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Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I’ve been thinking ‘bout all the candles in my life. There have been so many. Too many to count.

I’ve always been rather fond of candles. Mesmerized by flickering flame. The heat. Bewitched by the warm glow.

I’ve lit candles when storms crashed trees to earth. When electricity became nothing more than a hoped-for remembrance.

I’ve lit candles as a precursor to love. Scented they were. I’ve circled tubs with candles galore as a prelude to bathing a beauty. I’ve kissed my way to ecstasy to the scent of vanilla courtesy of a candle-maker’s art.

I’ve read poetry by candlelight.

I’ve experienced poetry by candlelight.

* * *

It was during my first adventure in Paris that I finally accorded candles their rightful due. There were the cathedrals: Notre Dame of the magnificent flying buttresses, Saint-Chapelle of the glowing glass, Sacre Coeur (that glistening white hive where I heard angelic voices unlike any other) and Saint Sulpice, the cathedral of the quaint towers. I visited them all. I prayed within each. How can one NOT pray in places such as these? These cathedrals were hewn from stone by pious hands over the course of decades...centuries. The faith expressed without/within can neither be denied nor dismissed. Regardless of one's theological belief, these truly are holy places. Humans sacrificed and suffered (sometimes died) to elevate those spires to sky.

These are places that cannot be denied. These are places where the soul soars.

And it came to pass that I took to lighting votive candles for those I love in each and every cathedral and church I came to explore. There was a certain order to my ritual. First lit was a candle for my father, then my father-in law (both departed), then my mothers, my lovers, my friends and mentors.

It was no small matter, this lighting of the candles. Each cost me a Euro or two. Each required a prayer. Currency was crammed in poor-box. And the prayers? Well, the prayers took thought and time. My knees can attest to that.

It was thought and time well spent.

* * *


Blogger Kass said...

This idea of ritual, of making physical our most spirited emotions and intentions is a powerful thing. I commend you for the beauty and order with which you continually instill your life.

Wed Mar 31, 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

pyro :o)

Wed Mar 31, 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

There's something completely otherwordly about candlelight... the soft glow,

(Oh for crying out loud... I type looking at the keyboard and look up at the screen and laugh. 'Flishering'... I laugh and completely lose my train of thought!)

the flickering light, the dancing shadows... all give an ambience to any place that just cannot exist in any other light. Words become whispers, softness pervades even the atmosphere. The heart rules in candlelight... in any venue, be it bath or cathedral.

Your honouring of those you cherish with candles in cathedrals is a monument to the size of your heart, Jonas.

Wed Mar 31, 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

Unfortunately for me candles are not soothing, a bad experience in my youth put me off them for the most part even though I appreciate others fascination with the flicker and aura of the light of the wax.

You did inspire my blog post today Jonas. Thank you.

Wed Mar 31, 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Wine and Words said...

Well, next time upon a cathedral you do kneel...light one for me, would ya Jonas?

I love candles. Have taken to lighting my home only thus after dusk...I think there are 13 to be own ritual, building shadowns where I live in rosey glow.

Wed Mar 31, 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger anna said...

I have my own special association/memories with candles. Watching the light flicker in my lover's eyes as he tilts the candlestick and watches the molten hot wax drip onto my skin. The anticipation of the burn is always much worse than the actual heat from the wax. And then having him very carefully and meticulously flick and scrape the hardened wax from my covered nipples with a sharp knife. Wonderfully intimate moments filled with breathless fear and excitement.

Wed Mar 31, 01:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I experience a lot of comfort from candlelight. It seems to soothe me. But I can't keep typing because I am laughing at Cheesy's comment. Too funny!

Thu Apr 01, 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Ah, Kass, Kass...if you only knew! I am not one who can be rightfully characterized as "organized". Quite the opposite. I do have a few (paltry few) "rituals" I practice because they bring me joy. The rest? Chaos.

I've yet to burn down a cathedral, My Queen.

I do loves me my candlelight, Ponita.

I'll have to saunter over to your blog, AJ.

I'd be more than happy to light a candle for you, Ms. WaW, the next time I venture into a cathedral. Can't say as I know when that may be...

Yes, Anna, candles have many indispensable uses...

Laughter and candlelight. Not a bad combination, right Selma?

Sat Apr 03, 04:35:00 PM  

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