Candles have played a crucial part in religious and spiritual rituals since the candle was invented. The use of candles dates back to not only events of spiritual or religious persuasion in a home but also to use in churches and sacred spaces. The first candles have been noted in history during pagan rites and was also practiced in Jewish times. Candles that are used in spiritual and religious ceremonies come in all shapes and sizes and with certain ‘intentions’ – there is not standard size that is used unless specified in a specific Wiccan spell. Candles are found in many various settings that vary for the use and are “used in spells and rituals to call on God, the saints, masters, angels and the spirit guides".
The earliest Pagan faiths celebrate lighting candles not for mourning or for a life, love, friendship but also for healing. When selecting a candle prior to lighting a candle “try to apply similar principles as used in color healing”. Candles in the Wiccan faith are traditionally placed or lit on an alter which is in the individuals sacred space which is either in their home or at a coven headquarters. Candles have been a staple in the Wiccan faith much like many other faith – Wiccan however does specify the importance of the color and composition of the candle.
Other faiths that candles play a significant role in are Catholicism. During Catholic mass candles are lit, and incense burnt, to recognize and address that the service has begun and remains lit throughout the service. In many Catholic churches there are also either rooms or statues with tiers of votive candles that are either lit or awaiting to be lit. Traditionally a parishioner would make small donation and then light a candle symbolizing that they are either praying for someone or a situation. Votive candles, or vigil lights, are typically found at the base of iconic statues or Mary or other religious figures. The Jewish faith lights candles primarily in honor of religious observances – such as Chanukah the ‘Festival of Lights’. Candles used during Jewish holidays are labeled made in Israel and are a very simple sometimes multi colored.
Eternal flames date back to Delphi but are seen in many parts of the world at monuments, such as at the Arc de Triumph in Paris which is dedicated to World War 1. Many churches also have an eternal flame – however many are instead a bulb with a red lamp surrounding it. The eternal flame is written in the Hebrew Bible, Exodus 27:20-22, to be kept aflame and symbolize that God is ever present. The eternal flame has also been found in local Methodist churches – not like the references to only being in Jewish Synagogues.
Candles play an important in religious and spiritual celebrations since the beginning of time. There are many various occasions that call for different candles or rituals in lighting the candles. Candles don’t need to be specific brand or type – it is the meaning and thought behind the candle that keeps the flame fueled.
Anaya, Rev. Cassandra. "Circle of Light". November 28, 2008 www.circle-of-light.com/Spells/religious.html.
BibleGateway.com. "Exodus 27:20-22 (New International Version)". November 28, 2008 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%2027:20-22&version=31.
Passionist Missionaries of Union City. "Ask a Catholic!". November 28, 2008 http://www.cptryon.org/ask/ask/candles.html.
Sullivan, Rev. John F.. "Candles in Catholic Churches". November 28, 2008 http://landru.i-link-2.net/shnyves/candles.htm.
"The Wiccan Glade,". November 28, 2008 http://www.Wiccanglade.com/candlemagick.html