Jan 30, 2015

The Light of the World, and Candlemas

"All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle"

St. Franics of Assisi, "The little flowers of St. Francis of Assisi "

     On the 2nd of February, Catholic Christians, and some Orthodox Christians as well ( along with Copts and Armenian Christians  ) celebrate the holiday commemorating the presentation of the 40 days old infant Jesus, our Lord, to the temple and purification of the Virgin Mary.

Presentation of Infant Lord Jesus , at the Temple
with Simeon and Ana, the Light of the World

     The holiday has varying names, in different Christian denominations, and different parts of the world, such as :  “The presentation of Jesus at the Temple”,  “Meeting” ( Greek Orthodox Church, originally; “Hyapapante” ), “Feast of Purification of the Virgin”, or as commonly called among the pious; “Candlemas”.

     Among Eastern Orthodox churches that use Julian calendar, Candlemas, often called “Meeting”, or “The Meeting”  is celebrated on 15th of February ( according to Gregorian   calendar ).
     For Pagans, the whole 3 day period, between 31st of   January and 2nd February ( sunset ) is a sacred period, called Imboloc, orOmeilc   ,  celebrating the lengthening of the days, arrival of the spring and the  conception of their chief solar, male deity, by a  goddess Brigid. They customary   offer this goddess  with milk, or butter during these days, and make special beds, that they “dress” ( pour on them ) with milk and honey.
     Christians, similarly, on 1st of  February, celebrate the Saint Brigit ( or St. Brigid, sometimes ) of Ireland, a saint reportedly brought up by the druids, but who had, even as a child, feel drawn by Christianity, and reportedly, after hearing  St. Patrick’s sermons, got baptized herself. She founded a group of monasteries in Kildare, she was famed for her   profound spirituality, and devotion, as well as charity. Legends speak of many miracles performed by St. Brigit, from the miraculous spreading of her veil, over the enormous   partition of certain King’s land, to rendering apple trees infertile, or wondrously fruit-bearing double fruits.  Her patronage is over: blacksmiths, Ireland, workers in dairy industry, babies, farmers, poor and needy,  children whose parents are not married, scholars, to name a few.
     The Holy Light of the world

     Candlemas, commemorates the presentation of the baby Christ, in the temple, as well as purification of the Virgin Mary, 40 days after the birth. This was a custom, or rather a ritual law, according to Mosaic laws, given to people by G’d over the prophet Messiah. According to Mosaic law, a mother who had given birth  to a “man-child”  was deemed unclean  for 7 days, and had to remain ( after these 7 days ), “in the blood of her purification” for the next 3 and 30 days ( so 33, plus 7, 40 altogether ). In given time period, the new mother, was forbidden  to  step foot in sanctuary,  or even touch holy things. After the given time period, she was to present her child in a temple, bringing with her, an offering, to be prayed over by the priest, in form of young ( one year old ) lamb; “for the holocaust”, and a “young pigeon or turtle  dove for sin”. If the mother was unable to provide a lamb,  the two pigeons or turtle doves, were used instead. Having the priest pray over these “sacrifices” the mother was rendered pure again. [1]
     In case of The most Holy Theotokos ( Virgin Mary ), and Jesus, the son of Lord, fulfillment of these laws was not needed, for the Virgin was pure ( regardless of what protestants try to argue, pointlessly I must add ), and the Lord knew His Only Son,  but  the Virgin and her Son, the Savior, have fulfilled the Mosaic law requirements regardless.
    St. Simeon the righteous, prayed over offerings of Virgin Mary, and then proceeded to relay to her a prophecy, about the destiny of Her Son, the Savior, as well as the sorrow she will feel one day for losing him. In the temple, at this point was also the Prophetess Ana, who immediately started offering prayers and praise to Lord for  Jesus, and speaking to everyone  about Jesus and his role in the  salvation and redemption of Israel.
    The scripture describes the event this way:

34And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— 35and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
      36And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. 38At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:34-38)  [2]

    Simeon, who had been promised that he will not see death, before he had seen the Savior of the human race, at that point, also said a prayer, which has later became known as “Nunc Dimmitis” ( or also, “The canticle of Simeon” ) and is as follows:

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

English ( “Common worship” 2000. ):

“Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.” [3]

     The same prayer is sung, as the blessed candles are distributed to the clergy and the pious, in the temple, during the Candlemas’ service ( mass ), by the choir.
     Adressing to the infant Jesus, as the light to the  revelation of Gentiles, Simeon affirmed that Lord Jesus, is The Light of the world, or the Holy Light of the world, of which we are reminded on Candlemas, and which is embodied in symbolism of blessed candles.
     This is also, why Candlemas, in Christianity, and Christian spiritual practices and  lore is a day of purification and illumination.

