By Moriah Burke
As a pagan, I’ve heard many people say, “I’ll light a candle!” and I’ve also lit quite a few candles in my practice. Lighting a candle is in some cases the Christian equivalent of saying a prayer. I personally believe in having a candle lit for mothers in labor as their labor progresses. For me, this has usually entailed me not being physically present for the labor but starting a “labor vigil” once word has gotten out that the time is near. In a recent case, I did use a candle during a labor that I was doula for while the labor progressed at home. Thankfully, I’ve never had a candle burn down.
I fully support the use of “Birth Circles” which is a circle cast around a laboring mother to create a safe and protected place for her to birth. Within the birth circle, the candle should be blessed with the intention that the candle represents the child being born and that some of their mother’s protective and laboring energy will be infused into the candle as well as the love, support, and protection of the family and loved ones who are present for the birth.
I use tall glass candles that are often sold in occult stores and even grocery stores. The “problem” is that these tall candles are not quick to burn out. So what do you do?
I sometimes decorate the candle with ribbons or draw pictures on it that I feel relate to the newborn. In one example, I found a ribbon with baby pink and blue footprints on it and connected it around the candle with a brad. I believe in writing the name and all of the birth stats of the newborn on the candle once the child is here. Birth times, dates, and names are powerful and individual signifiers for the newborn. Keep the candle after the birth if you are close to the mother and newborn and expect to be in their lives and later on when the child is sick or in need of some magical help, use the candle in prayer and meditation to send positive healing energy to the child. Or give the candle to the mother and explain the purpose of the birth candle.
It’s always best to get permission from the mother before doing any kind of working or blessing that concerns her or her child(ren). Please take that into consideration.
If you have any questions about the birth candle, please feel free to leave them in the comments.
Moriah Burke is an eclectic pagan and a doula in training.
Editor’s Note: This article is re-published with permission. The original appeared here.