For this week’s PBP entry, I’m going to talk about candles.
I’m obsessed with candles.
Seriously. Take me into a store that’s having a sale on candles and just try and stop me from buying them, why don’t you. (You will be injured. Fair warning.)
Actually, I think that’s one of the main reasons I ended up getting into Wicca in the first place. “I can light candles in a religious context OMG AWESOME!” (That, and I wanted to hex the bullies at school who beat me up every day.)
Having an excuse to burn fifty candles at a time sounded like a dream come true to little 11-year-old me. Though I did frequently burn fifty candles at a time, regardless of my parents’ wishes.
I’m not sure where this obsession comes from. It could be my strong relationship to the fire element. It could be a desire to master the candle-flame ever since I was a kid watching the ‘adults’ in the room show me ‘magic’ by passing their fingers through the top part of the flame without injury. (I decided to show them up by putting my finger into what was logically the coldest part of the flame, the blue bottom, and holding it there. This is what cartoons did to me.) It could be that the room I had in our house at the time was FREEZING because I may have accidentally flung a hammer through the window in the middle of winter and a million candles kept me warm.
It may have been the dancing light on the wall. It may have been the treasure candles that had gemstones and crap hidden inside, and each burnt candle was like a mystery unlocked (and more shiny pretties! CAW!). It may have been the subtle scented candles I bought, the ones that actually smelled good as opposed to the heavily perfumed crap you can buy nowadays that tend to try and kill you before you even light them. It may have been the beeswax, which always smells good.
It could have also been a sign I was marked by Brighid early on. Or, and this may be more likely, it could have been that I was a kid in a world that was wildly shifting out of my control, and burning candles and researching paganism were small acts of rebellion that I felt were still mine while I weathered my parents’ divorce. (I wasn’t rebelling against mom, for the record.)
I’m not really sure what it was. But the obsession has never stopped.
And now I’ve found myself in a place and time where I cannot burn as many as I did fourteen years ago, when I didn’t have to be the one worried about landlords coming down hard against burning materials like candles or incense. I’ve now lived in so many different places it makes my head spin, and the ones where I could burn as many candles as I wanted, either through a lack of rules or an abundance of safety, I can count on one hand.
I’m lucky at the moment — my landlady is awesome, and I burn candles all the time in my basement suite. (Economical way to heat the place, too.) But in April I’m moving to an apartment on the mainland, and there’s a strata council here. I’m not sure what their rules are exactly regarding candle-burning, but I’m fairly certain they won’t look kindly on candles everywhere. Not to mention, I have to keep the place looking stage-able — that is, ready to show to prospective buyers — at all times. And for some reason, people don’t like seeing a lot of candles around. Especially not black ones in the shape of a pentagram. (They’re so close-minded, honestly.)
Even now, with my awesome house, I don’t burn as many as I’d like. I’m not home enough to do so — either bed-ridden here in this apartment as my back recovers, or at school and rehearsal once I go home next week — and my room is not finished being cleaned, so accessing my altar and candle space is not easy with my cane.
So my candle collection grows bigger and bigger as I search for excuses to burn them — even doing more candle magic than I usually do, just so I can make the collection smaller.
Because a smaller collection at home means
less chance of a candle apocalypse, where they rise like zombies to destroy their former masters I can actually buy more when I’m out and about.
I think I may have a problem.