Another very beautiful thing to craft in regards to shrine keeping are our own candles.
For me, they're particularly important as they hold the sacred fire in which the whole practice consists!
They're very easy to make with a little practice and as in the other consummables, your work will bless and personalize your instruments for your own means, making your devotional work or magic particularly potent. As in everything in life, the more energy and time you infuse into things, the better the results, since you're weaving into this the love and devotion you have for our Goddess.
For making these devotional candles, we gathered the instruments and ingredients in the altar, and blessed them. Singing the Orphic hymn to Hekate, we requested The Goddess and Spirits of the ingredients themselves for their help in our workings. Poured offerings and libations
Local beeswax from a friend beekeper. Tenerife has wonderful artisanal and traditional honey producers and you can buy straight from them the wax, propolis and the honey itself. - We chose to use beeswax because of the relationship between Hekate and Melinoe, as well as honey being a traditional offering for her but you can use soy wax if you're vegan instead.
Dried rosemany and lavander collected from our balcony plants - Lavender in particular is a sacred herb associated to Hekate in the Orphic Argonautica, namely the species is Lavandula Stoechas . Other herbs you could use would be saffron, garlic peels, ect. - Be safe and don't use acconite for this!
100% cotton thread
a strainer, since the beeswax was completely untouched so it had a bit of "impurities", you might not need it.
a double boiler
a cutting board and a knife
The technique was the most interesting part of this operation. I wanted to try the dipping tecnique since I had never done candles without a mold before. They admittedly start by looking lanky and strange,t takes a bit of getting the hang of it but the results are very satisfying. Just got to trust the process and your own hands.
So, we started by placing a hard cardboard roll for support in the form of a T, so we're able to hang the candles from it while drying. Cutting a few bits of cotton thread, about 15 cm in length each. These will be your candles eventually, one on each side of the thread.
Set the double boiler with water on the stove and slowly melt the wax. The process of candlemaking is very simple: take the cotton thread in your fingers by the middle, being that the two extremes hang loose. Then dip it in the wax and hang in the T support to dry, follow with the rest of the threads. Just keep diping each thread in the wax until the candles are of your desired width, you'll see little by little they will be taking form.
When mine were done. I placed a bit of lavender on my cutting board and as I took the candle out from the wax, quickly rolled it around in the flowers to make them stick and after that, gave them a final dip for the lavender to stay in place. Be careful not to over do it with the herbs (as I did!) since you can create a fire hazard if you leave them unnatended. I went a little crazy with the amount of flowers, less is more in this case.
When all your candles are thick and herbed, you can cut the cords to separate each one. and the ends to make them even, so they stand on their own. Something nice about the beeswax is that is very flexible and it will let you mold the candles a little bit to make them straigther or nicer looking
To finish the candles I let them cure for a couple days before using them. They make a wonderful devotional offering and "torches" if you represent them in your particular altar.
Hopefully this will inspire you to create and experiment with your own set of candles!
For more information about the herbs you can use (please again, do not use baneful herbs if you're not extremely, extremely experienced in working with them!) refer to:
- Orphic Argonautica, C4th CE, trans D. Ogden
-Circle for Hekate, Volume I: History & Mythology - Sorita D'este, Avalonia Publishing,
Read the first part of this blog here: