If witches are anything, they are addicted to candles. In my home and the home of my coven brothers and sisters is the ‘candle drawer/cupboard’ the place everyone knows where there is an abundance of candles, incense sticks, matches and lighters, tapers and receptacles for all manner of things that burn. Because the urge to suddenly light a candle and make an offering to a patron or familiar spirit can strike at any moment, mid conversation, making dinner, beyond and around the more usual times when working specifically with a Great or Familiar Spirit. When you want to commune with a friend, you call, you email, you SMS. Midway through a conversation about a new project, there’s the sudden need to light a candle for the Master, as if somehow, that’s the sign that says, “Hey, can you join in on this conversation, your input would be awesome right now…”
It’s not casual, it’s the nature of the witch, who is familiar with the powers that are constantly moving through life, there’s nothing ‘mundane’ any more; “whatcha doin’?” “I’m just going to bake for dinner tomorrow night…” *lights a candle for Brigid* Sweeping the back steps to look up watch the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos making havoc in the radiata pines behind my house results in the sudden need to light a candle for Freyr, Lord of Midgård, and Grandmother Palawa, just… because. Because they are there, whilst I sweep my back steps.
Part of that understanding for the witch is that actions are as important to the offering as the offering itself. The act of remembrance, the time it takes to prepare something, even the few moments to light a candle is to offer something of yourself, to take time out of what you are doing and strengthen the presence of the Great Powers in our lives by attuning our awareness to them. This is how we moved into a place in which we understand the seething overflowing spirit of our lives, our environments, and what it is that makes them sacred. That seething overflowing spirit is no less present in the least spiritual of lives (if there is such a thing), but the witch’s eye is fixed on it, perceives the ebb and flow of it, the most subtle changes. These daily acts are to practice, to bring that awareness into our conscious lives.
The truth is, it could be anything. For those who draw and write, there is barely a surface in their homes that does not contain a pen, pencil and paper. The musically inclined will never be far away from an instrument. We all, when we begin to garner that sense of the Divine in Life, become increasingly desperate to record it, remember it, practice our awareness of it, share it with others.
I’ve always been a crafter, a collector, especially of nature. Rocks, stones, are a favourite of mine, shells, bones, flowers, greenery, anyway to collect some small part of the outside and bring it into my house I will find a way. And things I can keep them in, old jars, bottles, baskets, tins. Anything that looks to me like I can give it life again, even if someone else has discarded it. My practice of Witchcraft has only exacerbated this habit. Human beings have always preserved things for food when they are in decline in Nature. Only now, I find I wish to preserve other things, so I can tap into that current and power even when they are not emergent in Nature.
Spring is a particular active time. So much for pasta, my colander is now drying the first red rose petals I’ve collected! It’s a sign; things are going to get pretty crazy in the house during the Spring and Summer. But that will not be so different to last Spring…
Before Monday and the full moon passes, I am hoping to get outside and harvest some wild things for some smudge sticks and waters I have been wanting to make for a while. But I’ve had to make some room, and so I’ve begun going through things in order to do so. In the case of most plant life, I don’t like to keep them dried past a year, and between Candlemas (Imbolc) and Rosemas (Beltane), I like to return things to the ground that I’ve not used with an offering. The Brushtail Possums and the Bennet’s Wallabies are particularly fond of apple offerings.
And whilst they were out, I depleted my candle making supplies and made some candles. But of course, because we’re addicted to them. I don’t spend a lot of time candle making, but I do like to be busy at the full moon making something, and whilst there are still things I am yet to collect fresh for some other projects on my list, candles are something that I can make with little fresh ingredients.
Given the time of the year, I made some particularly for Brigid and the Rose Queen. Leatherwood beeswax, as always. For Brigid, Peppermint and Vanilla oils, because they remind me both of lollies and my Mother’s and my Grandmother’s cooking. For the Rose Queen, in possibly the most delicate green colour I’ve blended to date, Rose, Patchouli and Lemon Myrtle, dressed with dried pink and red roses and rose essential oil. All the jars are upcycled and recyclable. And now I have to start collecting again.