Candles – Brief History of Symbolism

Candles have always had a distinctive place in our society, and as such they represent an incredible link that taps into our past. In a quite unique way, candles radiate messages of romance, passion, security, warmth, hope, spirituality, mystery, to name just a few. Candles indeed are a burning example that the whole is more than sum of its parts – be they just a little wax and wick as they are. Deeply rooted in almost every religious and spiritual practice, creed and nationality, there is something peculiar and symbolic in a solitary flame and the aura of light surrounding it. It communicates with our souls. It speaks beyond words. It is the Unspeakable that dwells in the midst of the candle flame. It enlightens, enlivens, inspires, whispers secrets, comforts and ultimately connects. No matter how thick the darkness, the light of one candle conquers it. No matter how solitary one flame is, it is never alone or lonely for its light knows no boundaries and touches eternity. People of all faiths and walks of life, and many different creeds, have been joining together in a candlelight vigil to grieve, pray or celebrate. Candles are an integral part of our identities, they have been playing an important role in both our collective and individual consciousness.

Although we are living in modern times of technical revolution, blessed by the miracle of electrical lighting for a century, very few of us haven’t had contact with candles. From the very first blazing encounters on a birthday cake, where candles are introduced as a magical agents which help our wishes came true, to every possible ritual and practice of social initiation, rite of passage or pleasure lubricant, candle flame has been our constant companion. Our initial enchantment with birthday candles is precursor to our belief that magic and candles naturally go together. Symbolism of birthday candles is not the only candle symbolism we are exposed to from the earliest days. No matter what religion we are born into, there are sanctuaries and special places to light a candle for health, protection, blessing and loving memory of departed ones. Candles are believed to connect people with divine, and with the deceased. They send our message beyond the boundaries of the visible and material world. In a candle light, the material world and the world of the Spirit are met.

In our everyday lives, candles are preferable catalyst for special moments, no matter if we need a lovely, romantic supper where candle light is a must, a “relaxing” aromatic candle bath, or just a warmth, both physical and spiritual to look at on a frosty winter night. The popularity of candles has skyrocketed in our modern world of electric lighting. Now there are even more colors, improved production methods and much more pleasant and exotic scents than our ancestors could ever have imagined. Due to the popularity of aromatherapy, essential oils candles are also more widely available for home use. Don’t think twice. Think candle.