Category Archives: Candles

Candles – Symbolism

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Candles have always had a distinctive place in our society, and as such they represent an incredible link that taps into our past. In their own unique way, candles radiate messages of romance, passion, security, warmth, hope, spirituality, and mystery, to name just a few. Today, candles are used mainly for their aesthetic value and scent, particularly to set a soft, warm, or romantic ambiance, and for emergency lighting during electrical power failures. Scented candle are used n aromatherapy. 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.  Candles symbolize enlightenment,inspirations, religious clarity, and comfort.  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 live in modern times with electricity and such, 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.

Many couples have a Unity Candle at their wedding. Two outside candles are lit by the couple’s mothers to represent their lives to this moment. These distinct flames, each burning alone, represent the faith, wisdom and love received from their parents. Together, the couple lights a center candle, symbolizing the union of their lives. Their thoughts shall be for each other, and they will share both joys and sorrows. The flames of the two smaller candles remain lit to show how although they are now one, they are still each unique individuals.

A candle represents love which can light our spouse’s world.

A candle wipes out darkness and shows us how love can brighten our beloved’s life.

When we are near a candle, we feel warmth, just as we feel warmth from the love of our spouse.

A candle can give a sense of direction, and can draw people together, reminding us of how our love is a binding force also.

When a candle burns, the melting wax on the candle in a way disfigures the candle, representing the risk and element of pain that exists in a love relationship.

A candle, in order to fulfill itself, must burn itself out. If a candle is never lit, it never fulfills it’s purpose.

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A history of candles

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I sell so many Root and Kringle candles every year, I am amazed still at how much Americans take comfort in burning candles.  When did it all start and why are we hooked on our candles?  Take a journey through the past as we see how and when certain cultures used candles.
There is no recorded history of candle making. However, references to lighting candles date back to ancient times as early as 3000 BC in Crete and Egypt. Candles are mentioned in Biblical writings as early as the tenth century BC. A fragment of a candle from the first century AD has been found in Avignon, France.

In the fourth century B.C., candles were developed by the Ancient Egyptians by soaking the pithy core of reeds in molten tallow (animal fat). Called rush lights, they had no wick like a candle.  The early Romans are credited with developing the candle with a wick which was made from papyrus (a tall, aquatic, Mediterranean grass like plant) .

Then in the Middle Ages, beeswax, a substance secreted by honey bees to make their honeycombs, was introduced. Beeswax candles were a marked improvement over those made with tallow since they did not produce a smoky flame or emit an unpleasant odor when burned. Instead, beeswax candles burned pure and clean. However, they were expensive and, therefore, only the wealthy and the church had them.

In fourteenth century England, servants of the Royal household were paid partly in beeswax candles. Through to the reign of George III, the ends of used beeswax candles from the royal palaces were given to the Lord Chancellor as a valuable benefit of his position.

From the sixteenth century onwards, living standards improved as evidenced by the increasing availability of candlesticks and candleholders and their appearance in households. At this time, candles were usually sold by the pound and sold in bundles of eight, ten, or twelve candles. Everyday candles were made of animal fat (tallow), usually from sheep (mutton) or cows. These candles were usually a dark, yellowish color and probably gave off a nasty smell.

Early Chinese and Japanese candles were molded in paper tubes. They were made out of a wax made from an insect known as a “Cocus” and were mixed with seeds from various trees. The wicks were made of rolled-up rice paper.

In India, the use of animal fat in candles was prohibited by religious decree so candles were made from wax skimmed while boiling cinnamon.

Along the Northwest coast of North America the Indians produced light by inserting oily dried smelt into a slit at the end of a stick and lighting it.

In the Shetland Islands ( Scotland) the Stormy Petrel as well as other birds known to have a high content of fat in their bodies were hunted, killed and dried. They then had wicks put down their throats which were lit to produce light.

America ’s Colonial women discovered that boiling the grayish green berries of bayberry bushes produced a sweet-smelling wax that burned clean. However, extracting the wax from the bayberries was extremely tedious.

In 18th century England, candles were taxed and common people were forbidden to make their own. There were two guilds of chandlers, one for tallow chandlers and one for wax chandlers. They were the only ones licensed to produce candles until 1831. At that time the law was repealed.

Also in the 18th century the growth of the whaling industry brought the first major change in candle making since the Middle Ages. It was then that spermaceti, a wax obtained by crystallizing sperm whale oil, became available in quantity. Like beeswax, the spermaceti wax did not elicit a repugnant odor when burned. It was also harder than both tallow and beeswax which meant it did not soften or bend in the summer heat.

