You know when you finish a candle and there is always some wax left at the end, when it can’t burn anymore for whatever reason? Sometimes it’s a lot, sometimes it isn’t. That’s what I used to make these candles!
Lots of modern witches I’ve read or watched content from go the totally other way – they believe that once a candle goes out, it’s no longer spiritually safe to use, and should be disposed of.
I can definitely see why they would take that stance. Perhaps if I found myself in a different lifestyle or part of my life, one where I have more monetary flow, and don’t feel as though I necessarily have to conserve so much, I’d feel the same way.
I see making sure that I honor the material, and make sure that I don’t go without, as the crux of this practice.
Not to mention that it is deeply satisfying to see how just saving scraps (sometimes, literally, pieces smaller than my fingernails) can lead to having a full stock down the road.
Not only a full stock, but stock that I made.
In a way, even if the original candles were spiritually “void,” I see the intention and energy that I put into lovingly saving and re-crafting them, as a way to rejuvenate the material. What was once dead, combined with the rest of the dead material, creates new life.
I don’t see these as “ritual-specific candles” that have to be super-pure, anyway. They’re all-purpose. Though I certainly could use them for spirit-specific work, if I wanted to. I’m sort of a “do with what you have” kind of gal, which is not to say I don’t seek out specific items sometimes. I believe that intention and gratitude, as well as celestial timing, when relevant, are usually more powerful than having exactly the right color or item.
Very literally, I have created hours of light out of what was totally useless.
I also am touched by how, after the mixing of the many colors that went into the wax (orange, white, maroon, blue, yellow, red… many colors over the course of over a year!), the color ends up being similar to my skin tone.
Yeah, I’m noticeably pinker (“cool”) whereas the candles are on the “warm” side of the spectrum. Nevertheless.
As I burn the candles, I feel a deep connection with them, like they truly came from me. When I burn them, it sometimes feels like I’m a prehistoric woman who knows and lives on a level of truth that we can’t really imagine, that what she handles and what gives her light is her. Maybe she made the candles from her own earwax, toe cheese, and vaginal fluid – literally, from her own body.
Sort of gross, maybe, but you know, the word “gross” did not have the meaning of “disgusting” until 1958.
It really means “strong” or “thick or fat,” which really means whole and healthy.
So yeah, gross.
And I’m also doing right by my intentions to create as little waste as reasonably possible. I’m definitely not like that lady (who is also from New York State like me) who only created a mason jar of trash in two years (and tbh, even though directly that is true, there’s a lot that gets wasted even when the consumer doesn’t waste, but that’s research I’m not getting into). But I do my best.
I eliminated what would have just caused more junk at the landfill and turned it into something beautiful that is totally functional on a primal level (when we made firelight, we won – when we learned how to package firelight for later use, we soared).
The twine and glass pieces were found by me in my neighbors’ garbage.
I first started “dumpster diving” years ago. Though I don’t really do the full-on diving anymore, my “manifestation” abilities continue. Some days in my world just randomly happen to bring me to “manifestation stations” where I find so much stuff, just readily set out. No contact with anything nasty. People usually separate nasty from clean, even if they’re expecting the landfill truck to pick it up. Works out great for me because I find so much stuff!!!
I’ve found so much stuff indeed, from full-size crochet blankets (that I KNOW took weeks to do, because my mom is a skilled afghan maker, and I also have some crochet experience), to brand new or “like new” other sorts of bedding, including down blankets and pillows, to furniture, to clothes (yeah, people throw that stuff out instead of bringing it to the clothing donation… it’s very sad, but I intercept a LOT of it), random useful stuff, such as the twine and candle glasses I poured the wax into.
The day that I found the glasses, they actually were in the condition of still being completely unused and FILLED candles. At least 5 or 10 of various sizes, from TWO different houses. I burnt them as normal, put the buttwax into the pot, washed the glasses, and reused them for this project.
Synchronicity, undoubtedly, that two different houses gave away candles on the same day less than 1/2 mile away from where I live. You can’t make this shit up, folks.
I continue to see in my reality (despite sometimes when I freak out and get upset that I’m not making the money I want to be making) that I am always taken care of, always lifted and provided for. As long as I value every little bit, and allow myself to learn and practice creativity with what I have, I’ll always have what I need.
It may seem kind of silly – after all, the monetary value of the utilitarian use of what I have here is, what, 5 or 6 bucks? If I equate it with candles from the dollar store, I mean – I do recognize that because these are DIY artisan items, they actually have a value much higher than that, but technically speaking, if all someone wants is just a candle, then a candle is a candle is a candle and the cheap ones at the 99c store are just fine. And, right now I can afford that, if I wanted to. There have been times, though, where I have not been able to afford that, even if I tried. Where what I had was what I had. Those times are what taught me how to conserve, and I believe that what I have learned has the capability to allow me to be able to continually increase what is available to me.
But even if that never happens, even if what is available to me decreases, I know I’ll always have the creative ability to make what I need out of what I have, or what I find. The meaning of the phrase “waste not want not” is not just a parental rejoinder to me. I live it, by choice, to the best of my ability, like I know my ancestors did.
For this project, I didn’t even have to buy a wax melting pot and large stock pot to boil in, because my Mom already had them. Thanks Mom.
What you see in the pot is what I’ve thrown in there since these last candles. Yeah, at the bottom is a stub of one of the ones I made above!
Besides the awe and beauty I experience when I melt this wax to make new candles, doing this teaches me about what wax does and how it moves. I am no expert candlemaker at all, but boy, is it a cool substance. In the second picture above you can see the layers I poured. I tried two methods – pouring all at once, and pouring in layers. The former created “valleys” in the top of the candles, which led to uneven melting while burning. Layers, though it takes longer, creates a flat top, which gives a more even appearance, and doesn’t leave a “wax wall.”
One thing, though. Once you melt wax in a wax pot, it’s all but impossible to clean it out, which means that there’s always a little bit of the last batch left in there.
And just for fun…
I dipped two plain votives – that were from the dollar store – into my “earwax and body scrapings” wax (just for the record, I did not include that stuff in this batch… but maybe next time I will, who knows… I just have to be careful to not give them to anyone else, then), and this is what happened:
It’s the same wax, but because it’s just a sheen, the texture of the little bits of herbs and burnt wick from the salvage come through and it creates what I think is a very unique and beautiful look.
I’m planning on doing more posts on some of the salvages I have made at the manifestation stations I have found, so stay tuned!