Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pretty Candles for the Altar


       Back in October, I ordered 10 lbs of paraffin, 2 or 3 lbs of beeswax, and so many feet of wick. Now, with the wood-stove on all day and all night, I’m making most of the candles we burn. The majority of our lighting comes from kerosene lamps, which are pretty, bright, and relatively efficient for us. But I adore candles - especially on the altar. I’ve found a whole collection of Moroccan lanterns online and am buying them two by two, whenever I have the money to add to our little collection. They’re beautiful, and with thick little votives inside, the lanterns make delightful nightlights - directing our tired eyes to the saints who never sleep.

I make my candles as I do everything else - carelessly. Chipping wax in an uncertain blend (paraffin, beeswax, and the stubs of dying candles) into an old pottery cannister; then set on the stove (atop a brass plate, because wax can and does seep through everything, and makes the house smoky when it burns away on the stovetop). It melts and I dip my long tapers until there is too little left in the cannister. Then, the rest is poured out into old votive glasses - or whatever I see and decide to sacrifice in my zeal. The votives are tricky, because I never remember to tie-up my wicks until too late. Today I pinned them in place with scissors (I’m not really sure how). I like making candles. I love dipping them and rolling out fat, beeswaxy tapers to set all around the Icons, in front of mirrors, and beside the bed, but I’ve been learning to love the votives, if only because I love my Moroccan lanterns so very much. And making candles is becoming like splitting wood - an addiction, a game, a joyful way to fill the winter days and warm the cold nights.


  1. I love your Moroccan lanterns!!! And your tales of candlemaking. I have a couple of little tealight-lamps that I adore, and I dream from time to time of mirrored wall sconces and other ways of adding to the soft light. We do light mostly with lamplight, and add candles at prayer and sometimes dinner. This far north, and with this much rain, it's so dark in winter... warm light is our best defense.

    1. Warm light really is the best defense! It's too, too dark to be happy without it! I dream of mirrored wall sconces too! Nice ones are harder to find than I'd expected, aren't they!