Friday, April 13, 2012

Vigil candles, birds, and fun at the sympathy card section

For a long time now, I've toyed with the idea of keeping a candle lit all the time as a way of honoring the gods.  Mind you, not having the kind of candles they have in Catholic and Episcopal churches, it wouldn't be smart to keep one lit around the clock so I do have battery-operated candles as well.  And it would take considerably more effort to maintain a lit candle of some kind rather than just light one when you're ready to pray or do work at the altar.  Still, I like the idea of it and while I won't commit to that kind of discipline, I am willing to undertake it as much as I can.  My votive candle on the Hearth altar has been going since around noon today and wasn't new when I first lit it so it will take some figuring out to know when to change candles out and such.  I have three altars so it wouldn't be an overwhelming task to have some overlap going on.

I know that practicing my religion seems to be a bigger part of my worship rather than the doctrines themselves, in part because I had over 50 years of doctrine that was contradictory, oppressive and well...boring.  It doesn't mean that the meaning behind all the practice doesn't count.  It certainly does.  But I don't need to get mired down in it.  Especially here at the beginning of my journey.

There was some sniping today on a few of the Pagan and Heathen boards I read.  I'm feeling a bit peevish myself so I wonder if there is something in the air that is causing some kind of imbalance or something.  Another thing I'm not too knowledgeable about but I am picking up more on energies and things going on in nature than I used to.

On the way home, just as I got to the center of my bitty city, I saw two birds spiraling together high above the steeple of the Reform church in the city-proper.  I thought it might be crows since we have tons of them in town, but the wings seemed a bit boxier than crows' wings normally do.  And yet, I do need new glasses so I could be wrong.  But each time I got a little bit closer, they moved farther away.  And each time I thought I would catch up on them, the traffic stopped for pedestrians.  By the time I got to my turn-off, they were completely out of sight.  I'm not reading anything spiritual into it but it was a bit frustrating that they remained so elusive that I couldn't get close enough to discover what they were.  We've had myriad birds in our neighborhood so it wasn't a reach for it to be hawks or even eagles.  Although eagles would most likely be nesting this time of year.  Probably hawks, too, so it was most likely crows.

A couple of winters ago I had a pheasant in my back yard and I've had to stop on the road leaving town to wait for the turkeys to cross.  I'm not the only one who stops for them so I wonder if they get special protection in this state.  I know you need special permits to hunt them. 

I never used to pay any attention to birds before I moved here.  My mother has loved birds for many years so it's a bit neat to have something to talk about when I call.  It beats having to talk about church-related stuff.

I had shared something with my facebook friends yesterday after coming home from shopping.  While looking for sympathy cards, I got the giggles, which I really struggled to hide.  The poor woman next to me must have thought I was sobbing my heart out while looking at sympathy cards because of suppressed giggles.  I had two thoughts that kept going through my head:  one was the song Another One Bites the Dust by Queen and the other thought was...why don't they have any humorous sympathy cards.  For some reason those two things struck me as hilarious. when I got into the car to go to the library, the song playing on the radio was...Another One Bites the Dust.  The gods do indeed have a sense of humor.


  1. The ever burning fire is of course well attested but I've found that over the years I've come to associate that smell of a lit candle with something special and outside of the mundane is happenning. It helps to get me into the right state to calm my body and thoughts and to think 'spiritual' LOL... since I decided to stop using the petrolium based candles that abound in the shops and started using only beeswax candles the association has become even stronger. Because I know that the choice behing beeswax is representative of my love for the Earth herself, and because they smell so precious, and because they are more expensive and thus used more wisely, it all combines to signal to me sublimally that lighting a candle means something important.
    Just a different take on things to consider :)

  2. I would love to use beeswax but I just can't afford them. Starting Monday we are going to have to adhere to strict frugality measures so I'm going to have to use tea candles for my vigils. I think it's more the discipline of constant worship rather than feeling spiritual about it. Although there is that pleasant side effect to it. If the whole thing becomes too mundane, then I'll probably stop it but for now it may be just a gateway into deeper practices and learning to discipline myself better.

