CANDLES, INCENSE & POTPOURRI: a personal note

 History of candles    Why We Love Candles

Definition & History of Incense      Reasons we  Use Incense    All about Potpourri

Here are a few of my personal thoughts: I think theIncense smoke wisps lighting of candles, incense or potpourri,  may help us transition our thoughts and emotions away from the stress of our worldly responsibilities, and feel more connected to the elements of nature. They each have one or more of the following elements.

1. Fire   2. some type of (probably natural) element that burns or emits and aroma.  3.  Smoke that we can watch swirl, and drift to the sky (Heavens).  Each of which seems to have a calming, intriguing affect on most of us.  4.  Aroma

Aroma can have huge though sometimes subtle affect on us.  The scents may bring back  memories and emotions or the aroma chosen could be a rare or unfamiliar scent that triggers feelings of adventure  or intrigue. Scents can actually trigger physiological reactions in the body.  This could especially be the case with essential oils since they are natural living scents.  A lemon would be a good example.  Visualize picking up a lemon, smelling it and slowly cutting it in half,  the juice squirting as the rind is pierced, the tart smell of lemon and the juice slowly running out onto the table.  I bet your mouth started watering, maybe even puckering.  Scents can have not only actual physiological reactions in the body but also emotional reactions when they trigger memories of experiences from the past.

Just for fun, read the following story:

“I Love Candles.  I am a grown woman,  I have a college degree and  I know candles are made of wax.  I have known candles are made of wax for at least thirty years.  So what would possess me to dip my finger into melted candle wax, taste it, and expect it to taste like anything other than candle wax? The scent of Gingerbread Cookie Candles is what enticed me to abandon all semblance of intelligence.     I set this on a candle warmer, and within hours, my kitchen smelled like a bakery, . no, better than a bakerycandle gingerbread. It smelled like the kitchen of every grandmother and great-grandmother who has ever spent days baking for a holiday gathering. The scent is a combination of ginger, spiced vanilla, and baking cookie dough, filling the room with the warmth of wonderful holiday memories. It’s more than the experience of a pleasant scent. It triggered nostalgia, it relaxed me, and  most of all, it made me smile.  So even though I knew better, . I just had to try. Alas, the candle tasted like a candle.   By Breezeann (Experienceproject.com)

I think candles have the strongest foothold in our traditions and modern lives.   One reason might be as basic as the flame connects us to a simpler time (maybe as far back as the campfirePeoplecave man) when, at the end of the day as our world turned dark, we would eat the final meal of the day and stop our daily activities and relax around a fire and socialize…or better yet… just relax in silence..letting go of the stress and busyness of the day…. to one by one quietly fade away to our sleeping quarters.

I think in our modern lives we might like to use candles because when we go through the ritual of going and getting out a candle and finding just the right place for it and lighting it, we are showing (others? A Higher Power? Ourselves?) that this situation is important to us in some way.  I think this ritual helps us transition into the mood we are trying to achieve and helps us put our other thoughts aside.  It helps us be more “in the moment”owned---candle-shutterstock Also, when lighting candles we tend to make the rest of our environment a little dimmer if not dark.  I think this gives us a feeling of shutting out the rest of the chaotic world and creating a smaller, softer environment that feels more focused, intimate or at least more relaxed. The way the light flickers around the room, and watching the flame itself, can actually be very mesmerizing and calming, sometimes almost to the point of being trance like.  I don’t know anyone that has not at one time or another sat mesmerized staring at a flickering fire.