighting candles is a comforting thing to do when there is nothing else you can do. My dear friend Tawna got me started. She said when I was about to leave on a long trip: “I’m going to light a candle for you every day until you return.” That was followed by a big hug. It was so thoughtful and honestly, I kept the picture of her candle in my mind throughout the trip. I’ve followed her lead ever since. Thanks Tawna, you’re a true and loving friend.

If you would like to light a candle, but don’t want to use a real one, here’s a Web site where you can light one virtually:

http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/enter.cfm?l=eng

— G G Collins

Copyscape Do Not Copy

Happy New Year!

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About G G Collins

Reporter, blogger, book writer.

Posted on December 30, 2012, in Metaphysical and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. It’s very effortless to find out any topic on net as compared to books, as I found this post at this web page.|

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  2. you really got my eyes on your post. The candles are very nice and it gives a romantic moment with someone special.

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  4. I LOVE this post. And thank you for sharing that website. Such a wonderful way to make this expression when our surroundings don’t allow for our spirituality to be expressed publicly (like at work, for instance). Love and light. 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you. You brought up a issue I hadn’t thought of. But taking a moment to light a candle virtually, even at work, can be enough for us to feel able to handle the day. I’m glad someone thought to build gratefulness.org. Thanks for taking the time to add this perspective.

      Like

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  1. Pingback: Light a candle for your loved one - With Sympathy Gifts | With Sympathy Gifts

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