    I love your different takes on things, though. Never stop sharing them with me. :)

  3. I've also been snarking at people today- though I had originally chalked it up to some serious personal and romantic frustration. Maybe there's a wider influence after all.

    As for the candle thoughts I know that I have a candle burning most of the time if I am home. I can not ever leave one unattended because of the parrot, but once I come home from work I typically light my symbolic Hearth. The flame has a different significance for me, I think, but it matters.

  4. Must be something in the air besides tax day coming up.

    I have a battery-operated one but it's dim in the daylight so I just blew the candle out today when I left home and haven't re-lit it because I'm just so tired I'm afraid I'll fall asleep and forget it.

    I think candles are such wonderful vehicles for spirituality, how they carry the flame and nurture it. I love fire for some reason so the candle carries more than one meaning for me. But the vigil aspect is more a discipline right now, forcing me to pay more attention and stop being so darned lazy. I take the gods for granted far too often.

  5. Couple of replies:

    1. Do you have any access to prayer candles in the tall very thick glass? An old friend of mine lived in the bible belt of NC and she found a mexican grocery store. Maybe with some research you could find one. I light them (not every day) but when I feel like having a candle lit all day (cleaning day usually).

    2. About the birds, Ravens/crows symbolize magic. Perhaps if they were elusive they are giving a signal to you that magic is elusive in your life right now.

    3. As for the Pagan/Heathen boards. I started out years ago on those. A bunch of egocentric idiots I say. I have reduced the amount of the drama in my life little by little in the last few years. My time is precious, I don't give my energy to such bullshit. Those people will not teach you anything but learning about The Goddess of Discord. No need to keep time with her any more than necessary.

    4. You're right about something being in the Air. Spring is what I call the Bipolar turn of the Wheel. The quickening of it comes so fast that the energy is a bit like a tornado. I'm a big bitch this time of year. Well, bigger : )

    1. As usual, my lovely ladies online teach me something all the time.

      1.We had those candles in the Episcopal church I'm still a member of but I haven't seen any around here. I don't remember seeing them in the Christian bookstore either but it's largely fundamentalist/evangelical, although they carry a lot of Catholic stuff simply because we live in Catholic/Lutheran country. Oddly...not a single thing for Episcopalians. I've thought about looking for them online but unless I can mount it to a wall, I don't trust one lit all the time because the cat loves to knock everything over. None of my votive candle holders will tip over but my tapers might so I never leave them lit while I'm out of the room.

      2. That makes perfect sense. Every time I've tried to sit down to read anything about magic something comes up and I am either distracted or flat out prevented. That's really seeming the most likely interpretation of events. Thanks!

      3. Unlike other boards, these guys aren't going ape-shit over the least little thing and quickly diffuse the situation toward humor. Other groups I've been on tend to blow everything out of proportion and cause a lot of butthurt so I'm glad the people on this board act more like adults. I'm avoiding the Druid board for now until they cool off for a while and might even leave it for good. Heaven knows I need to limit my time online more.

      But on the Heathenry board, they have lots of good links and recommendations for books and authors. Not to mention they do, for the most part, tend toward mentoring more than most boards. It's just right now a couple of people are being pissy about almost everything. And since I'm feeling that way myself...I'm just keeping silent on everything until I have something positive to add to the discussion.

      4. I never noticed Spring being like this before but I'm so on edge about nearly everything. I thought it had to do with taxes or the surprise birthday party I got bullied into planning for my husband's 60th. I'm not a social animal and hospitality is one of my weaknesses, plus it's happening at someone else's home because ours is so tiny. So far, I've kept it secret and I think we'll succeed in the surprise but to be honest, I would rather have taken him out for breakfast this morning. I'm really dreading being around a lot of people.

      And I haven't slept much in the past month.