It was during the 19th century when most major developments affecting contemporary candle making occurred. In 1834, inventor Joseph Morgan introduced a machine which allowed continuous production of molded candles. A cylinder which featured a movable piston ejected candles as they solidified.

In 1850 the production of the first paraffin wax made from oil and coal shale began. It was made by distilling the residues left after crude petroleum was refined.  Hence the petroleum candles like Yankee Candle that smoke and soot a lot.  I stopped carrying Yankee a few years ago when we found cleaner, better burning candles for our customers to use.

How to Layer your Home Fragrance

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Happy Easter everyone!  I was digging through some archive or old articles I had written for the store and this surfaced.  We always get loads of questions about hhow to create and set the right fragrance tone in your house.  It is a personal thing but fragrance can be layered to create the perfect ambiance.  Fragrance preferences are triggered by memories.  Think Gramma’s at Christmas, or your man’s favorite cologne.

How to Layer Your Home Fragrance

This popularity has created an incredible demand for a variety in scents and forms of fragrance. Essence oils, fragrance sprays, candles, light bulb rings, drawer liners, soaps, incense, sachets, simmering crystals, and potpourri are just a few of your choices, depending upon your lifestyle and personal preferences.

Just as layering your personal fragrance with powder, lotion, and cologne makes a richer, longer lasting smell, the same is true of home fragrances. Try using different forms of the same scent throughout your house for a “home sweet home”. Although you might want to mix and match, we recommend sticking to one fragrance family at a time.

  • Level 1-3
    Potpourri, Scented Rocks, Scented Beads, Stone Diffuser, Reed DiffusersScented Drawer Liners, SachetsThese fragrance choices are what we call the stage. They set the tone and mood in your home.  The are the background layer always present.
    The above choices all provide you with a nice, subtle, ever-present scent.
    Most of these fragrance choices will last 4-12 weeks depending on size.
    All can be refreshed or refilled.
  • Level 4-6
    Jar, Pillar and Votive Candles, Linen Sprays, Scented Soaps, IncenseThese all provide you with a step above your background level. A way to increase intensity of fragrance in your surroundings.
    Nice to light candles for a while to add to your existing fragrance.
    Lighting candles an hour before guests arrive will give you more umpph to your home fragrance.
    Scented soaps add a nice feel in guest bathrooms.
  • Level 7-8
    Room Sprays, Room Mist, Simmering Potpourri, Potpourri Tarts, Simmering Oil, Lamp rings (for oils)All of these products will give you an extra amount of fragrance released into your home.
    Combine with levels 1-6 for a greater scent experience.
    They are formulated different with the opportunity to enhance an greater release of fragrance into your home.
  • Level 9-10Fragrance Lampes like lampe Berger, Oil drops.

For the strongest fragrance release opportunities use these in your home. Fragrance lampes not only scent the air but clean and purify the air much like an ozonator without the noise.

Be careful with the fragrance products you buy! Not all home fragrance oils are created equal. remember that old saying your Mom had…You get what you pay for. That applies here. The amount of fragrance oil used in your home fragrance choice like candles, potpourri, reed diffusers, potpourri tarts, warming oils, room sprays and lampe oils is going to effect what you pay for.

 

Among the 100′s of scented home products – especially the enormous variety of candles – the most popular fragrances are consistently vanilla, cinnamon, and rose.  Seasonal smells are also popular, such as apples, cinnamon, and peaches in the fall and winter, and clean, fresh scents during March through May. Other scents, including lavender, sandalwood, and patchoulienjoy steady year-round sales because of their applications in aromatherapy.Although you don’t want to overpower visitors to your personal space with too much scent, you can’t realistically expect one candle to scent the entire house. Generally one candle per room is a more realistic ratio. Don’t be stingy with your scent. Some of the stronger oil-based scents can easily fill an small room like a bathroom, office, den with their aroma. Open bowls of potpourri gently fragrance the immediate vicinity, but oils (and freshly administered room sprays) are far less subtle and should be used only in larger areas.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new forms and scents of home fragrance. Just remember to layer your fragrance. You do not want guests to arrive and be anxiously waiting for a breath of fresh air.

Colors of Easter – Candle centerpiece ideas

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Every year as the big holidays like Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving, people want to create gorgeous centerpieces for family gatherings but are unsure of what colors to use or why.  With Easter in April 8th, I thought it may be a good little discussion for this weekend.  This is by no means a religious post as I feel that many non based faith consumers still reach from traditions they grew up with.  To me holidays are a time to be spent with family, whether it is blood family or the family you choose to surround yourself with like close friends and loves ones.