     Beliefs, lore and symbolism

     There are many beliefs associated with Candlemas, but some of the most beautiful and well recorded include those about the Blessed candles, Snowdrop flowers, and pancakes ( crepes ).

      Holy ( Blessed ) Candles

     It is a tradition to bless the candles, on Candlemas, both those from church and those brought from homes, by  the pious people, but it is required that the candles are made of beeswax.  This is really essential, being that it bears an important symbolism. Beeswax, created by bees, by collecting juices and nectar from the flowers, symbolized the  virginal, and pure flesh of the baby  Christ,  because he had not broken Virgin Mary’s purity, neither by conception, nor by birth. The candle’s flame, is symbolic of Light that illuminates the darkness of the world, which Lord Christ is. [4]
     According to the Saint Anslem of   Canterbury, there are three aspects of Blessed candle to observe, the wax, representing Lord Christ’s virginal body, the wick, representing His Soul , and the  flame, representing His Divinity. [5]
     The candles obtained at the mass on Candlemas, are considered particularly holy and powerful, and are this preserved by some   folk throughout the whole year (or as long as they last) and are lit in times of great need. Particularly when one needed to defend themselves from thunder, wolves or evil spirits. By merely lighting the wick, such candle was believed to dispel evil, banish and protect from storms and wolves, and all kind of enemies ( even humans ), or heal, but oftentimes,  the act of lighting and burning it was accompanied  by a prayer, such as the following:

Jesus Christ a King of Glory has come in Peace.+ God became man, + and the Word was made flesh.+ Christ was born of a Virgin.+ Christ suffered.+ Christ was crucified.+ Christ died.+ Christ rose from the dead.+ Christ ascended into Heaven.+ Christ conquers.+ Christ reigns.+ Christ commands.+

May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning. + Christ went through their midst in Peace, + and the Word was made Flesh.+ Christ is with us with Mary.+ Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the Generation of Juda, the Root David, has won.+ Holy God! + Holy Powerful God! + Holy Immortal God! + Have mercy on us. Amen
.  [6]

    Sometimes people will even divide the candle ( cut ) in pieces, and burn the whole pieces when needed.
    While it’s not exactly the same, You could bless Your own beeswax candle, and If done on Candlemas, obtain a powerful tool of magick, at least for apotropaic work. You can bless it, as it’s suggested to be done in Solomon’s key ( The Greater key of King Solomon, or “Clavicula Solomonis” ). If You are going to make it though, You will be needing a virginal beeswax  , that is the wax that the bees had laid for their first time. Otherwise, You can purchase a waxen candle from the Christian church.
    Then You’d proceed with saying the specific conjuration, reading a set of Psalms ( around 17 Psalms, I think ) and, finally a prayer:

I exorcise thee, O creature of wax (or of Earth), that through the holy name of God and his holy angels thou receive blessing, so that thou mayest be sanctified and blessed, and obtain the virtue which we desire, through the most holy name of ADONAI. Amen “  [7]

    By sprinkling the candle ( or  was You are going to use to make it ), You’d be done, that is according to The Greater Key of Solomon. I’d also cense ( fumigate ) with incense, as that’s what the Christian priests do with  the Candlemas candles. In fact the candles are being fumigated as they pray, specific five prayers. The Catholic priests have set of 5 prayers they use to bless these candles.
    If then, You’d wish to dress this candle, You have made Yourself, You could dress it with “Essence of light” oil formula, I composed ( see the formula bellow in the text ).
    There is also a prayer used for blessing the candles by Catholic Christians, and it goes as follows:

“Lord  Jesus,
You are the Light of the world:
we praise You,
and ask You to guide our steps each day.
Help us to love You and serve You faithfully,
and to carry our daily cross with You.

Bless + this candle,
and let it always remind us
that You are our Light in darkness,
our Protector in danger,
and our saving Lord at all times.

Lord Jesus,
we praise You and give You glory,
for You are Lord for ever and ever.


     I am not certain, however, should this particular prayer be used only by the clergy  ( priests ) like in the case of those used for  creation of the Holy water, but it’s certainly befitting to be added, as a part of Your consecration ritual.


