What is a Candle?


Two quite different candle stories here.

The first one occurred about five years after I had spent a week at the Findhorn Foundation where candles are very much in evidence and not just in the meditation centres.

I wrote the poem below in 2003 shortly after what had  began as a very pleasant series of meditation sessions with a woman who claimed to have shamanic powers, suddenly went awry.

We would assemble regularly in a yurt located in the woods about half an hour north of Victoria. And it had been the agreed practice that each one of us would take our turn in creating centrepieces using various materials, natural and otherwise, and with candles to provide a little light.

One young woman had earlier asked if I would be her friend and I agreed. I had also collected from an earlier storm some true foamy Aphrodite sea water for her for part of her creation.

But on the evening she was responsible for the centerpiece she somehow “forgets” to bring candles. So we started and finished the meditation in darkness. And, in that darkness, the leader began  by once again starting the meditation by “bashing” President Bush to indicate how much more civilized we Canadians were. On the previous occasions I had remained silent, but this was too much. So I interrupted her and suggested that her words were not at all appropriate for a healing circle. A row ensued.

Afterwards the young woman, who just four weeks earlier had told me she was so happy at all “the sweet things” I was doing, now told me we could no longer be friends because, in her words, “I had been disrespectful” of the woman in charge.

A little later I recited the poem from memory to a group of men and women in, of all places, the sauna in the near-by Oak Bay Recreation Centre ~ the universe works in wondrous ways.  One of the listeners was an artist, an English woman named Pip (Philippa) Cowan and she went home and created the painting you see above. (Another fine piece of her artwork , Tofino Spirit, which she also shared with me later, is reproduced below).


There is not enough darkness in the world
To put out the light of one candle


Where there is a single candle, there is Light.
Where there is Light, there is Love.
Where there is Love, there are warm hearts.
Where there are warm hearts, there is goodwill to all.
Where there is goodwill to all,
People live in Peace and Harmony with each other.


Where there is no candle, there is no Light.
Where there is no Light, there is no Love.
Where there is no Love, there is Fear.
Where there is Fear, there are only cold hearts.
Where there are only cold hearts, there is no goodwill towards all.
Where there is no goodwill towards all,
There is discord and people fight with one another.


No matter where you are, or what you do,
Light a candle every day
To bring a little more Love, Peace and Harmony into our world.

After a conversation with Pip, I then took a photo of the painting into a print shop and we created a greeting card as a fund-raiser, which then went all over the world. The text inside had to be much simpler, so I revised it this way:

All the darkness in the world
Is not enough to overcome
The light of one tiny candle

So light a candle every day
To bring a little more
Love, Peace and Harmony
Into our world.

Never done anything like that before, or since, in this life-time. But I do write Haikus quite often, as you can see on the page What is Eastern Poetry?


New Candle-1Tofino Spirit

So back to the Findhorn Foundation and also to the Isle of Erraid which I later visited where I helped make pillar candles, which is one way they raise money for their little community living in the old lighthouse keepers cottages.

In the dining room at Cluny Hill College, a woman from Switzerland and I would end our days by drinking tea by candlelight and quietly conversing. Later, after I had accepted her invitation to visit her family, she surprised me by lighting candles when we first sat down to breakfast in her home. That was more than ten years ago, but to this day I still light a candle most mornings when I am home for breakfast.

And the morning after I mentioned this to my sister, whom I have just visited in England, she started, as you can see, making little decorations at my breakfast place: Love is a many splendoured thing. The cereal and the banana got eaten but only after the candle had been lit and I forgot to photograph that!