Saturday, December 14, 2013

Flame Harnessing

image borrowed from bing

Flame Harnessing

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single
candle; happiness never decreases by being

After man discovered how to create & control fire,
it was inevitable that he would learn to encase
a burnable wick in wax in order to light his way,

& even more inevitable that he would soon
thereafter begin to use candles to represent
religious significance & symbolism.

During Colonial times one lit a single candle
in the window to welcome home family travelers,
and later, for many, the single candle stood for
the Star of Bethlehem, or for Jesus as the
Light of the World. Three candles meant
the holy trinity.

The Buddhists light candles in front of
Buddhist shrines or statues to signify
both the light of Buddha’s teachings
& of impermanence & change in life.

We find the Menorah in Jewish Temples
& homes, holding eight candles, lighting
one for each day of Hanukkah, representing
the oil that burned in the Temple for 8 nights.

Most prominently, we find those decorative racks
of votive candles in Catholic churches, usually
facing a shrine of Jesus or Mary or both,
placed in colorful jars or holders.

Lighting some of these candles somehow
intensifies one’s prayers for the safe return
or improved health of a loved one, &
all kinds of special circumstances.

It is important to understand the color coding 
on votive candles:
--green for prosperity, growth, & vitality,
--white for eternal life, enlightenment, the color of joy,
--red for sacrifice, love, & passion,
--gold for eternal life or victory,
--blue for Lent or Easter, trust & faith,
--purple, often lit during Advent, to express
remorse & repentance.

On a lighter note (smile), people who
have been known to bake 100 foot wide pizzas,
or waffles that could cover a table, set out
to create the World’s Biggest Candle.

It seems the Americans have triumphed
in this endeavor with the humungous 
Caruso Candle built in Centreville, Indiana,
standing 80 feet tall, 8 feet in diameter.

Every year on Caruso’s birthday, I guess
they put a large singing tenor in a crane basket,
& lift him up to the top while he holds a blow torch--
God, I’d love to witness that celebration. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?


Mary said...

Glenn, I enjoyed all of the background material about candles & their symbolism. Interesting especially to consider the colors of candles & what each color signifies. I agree it would be fun to see the world's biggest candle!

Gabriella said...

I read that in some Buddhist temples, coconut oil is used to burn candles.
I enjoyed all the information you shared, Glenn and I like the quotation about happiness not decreasing by being shared. This probably applies to lots of positive things too.

Brian Miller said...

ha. i would love to witness that as imagine the puddle if they forgot and let that one burn down...the town might become a wax museum...ha...interesting too on the colors...dont think i knew all of them...i did remember the green and red and white from church....

Claudia said...

ha that sounds like an interesting celebration for sure.... cool how much symbolism there is in candles as well... i love white candles... i love white anyway...smiles..

Anonymous said...

Great shifts and layers to this poem. Beginning as a visual feast, it turned into an informative one, finally concluding on a fun note.

Anonymous said...

As per Glenn I need to take notes of all the information you impart in your poems. Have a good remaining year. Hope to see you next. >KB

brudberg said...

Enjoyed thoroughly the information background here Glenn.. a joy to read... and the end with Caruso on the top of giant candle..

Grace said...

That would be a sight to behold indeed ~

Thanks for the information on the significance and meaning of candles Glenn ~ Happy weekend ~

Vaksinius / Vaccinius said...

"Light" rhymes with "right"! *smile* Shining in the "night", not to "fight", the ultimate "might"! "Light" gives "sight". *smile* And Christ is He!

Wow. Maybe that will become a poem.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I enjoyed this interesting read, inclusive of traditions and branching out into Guinness factoids I did not know about. Cool, Glenn!

Morgan/ said...

Very Interesting and beautifully expressed as well ;)

lynndiane said...

Thanks for shedding some light on candle traditions!

Anonymous said...

Such information provided - almost a documentary. Thanks for sharing the different symbolisms and as for the blow torch and the basket… that could only spell catastrophe I would think ~ smiles

Laurie Kolp said...

That would be awesome... I wonder if it's scented!

Hope you're having joyful holidays, Glenn.

Ron Shields said...

candles have always represented impermanence for me...I really enjoyed reading this candle lesson.

Victoria said...

So fun, my favorite poet/historian. Had never heard of the Caruso candle.It seems you've covered the bases of candles in religious usage. I would add the New Age/Native American understanding of the four direction and their corresponding colors. I always enjoy to discover how most all religious or spiritual practices and, to some extent, beliefs merge--which I think shows that we are a whole.

Brian Miller said...

hey man...i hope you had a great christmas....smiles.