Let’s chat about colors first.  Purple, pink and white are prominent due to many religious reasons.  Overall Spring seems to bring a time of change and hope of what is to come.

Purple:

The color I remember used most is deep violet-purple.  Purple is the color of royalty and it the color of the garment that covered Jesus when he was taken to the crucifix. Purple symbolizes he is the son of God who many people believe is the King of all and they believe that with the suffering and death of Jesus the coming resurrection and hope of newness will be celebrated in his Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Purple colors symbolize both the pain and suffering leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus as well as the suffering of humanity and the world under sin.  If you are a church goer, remember those rich purple vestments and robes the priests, minister, pastor or reverend wore.  Also, traditionally, purple is a color of penance.  For example, in the Catholic church use this time to repent for the sins of the world. While Baptists choose to focus on  the symbolism of purple as a royal color, representing the coming of Christ the  King.
If you choose to incorporate purple roses into your centerpiece the purple color is mystical in its nature and the symbolism of purple rose is attached to enchantment and desire. It also symbolizes that it is time to proceed with extra care. In that sense, it can be used as a warning too.

Pink:

Pink symbolizes the Rose of Sharon in many faith based beliefs.   It symbolizes joy & happiness.  According to Pastor Harold Dinsmore at  LifeWay.com, this candle symbolizes “Jesus Christ being the One who took upon  Himself the penalty for our sins.”

If you are choosing pink roses for your centerpiece,  a pink rose symbolizes femininity, elegance, refinement, and gentility and it also carries other deep meaning, depending on its color hue. While pale pink shades convey grace and admiration, deep shades convey appreciation and gratitude. Pink rose also has seen as the symbol of joyousness and it is called as the rose of sweet thoughts.

White:

White was the color of the robe that Jesus Christ was wearing he was scourged according to legends, historians, or the bible.  The color white symbolizes the hope of the resurrection, as well as the purity and newness that comes from victory over sin and death.   It also symbolizes holiness, virtue, respect & reverence.  White lily, one of the traditional flowers of Easter, is widely used for decorations of home and premises. It is used to adorn the altar at churches as well.

A large white candle is used at liturgy for Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican and is called the Paschal candle.  The term Paschal  comes from the Hebrew word Pesach which means passover.  It signifies the divine pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that lead the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  A new Paschal candle one is blessed every year and lit at Easter.  Then it us used all through Paschal season (50 days) and then on special occasion throughout the year like weddings, baptisms and funerals.  The flame of the Paschal candle symbolizes Christ as light of the world and his presence in the midst of his people. The Paschal candle is sometimes referred to as the “Easter candle” or the “Christ candle.”

If choosing white roses to blend into your centerpiece a white rose symbolizes purity, humility, and innocence perfect for the birth of Spring. It is even known as the rose of confession and the rose of servitude. White rose is a symbol of honor and reverence as well, and its arrangements are often utilized as an expression of remembrance.

So, now that you understand why these colors, how do you use them to create centerpieces?  Scaping with candles is one of my customers favorite.  We do fabulous large candle groupings by scaping colors, widths and heights.  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.  My faithful followers, you see the trend here (THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX).  I have a display in store right now with 3″ pillars in 3″, 6″ and 9″ height all in purple, with splashes of pink and white.  Plus I have added 2″ pillars in pink & purple in both 3″ and 6″ height.  Then add collinettes in all three colors in both 5″ & 7″ height and last. I splashed a few pillars for visual depth.  If you have wee ones, floating around the house after an egg hunt, ask them to go pick you some flowers from the yard and sprinkle them in among the base.

Purple taper candle bundle

Add some hand picked flowers by base!

1>  Try this bundled arrangement in a globe but add some flowers sprigs below from the garden.

2>  Again, add some color around the base with some handpicked flowers from the garden or some bright colorful Easter eggs.

3> Colorful pink & purple flowers would work well with one or two white pillar candles in different heights.

Funny thing is as I finished this and am still working on my Easter display for store, 2 fabulous young gals came in from Chicago to get their purple pillars for Easter.  “Question was, I have two candle holders different heights, what size pillars should I use?”  We talked and she went with two 6″ to give it depth!  I only feature Root candle pillars as they are smokeless, dripless and simply are THE BEST at 16-17 hours an inch.

Have a fabulous weekend!  I will be heading shore diving hopefully before work tomorrow and definitely Monday & Tuesday, but never fear the scarf tips are coming.