Sunday, December 21, 2008

A bayberry candle burnt to the socket......

This is a great tradition that was passed on to me by friends during yule many years ago. We had a holiday celebration where each person in our circle would give something (usually small, hand made and with special meaning to the giver) to every other person. I gave my home made fudge the first year. Some of the great things I received where runes, soap that was molded to look like the goddess , crystals in little bottles and other cute little items many of which I still have scattered threw out my room. But the first year I was invited to join in this festive exchange I was given a small bayberry votive and a note that read:

"This bayberry candle comes from a friend,
So on Christmas eve burn it down to the end.
For a bayberry candle burned to the socket,
Will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket."

I felt this was a great tradition and have done so every year since then. I was told the Christmas eve rule isn't in stone. You can burn it on Yule, Christmas eve or New Year's Eve and you will get the same positive energy sent out and with any luck receive your good luck and intentions back three fold.

And of course threw the decades that this has been practiced the sweet wish has a few different variations.

"A bayberry candle burnt to the socket brings food to the larder and gold to the pocket."

"Bayberry candles burned to the socket bring health to the home and wealth to the pocket!"

"To bring good luck for a year, they say,
you must burn a Bayberry Candle on Christmas Day.
And if the flame burns bright, and the light shines clear,
then heaven will bless you all the year."

Another variation is that sweethearts who light bayberry candles when they are separated at Christmas will be united by way of the gentle scent.

The bayberry candle tradition goes back to colonial times. And the origins are fuzzy. One legend says that the Bay Tree gave shelter to the holy family during a storm. Therefore, lightning is said to never strike it. But what seems to be more likely was that colonists could not depend on regular shipments from the old world, and were always searching for local alternatives. One such happy find was the bayberry bush. When colonists boiled the bayberry fruit, they found that it left a fragrant wax on top of the water. Better still, the bayberry wax was harder and more brittle than beeswax, whey they were already using. And, although making bayberry candles was considerably more effort, the colonists discovered that they burned longer and cleaner, with a brighter light than other candles. Because they took so much effort to make, many families saved them for special occasions, such as Christmas and New Year's Eve.

So what ever your reason to burn the bayberry candle during the holidays, I hope that it brings you luck, love, happiness and health in the upcoming year. Have a blessed Yule.