Tag Archives: candles

The Night is Black

At this time of the year millions around the world are preparing for the triduum of  Allhallowtide, which encompasses All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween), All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. For many the preparations will include stocking up on candles for the rituals and  traditions that involve candlelight.

Millions more have begun another celebration, today, which also requires light; light to vanquish darkness and evil and despair. This celebration is the annual, five-day  festival of  lights, namely,  Diwali.

Having grown up in Fiji, where Diwali has long been an honoured occasion (and now a public holiday), I have a love for Diwali which outstrips any affection I have for Allhallowtide.   Seeing the houses decorated with beautiful Diwali lights was a yearly highlight of my childhood.

So, this week, in accordance with  my family’s customs,  I will light a Diwali candle (candles if I can find more than one).

Light a candle

Light a candle

I will listen again to the gentle singing words of Rabindranath Tagore’s Invocation to Diwali 

and consider the significance of Diwali, so eloquently expressed here:  “The night is black. Kindle the lamp of love with thy life and devotion.” (Rabindranath  Tagore)

Until night falls, however, I will keep watch with the dear, little lights that are ever present , and need no darkness to make them shine.

Little Charlie, a  new  (de) light  to brighten our lives

Little Charlie, a new (de) light to brighten our lives

 

Candelabra

Candelabra; shining light on the shadows

And, if I can organize myself sufficiently well, I may even make a special sweet treat for Diwali;  a rhubarb and apple crumble with freshly picked rhubarb from my garden.

Join me, if you will, in lighting a candle, for the night is black, and we need all the light we can get. Happy Diwali and may the light of the lamp burn brightly in all our hearts.

© silkannthreades

Apple pie and the longest night

June 21st;  the winter solstice; the longest night of the year.

The sun will set tonight at 5.01pm and not rise again till 8.03 am. A long, dark night is ahead. Harsh winter days are ahead, too, but, after this solstice, this time of standing still, the days will lighten and lengthen and provide promises of the warmth to come.

I have been quiet; gathering in the sunshine (when it appears); thinking and reflecting; allocating my physical and mental resources, carefully and sparingly.  I have been reading your blogs, as and when possible, enjoying your stories, your creativity, your company. You filter through my screen, reach out with your words and images, and become the surround sound, the presence, of my silent space, until the phone rings, or the doorbell trills, and my real-time world reminds me where I am.

Where I am….in a kitchen, looking at dishes, waiting on the sunlit bench, to be sent to the dishwasher.

Dishes standing still, waiting to be washed.

Dishes standing still, waiting to be washed.

In a kitchen, looking at the dishes, but sensing the sweetly fragrant camellias, at my back, on the sunlit table.

Yet, I am not entirely present, in this kitchen, for at the edges of my mind, I am dwelling in the time of my elders, seated at small kitchen tables, near old coal ranges, delighting in warm winter puddings, or bowls of hot porridge. And I am chuckling that this little girl, my mother’s big sister,

Best Apple Pie Maker in New Zealand

Best Apple Pie Maker in New Zealand

grew up to be the winner of a National Apple Pie competition in New Zealand, in the 1950s.  ( Yes, cooking competitions existed before  Masterchef) Who would have guessed it?  She was a star in the making.

My aunt is NOT in this photo but these people are the placegetters in the 1959 Apple Pie Competition. ( The photo of my aunt with her prize-winning pie is lying somewhere deep, and presently undiscoverable, in family files, read junk piles! )

Best Apple Pies in New Zealand 1959Placegetters in apple pie baking contest, holding their winning pies. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1959/2616-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/30664376

Best Apple Pies in New Zealand 1959 Placegetters in apple pie baking contest, holding their winning pies. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1959/2616-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/30664376

The darkness is coming; the sun is edging westward in the sky. Is it time to stop the memory clock and make a pie, perhaps?

Winter Puddings for 1957 or 2014Maori Affairs Department. APPLE PIE - (Te Ao Hou - No. 18 May 1957). Ref: Mao18TeA. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/199657

Winter Puddings for 1957 or 2014 Maori Affairs Department. APPLE PIE – (Te Ao Hou – No. 18 May 1957). Ref: Mao18TeA. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/199657

Or should I light a candle, take up the aged photo albums, and dwell a little longer with the old ones?

The blessings of the Solstices, the still time, to you all.

© silkannthreades

 

Engagements for Valentine’s Day

Engagements for Valentine’s Day:

Touch base with morning and kiss of sun on skin.

Touch base with the morning

Touch base with the morning (diamond in the rough 😉 )

Listen to summer’s song.

Smell rose.

The Scent of a Rose

The Scent of a Rose ; enough to make you giddy with delight

Hold steady,

Inhale deeply.

Sweet Fragrance

Sweet Fragrance

Berry pick.

Berry picking

Berry picking

Snack Blyssfully and Berry-ily.

Engage feet on chair.

Heart rest.

Admire Valentine’s Day gift straight from  heart of Christchurch .

Open mail with my not so secret Valentine, Ralph.

Smile, laugh. 🙂

Read; love story, A leaf in Springtime

Family time.

Time Goes By

Time Goes By

Consider symbol of twin handled Loving Cup.