     While in Mexico, tamales and chocolate sauce are traditional food for Candlemas, and are prepared by person who found the coin ( or whatever was placed inside ) in the King’s bread on the feast of Epiphany  , in Europe it’s commonly the Crepes.
     This has also due to the belief that they stand for abundance, prosperity and wealth. There is even a belief in Europe, You should make and stalk Crepes, as the Church bells are sounded on mass some Sunday in January to ensure the prosperity through the year.
     On Candlemas, this belief would be befitting too. Fill the first crepe You make with  some Honey, roll it up, read Psalm 23 over it, and then eat it, so that You will never be hungry, but instead prosperous  in  the  upcoming month of the year.
     I use this amazing recipe for crepes    found on BBC’s website , and they always turn out amazingly.

     Our Lady of Sorrows / Softener of the Evil Hearts

     Virgin Mary, is sometimes depicted with swords piercing her  heart, in accordance with St. Simeon’s prophecy. It’s reffered to as : “Our Lady of Sorrows” or “Our Lady who softens evil
Orthodox Christian icon, from Russia,
depicting Theotokos ( Virgin Mary )
with  swords piercing her heart; "Softener of
the evil hearts"
hearts”  ( in the Eastern Orthodox Christian   Church ).
     The latter, “Our Lady who softens evil hearts” , or “Softener of the evil hearts” or “Simeon’s prophecy”, is also the  Theotokos miraculous Russian icon, which is also commemorated  on the 2nd of February by Eastern Orthodox,  and some Eastern Catholics too.
     Among the Eastern Orthodox Christians, it’s customary to pray in front of it, to soften the hearts of our enemies, or even someone from whom we seek forgiveness, or even favors ( authority figures, teachers, bank clerks etc. ). Often the part
     If You wish to pray to the Mother Mary for such, in front of mentioned icon, light also a beeswax candle, and You can very lightly coat it with honey. Bellow it You can place a name paper with the name of the person whose  heart You wish softened, although this is not necessary. After a heartfelt prayer You may wish to add these words:
Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!”

     Snowdrops or the “Candlemas bells”

     The Snowdrop flowers,  are traditional symbols of Candlemas, in Europe, as they represent  hope, light and purity. They often bloom on Candlemas, even though that some varieties can bloom earlier, later or the whole winter, as a matter of fact. They are mentioned in apocryphal Christian legend, which speaks of how Eve was frightened and devastated because of the snow, she had encountered after the banishment, but was comforted by Angel, who had miraculously made the Snowdrops appear, in some version from the snowflakes, comforting Eve thus.
     While Snowdrops  are bad luck to take in home before the  Candlemas, brought into home on Candlemas they will bring purification, illumination and luck to home, and banish evil from it.
     The poem  “Origin of  the Snowdrop”  ( by George Wilson ) illustrates nicely the beliefs about snowdrops:

"And catching, as he gently spake,

A flake of falling snow
He breathed on it, and bade it take,
A form, and bud and blow;
And ere the flake had reached the earth,
Eve smiled upon the beauteous birth,
That seemed, amid the general dearth
Of living things, a greater prize
Than all her flowers in Paradise.

And thus the snowdrop, like the bow
That spans the cloudy sky,
Becomes a symbol whence we know
That brighter days are nigh;
That circling seasons, in a race
That knows no lagging, lingering pace,
Shall each the other nimbly chase,
Till Time’s departing final day
Sweep snowdrops and the world away

Retrieved from http://www.perilousadventures.net/blog/?p=1453 , for illustrative and explanatory purposes

Essence of light oil

My own formulae, suitable for use as a devotional oil on Candlemas, and in any spiritual work associated with illumination, purification and uncrossing.

·         * Angelica roots
·         * Rosemary branch
·        *  Frankincense tears
·         * Chamomile flowers
·         * Calendula/Marigold flower

All in base of Sunflower and Jojoba mixed oil. Jojoba alone, Sunflower alone, and even Almond oil will work just fine.

Hope this was informative and inspirational for You
If I don’t post anything before it… Have a Blessed Candlemas
With luv… Shadow J

NOTES: This article was written, and composed by myself. If You wish to use any part of it elswhere online, feel free, but add  the  credits; Shadow of the Shadows magick place,  Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to  this  post 


[1] According to the Catholic Encyclopedia ( online ): http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03245b.htm
[5] According to: “The Liturgical year” by Prosper Pascal Luis Gueranger (   abbot of Solesmes )
[6] Prayer retrieved from  the source listed under [4] , for educational, and illustrative purposes,no ill will
[7] Retrieved from: “They key of Solomon” S.L. MacGregor Mathers’ edition

No comments: