Candles have been used for magic and spirituality by every civilization in history. But as I’ve been discussing, giving some care as to how those candles are made will certainly affect the magic, as well as your physical well-being.
Instead of paraffin, with its unhealthy ties to fossil fuels, you would be wise to spend a little extra for alternative materials.
Paraffin candles are not only toxic themselves, but are also the most likely to be the ones that contain lead in the wick. The University of Michigan recently conducted a study which showed that one-third of the candles tested from the United States and overseas released more lead into the air than is recommended as safe by the EPA.
The study also showed the amounts of lead in the air increased the longer the candles burned. Lead and zinc are metals commonly used in the core of the wicks, in order to make the wicks stand up straight, and thus making candle manufacturing easier.
Instead, handmade candles from beeswax would be ideal. Once more, let the buyer beware, though. A candle can be labeled “beeswax” (and carry the premium price tag) but still contain other, cheaper materials, including paraffin, as long as the beeswax content is 51%.
One of the best ways to be sure is to purchase your candles from a reliable merchant that knows their candles. Or you can ask the store to light one. Real, one hundred percent beeswax candles have a uniquely fresh smell which is unmistakably different from paraffin.
Beeswax candles have actually been reported to help people with allergies and sinus problems.
According to an article by Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, director of the famed Tahoma Clinic in Washington, “It’s not everyday you see nuns in full religious garb anymore.. But before they left the Clinic that day, the nuns taught me an approach to respiratory health I’d never even heard of before.
“Like many monastic orders, these nuns support themselves and their convent by making and selling products. Their specialty is 100 percent beeswax candles, which, Mother Thecla told me, actually clean the air, helping to reduce the pollutant and allergen load…”
“Mother Thecla told me people with allergies, sinus problems, and asthma have reported significant improvement in their symptoms, breathing better and sleeping better after burning the 100 percent beeswax candles in their bedrooms for three to four hours before bedtime.
One person who burned a beeswax candle all day when she was home reported that her asthma gradually went away completely.
“After the nuns left, I did a bit of my own research to see if I could turn up any scientific evidence on bees-wax’s effects. Although scientists still don’t know all the intricacies of the complex molecules in beeswax, there’s at least a partial explanation for the healthful action of burning beeswax candles.
According to entomologist Bill Reno, burning beeswax produces negative ions. Negative ions are nature’s air purifiers, cleaning the air of dust, mold, bacteria, viruses, and other pollutants.”
In addition to beeswax, other, more healthful alternatives to paraffin include candles made from palm, soy and other kinds of oils. (Do your homework regarding palm oil products, however, as some greedy megacorporations are turning palm oil manufacturing into a monoculture that threatens the sustainability of the agrarian communities where it is produced.)
Tomorrow, we’ll focus on our upcoming ritual on Sunday – the second candle lighting in our Solstice Sunwheel spell. It should be especially significant, as Sunday is also the New Moon. So join me tomorrow as we celebrate this darkest time.