Consecrating a candle to Hestia

Hestia shrine

If you keep a shrine to Hestia, chances are pretty good that you burn a candle there.  Yes, there are other sources of flame and light, and I’m sure some people use oil lamps and LED bulbs, among other things, but if you use a candle, sooner or later you’re going to need to replace it.

Like many of the things I do in ritual, the candle replacement started out simple, and has grown deeper over time.  I’m still not up to more than a couple of phrases in ancient Greek, some of which I no doubt pronounce horrifically, but over time I am moved to do more. Here’s what I did today:

The candle I’d been using was down so far that the last half-inch or less of wax was completely molten.  If the wick fell over, it would be extinguished, and while I do not leave this candle burning constantly, I believe it is disrespectful to allow it to go out through neglect.

I keep spare candles on hand, so I washed one in khernips (ritually purified water) and placed it on the shrine next to the burning presence.  I made an offering of oil to Hestia in the lit candle.

“O Hestia, I sacralize this candle as in ancient days,” I said, sprinkling some barley over the new candle.

“I welcome your presence in this new candle, as you have lived in the old,” I continued.   I stuck a long barbecue match down the glass tube of the old candle, to take some flame from one and move it to the other.  In ancient days, a household’s shrine to Hestia was lit from the temple, and kept burning constantly.  I wanted to respect that tradition.

What I wasn’t expecting was that igniting of the match extinguished the old candle, leaving only the flame on the match, with which I lit the new candle.  I sprinkled some Hestia powder and oil as first offerings to the goddess of the hearth in her new home.

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