Fragrance and light be they in the form of vapours, candles, lamps, incense, smouldering aloes and woods, flowers and their natural oils, have long been associated as healing potions in meditation, dance, music, tales of love and the rites of passage. Since time immemorial, the need for wellness in our lives has been essential. Across diverse cultures carefully crafted concoctions were used to stimulate the senses and nurture wellbeing. Sages and yogis of the East burnt a variety of fragrances in pottery vessels and metal urns to still the mind. Medieval monks lit candles prior to assembling for prayer and choir, their voices and souls raised to the heavens yet prostrate in obeisance.
Pervading fumes and illumination are also intertwined with Indian classical dance and music. The ritual of burning incense and oil in brass lamps precede performers taking to their presentation space and as the flames dance in the lamps and smoke from the incense rises towards salvation the sacred and the profane are united. The Gods seem to descend from their abode and the mortals ascend to a higher plane.
Crackling Wooden Wick Candles (Click to hear the candle crackle while it burns).
For aeons humankind have revered fire and with it the all potent, pervasive power of light. Ancient wood burning cauldrons raised on peripheral castle plinths, the molten flames showering sparks, across inky skies guiding beacons for ships bringing in treasures from distant lands. The sun and moon Gods were worshipped by the Aztecs, the Egyptians, Sumerians, Romans and the Chinese.
Hindus sanctify marriage around sacred flames imbued with camphor and consecrate the dead to flames in the belief that an important requirement for immortality is our return to ashes.
Not to forget romance! Within the hearts that flutter lies the leaping flame, dancing its exuberant joyous dance of longing, ecstasy, tantalisingly tugging at thoughts of togetherness. Have we not romanticised fragrance when lovers offer each other the gift of the ubiquitous rose, its heady perfume enough to make one swoon as garlands fashioned of fresh blossoms anoint wrists and bosoms, their scents permeating the physical and the intellect. Who would dare question moonlight not playing sentinel to the escapades of Romeo and Juliet?
The sun, powerful symbol of light, sets on another day as evening draws its darkening mantle closer, the surrounding bustle quietens and we settle in for time to ourselves. Candlelight brings closure to the remains of my day and the dance of the flame begins… at first a quiet whisper of luminescence and then the intensity deepens.The glow burning taller and brighter, sapphirine at the corners, orange in between. Its golden vortex rises plume like, statuesque, swaying unabashed, unbridled, calling out to the gathering dusk to connect. Unable to resist this drawing in, I watch the radiance flicker, fall, rise to a crescendo then quieten to a calm steady burn and I willingly yield to
my inner dance of the flame.
Blog By – Madhulekha Das @collectcuratecreate