Welcome  light of evening,  close of day.

Reflect  on  One Word Wonder# Love

Feel Blessed.

Blessed by the soft touch of the Rose

Blessed

Sleep well.

ps Hug son; final exams completed .

© silkannthreades

Variations on a Blue Christmas

The National Gallery in London features a painting each month which you can download as a wallpaper. Over the last 12 months I have enjoyed some lovely paintings, courtesy of this wonderful service. The masterpiece for the month of December is  ‘The Nativity” by Piero della Francesca.

The Nativity (1470-5)

The Nativity (1470-5)

The Gallery notes explain the painting, and its context, and it’s fascinating to read about the magpie, and the angels without wings, and why the donkey is not paying attention to Jesus and the ox is. But there are four aspects of this work that I adore; the blue robes, the hairstyles of the angels, the informality of Joseph’s relaxed foot and the little birds amongst the plants near the angels’ feet?

The coolness and calm created by the gentle colours in this Nativity reminded me of the year I decided to decorate a little potted Christmas tree, in my garden, in white and silver and blue.

White and Silver and Green

White and Silver and Green

That Blue Christmas was in 2005, I think, and, although I don’t have a Christmas tree this year, indoors or out, I felt a great need for another round of Christmas Blues. So I set to, quietly and slowly, piece by piece, filling my world with blue.

Perhaps my mood was influenced by a 15th Century Italian interpretation of the Nativity or, perhaps, like  Juliet Batten, author of Spirited Ageing, I am responding to a natural need to be soothed and swaddled and lullaby-ed through what can be a hot, rushed and hectic Antipodean festive season.

Last night an early summer storm raged through the inland section of our province. Hail stones destroyed farmers’ crops but, here, in the city we were spared the worst of it. As a result I woke this morning to the blessing of gentle rain on my parched garden

Rain in  the early morning light

Rain in the early morning light

and the  tranquility and peace of the soft tones of  morning light on the blues of my Christmas preparations.

In one corner of my living room, I have placed my own Nativity Scene. Not made by a famous artist but painted by the small, meticulous hand of my daughter when she was about nine or ten. The figures are  slightly worn, the lamb has sustained a chip, but the Nativity set is loved, and a  favourite decoration, no matter how I choose to colour my Christmas.

A Child's Nativity

A Child’s Nativity

No Christmas time is complete without music. I love the traditional old world songs but, this year, I am enjoying a loved New Zealand carol,  Te Harinui  (Great Joy ), written by  our own Willow Macky to mark the first Christmas service in New Zealand in the Bay of Islands in 1814. 

Meri Kirihimeti

© silkannthreades

Light in the Dark

Seeing as it’s very close to that time of year when we celebrate the  ‘light in the dark’,

A friendly light

A friendly light

in festivals as diverse as Halloween and Diwali, the beautiful Beautycalypse   and I were discussing our favourite ‘light in the dark’ songs. I mentioned Neil Young’s Light a Candle

and, before she turned out her Northern Hemisphere light, and turned in to bed, she reminded me to listen to Leonard Cohen’s Anthem.

So I did; listen, and then I listened again, and again. And then some. I ADORE (IS THAT LOUD ENOUGH?) Leonard Cohen. My words can’t fully express how his music, his voice, his poetry, soothe my soul. Although I must confess that, half the time, I really don’t know what he is on about, but, still, I  feel  his songs wrapping around my heart like a cosy, comforting, well-worn shawl,  saying ‘It’s okay, it’s okay, life can be lived”. Or something, like that; the words are faint; the feeling, the embrace, is strong.

Listening to Anthem, took me back to one of my earlier posts, Ring in the Spring ,   where I wrote that “we know, deeply, that even a broken bell has its own essential resonance”

Considering my recent visit to the  Slough of Despond, I found Leonard Cohen’s reference, (and my own), to the hope/light/life in cracked bells very reassuring; if not sweetly, sublimely,  uplifting. So, thank you Beautcalypse for helping to let the shine through, all the way to my small, temporarily “broken” place at the bottom of the world.

And thank you, too, to all my readers and followers and commenters who have been little beacons of light

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gently guiding  me out of  my momentary Slough. If I could sing like Leonard or Neil, I would sing an anthem to you 🙂

Instead, I will share my Millennium Prayer Candle,  which has been by my side, and lit on every important occasion,  since its  first lighting  on New Year’s Day 2000.

These are the words of the Millennium Prayer Candle

The Millennium Prayer

Let there be
Respect for the Earth
Peace for its People
Love in our Lives
Delight in the Good
Forgiveness for Past Wrongs
And from now on
A New Start

© silkannthreades

And sincere apologies to anyone if they  can see that I have now somehow  ‘earned” a WordPress ad at the bottom of my post! Grrrrr!

This little light of mine

I woke  this morning to the sad news of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Many of the posts I have read lately have mentioned the importance of light as a beacon of  hope. So, even though it is a bright, sunny, light filled day here, I lit a candle for the families of Newtown. The candle also reminds me, in times of horror, that there is more love in the world than the media would have us believe. In our despair at moments of inhumanity, we forget to acknowledge that love. Candle of HopeIf you would like to join me in lighting a candle, I would be so pleased.