I light candles in the golden glow before the sun goes out entirely.
I do it for protection.
I do it for love.
I do it for ritual.
For when we lose the sun at four p.m. (or sometimes earlier, even) I need to capture a bit of its power.
So I light candles in the windows. Walking into a room softly caressed in flickering light seems holy. Auspicious. Perfect. Everything is softly bathed in candlelight. It cleanses and forgives.
I could have had a no-good, terrible, shit day…week…month…year…
But when I’m able to submerse myself (for it is thick enough to sink into), it’s like a baptism.
It’s a renewal.
It’s an unassuming freedom.
This is where you’ll find me.
It’s harder to believe in the fire’s magic during the summer when the sun reclines and lingers—kissing golden shoulders, laughing and whispering amongst those on the back deck until nearly 10 p.m.—but here, when we’re nostalgic for the extremely recent past of solstice and the freshly turned year, that flicker holds all the trump cards.
Some say painting your shutters blue, or placing an acorn on your windowsill will protect from lighting strikes and evil spirits. Or try hanging a trio of basil, maple and birch on your front door for protection.
For me—in the dark months—it’s the power and warmth of fire.
It knows our wants, our needs and our soft places.
It will smooth over the rough patches and murmur “it’s okay.”
It will blur all the harsh edges, and welcome everyone home. Seeing a flickering flame in every window upon approach lets me know that ‘now’ and ‘here’ are the only words that matter—all else will dissolve in the dark.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Jess Sheppard
Editor: Emma Ruffin