Holidays and Writing Traditions Glow with Candle
Today’s word-of-the-day selection for the holiday season is candle: (noun) – From Old English, candle is one of the oldest English borrowings from Latin. It probably arrived with Christianity at the end of the 6th century, and is first recorded in a gloss from around the year 700. Latin candela was a derivative of the verb candere, be white, glow. (Arcade Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto.)
Many celebrations use candles. First, both Advent and Hanukkah began on Sunday. Advent wreathes lit in Christian ceremonies are comprised of four candles, three purple and one pink, for each Sunday before Christmas Day. Menorahs are nine branched candelabras. One candle is lit each night. Later in December, African-Americans celebrate Kwanzaa throughout the Americas. They light seven candles (three red to the left, three green to the right, and a black center candle), which is held in a kinara, or candle holder.
The Connotation of This Luminary Term
Historically, candlelight illuminated businesses and homes. Moreover, a spillover of this incandescent term persists today. How often have you heard someone say they were burning the candle at both ends or burning the midnight oil? Perhaps it is the positive verb, can, found within candle, which stirs creative intention. Indeed, the glow seems to grow flow.
The Message That Shines Forth
The message from this term shines brightly: Light me before you begin any work to bless the gifts you bring to the table. For I will inspire you to find the best means to the end. The spiritual message illustrates that there is hope in any situation, especially when gratitude is shown for the inspiration that will surely be delivered when beginning any creative endeavor.
First, find a candle in your home. Put it on your writing table. Second, light the candle. If you are nervous about an open flame near stacks of manuscripts, flick on an electric candle. Finally, take out your journal and for 15 minutes write about an experience you have had with candles. Maybe you remember making candles in an elective art class in middle school? Maybe it reminds you of the holiday celebrations? Whatever comes up write it down. Continue to experiment with this practice as the days grow darker. The glow calls flow to it.
Here’s to growing your flow,