Candle burning is a practice that has become more popular with persons of both sexes, and of all ages and walks of life. When you ask people why they like candles, they commonly respond that the presence of a lighted candle reduces stress. Here is an exercise that takes the stress-relieving powers of a candle a step farther: you pour your stress into the candle to be burned up, then take some good energy back from the candle, to relax and revitalize you. Light the candle and say,
Then clasp your hands around the base of the candle or its container, and visualize your stress as a gray mist that flows from your body and into the candle. Continue grasping the base of the candle while breathing in a relaxed and rhythmical manner. Maintain the visualization until you feel that a significant amount of stress has been released. Then, let go o f the candle, and cup your hands over it, a few inches above the flame (at a safe distance, but close enough to feel the warmth), while saying:
Its comforting warmth,
Warmth that flows to every cell,
Relaxing, restoring, reviving.
Concentrate on the sensation of warmth, feel it drawn through your fingertips, into your hands and arms, and through your body. Warmth pours into every tense or tired muscle, relaxing it, reviving it. Warmth suffuses your entire body, filling you with a glow of well-being. When you feel that you have had enough, extinguish the candle or allow it to continue burning if you enjoy the ambiance.
Later on, if you are at work or elsewhere, you can recall the image of the candle flame, picturing it changing into a ball of energy that spreads warmth to your tensest areas, or just gives you an over-all sense of comfort.
Any candle will help reduce stress, but you may prefer shades of blue or green for relaxation, or yellow, pink, or peach for comforting warmth. Also, some may choose to perform this rite with two candles: one for releasing stress and one for drawing warmth. If you can choose candle scent or anointing oil, or use incense to accompany this rite, this is a situation where the powers of aromatherapy can be especially helpful. While any pleasing fragrance seems to alleviate stress, lavender is the aromatherapists' top choice, because it is both relaxing and reinvigorating. Some other fragrances with these qualities are patchouli and ylang ylang. Vanilla, bergamot, cedar, orange, tangerine, sandalwood, clary sage, marjoram, and rose geranium have also been recommended for stress relief.
Excerpted from By Candlelight, by Janina Renée