Helen Richardson, Founder of Haven Melts discusses the origins of candles and how they can bring joy and delight, particularly during the pandemic.

 

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Buddha

History

The word ‘candle’ comes from the Latin word ‘candēre’, meaning ‘to shine’.  The earliest surviving candles date back to Han China 200bc, which were made from ‘whale fat’!  Since then, the manufacture of candles has been industrialised from their original purpose in lighting to becoming mainly decorative with their aesthetic and scent values, in all shapes and sizes, from small tealights to 12inch circular pillars.  The largest candle ever recorded was 80ft tall by 8ft 6inch diameter in 1897 Stockholm!

Aromatherapy

With a scented candle, the aromas of the essential oils permeate the air filling the nostrils and the sinuses with fragrances that can ignite a thousand memories, taking you back to yesteryear, that perfect night or a time from childhood.  It is then, safe to say that certain fragrances can enhance moods and arouse feelings and emotions.  Putting together these scents is not as straightforward as you think, you have to know your oils, know which oils blend well together, what type of group or note do they belong to. Top notes (first scent you smell) are light and fresh, middle notes (enhance the blend) are classically floral with a slightly fuller body and then there are the base notes (heavier scents that round out the experience) which are the musks and the woody fragrances.

 

Benefits

Whenever I look at a candle, deep into the heart of its flame, I feel inner peace and contentment, being mesmerized with its dancing colours of yellows and whites.  There is nothing quite like a lit candle, watching the flame flicker about without a care in the world.

There is much to be said about the ambience that candles can create and the healing benefits of that flame. We seek peace and clarity lighting a candle in memory of our loved ones, hoping they will see the light in the darkness.  Having a lit candle can bring peace and harmony to a room and to ourselves, whilst the essential oils can improve our moods/behaviour considerably.  Depending on the mood we want to create, there are a plethora of oils we can use.  With the help of a scented candle, we can very quickly be enveloped in a calming and soothing ambience.  The colour of your candle can also play a part in the experience, white or ivory are the most popular representing purity and peace.  At the other end of the scale, red can be used for that romantic or passionate feeling and some people like black candles, which can be interpreted as dark magic!

Soy, beeswax, or paraffin

A candle can be made from soy, beeswax, or paraffin or any number of other ingredients, it is up to everyone to decide which they prefer.  For me, I prefer soy and beeswax as they produce less ‘soot’, this means that when the candle is lit, it burns much cleaner than other waxes and it doesn’t produce much smoke.  Soy wax is made from soya beans and like beeswax, for example is organic and natural which is detrimental to the environment.

Whatever you like your candles made from or whichever scent they throw out, they all produce the same effect, that single flickering hot light of calmness and that relaxing source of contentment, regardless of what’s going on in the world outside.

 

“Always stop to smell the roses.  If there are no roses available, a scented candle should work.” Arthur Longmore

Yoga and Mindfulness Community

Thank you to Helen Richardson, Founder of Haven Melts for her guest blog on candles.  At Haven Melts, we produce hand-poured candles infused with bespoke infusions of aromatic essential oils to enhance and improve everyday life with all struggles that are thrown our way.