Candlemas is coming up this week, and I (Ruby Wilcox here) always enjoy doing a candle ritual to celebrate it. You'll find detailed instructions for making my favorite-- Brighid's Candle--in China's BOOK OF DAYS, in the entry for February 1.
But in case you don't have the book handy (why not?), here's the scoop. Start with a pillar candle--light colors work best--and several votive candles. Melt the votives in an old pan over low heat (careful!). Use a small brush to brush some melted wax on the pillar candle in the place where you want to put a bit of herb or flower. Press the herb into the warm wax and cover with a brushed-on thin layer. When you've finished decorating your candle, brush it all over with another thin layer. If you want to add scent, use a hot ice pick to poke holes in the top of the pillar and drop a couple of drops of essential oil into each hole.
If you're making candles for a special occasion (a hand-fasting, a birth, a birthday, an anniversary), you could include herbs and scents that have special meanings. The Victorian "language of flowers" will help you decide. If it's a gift, make a card to include with your candle.
If you'd like to make your candles from scratch, here's a site that will help.
Candles are wonderful in every room of the house. I love to fill my bathroom with candles and spend the evening in the tub (luscious!). Or I'll put a mirror on the dining room table and set out my favorite candles: they cast a lovely glow over dinner. Candles--especially scented candles--are a delight in the bedroom. Outdoors on the patio, candles have a special magic.
And speaking of magic, remember what a joy your candle-lit birthday cakes were when you were a child? From ancient times, people have been wishing on a candle flame and then blowing it out to get that wish. Choose a candle that has a special meaning, light it with a clear intention, focus on what you want to achieve, and speak it out loud to yourself. To intensify your intention, choose a candle color that signifies what you want and need: white for protection and clarity; gold for achievement and power; pink or red for love and sexual passion; blue for healing.
And here's another candle idea, from a friend of China's. Meghan DeFrancesco makes wonderful soy candles, using her own special recipes and scents. Meghan's soy candles are special because they do not contain any animal fats and because they're so delightfully scented. Visit her website and see what new candles she's come up with!
A word of candle wisdom: At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.--Albert Schweitzer