I remember as a kid how excited I was to set fire to a candle which was neatly stored away for emergency such as a power failure. What was once magical became a nuisance as I got older; all cozy in my comfort zone and a black out no longer fun. Have you had the experience of being quiet and still in the dark; only a lit candle to keep you company? What did it feel like?
Being a winter person, I just love the cold and chill but I won’t survive without a minimum dose of sunlight. Apart from being the source of energy to all living creatures, light is indispensable to our spiritual well-being. Have you ever wondered how many different festivals of light there are around the world? And most of them take place in mid-winter…think…
I have batches of Tealite candles within an arm’s reach as I burn oil throughout the day and they serve as my props for meditation. It is our innate nature to create light in the depths of winter. It is human instinct to make room for light in the darker months. There is the Hindu festival of Diwali, the Jewish Hanukkah, the Chinese New Year (famous for the firework display), Sweden’s St. Lucy Day, Iran’s Sadeh, Thailand’s Loi Krathong at full moon, Korean’s Seollal, and Christmas, all involving light rituals. We light up our Jack O' Lantern to scare away the creepy crawlies. Tribal men gather around bonfires, singing and dancing to the glowing flames. I keep a string of fairy lanterns near my bed for comfort and sweet dreams.
Whatever religious purposes they serve, there is a universal meaning of light and fire: liberation, hope and belief, purification, newness, victory and rebirth. They mark the significance of major (and minor) milestones, our shared human story.
Here’s a verse from the song Hard Sun taken from the soundtrack of the movie Into the Wild:
There’s a big
A big hard sun
Beating on the big people
In the big hard world.
- Rosa Wong
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