Lighting Candles - Rituals Old and New
Growing up my favourite ritual in the Christian church was/is Easter Saturday, when the church was stripped bare, the priest wore plain vestments and the church went into darkness and silence. We waited in the darkness and the silence, aware of activity at the back of the church. The flames of fire reflected shadows on the altar and there was a sense of something happening in the darkness. Slowly a warm flame began to grow and flow from the back of the church through the congregation. All the senses in the back body anticipating the warmth of this glow, hearing the murmuring of people lighting each other’s candles and eventually reaching the peripheral vision, the time would come to light our candles. As a child to be allowed to hold fire and given the responsibility of holding a thin taper alight, soon shifted to messing with the wax, letting it drip onto our fingers, feeling the burn, then the satisfaction of letting it harden and then messing taking it off. But all too soon the magic would end, the lights would come back on and we would have to blow out our candles.
I loved this night even more than Christmas eve because here we got to experience community together in darkness, a moment of just being before we lit our candles together.
On Easter Saturday in 2002 my 3 week old baby girl, Sarah, was baptised at this ceremony, my grandfather Tommy was there, how could I not love this tradition.
Over the last 21 years the work of BodySoul Rhythms, Dancing the Rainbow and Spirit work have kept this love of ritual alive, always beginning with lighting a candle, always beginning with lighting the inner light of consciousness.
All these memories came back last night as we lit our candle, place it outside our door, went for a walk in the darkness and came home to the flame burning. And then seeing images of candles being lit on facebook, the neighbours what’s app, brought such a feeling of community, a feeling of connection in the darkness and in the lighting of candles.
This is the work, lighting the inner flame of consciousness and how do we keep this flame aglow. How do we allow this flame to bring that feeling of warmth, of belonging, of awareness of nourishing our creative lives? Here we are creating new rituals, to be together in community and with gratitude for the rituals of our ancestors.