Since Candlemas is coming up, I thought I’d mention an idea for an inexpensive thing to add to an altar for a deity. While I have splurged in the past and bought little statues from Sacred Source for a few of my gods, I also get blank prayer candles from the grocery store and glue my own pictures on them.
I’m not sure how common these things are in areas without a large Hispanic community, but around here these religious candles, or Veladoras, are easily found at local grocery and drug stores. The largest grocery store in my town recently expanded its selection. They are of course completely Christian and not at all pagan or witchy, oh no! We’ve got the Seven African Powers, who were totally best buddies with Jesus, despite being African gods, and Santa Muerte, who is of course a saint and not some sort of death goddess. There are Garlic candles (Ajo Macho) to keep away evil, and the Hummingbird of Love (Chuparosa) for romance. They also have spell candles to help you get a job, win the lottery, and remove the Evil Eye. They’ve had the Win the Lottery candles for years, but I’m glad they finally added the job candles, because that seems like a much more useful thing to be praying for.
But seriously, I’m glad the Hispanic community has managed to preserve their old traditions. Makes it so much easier for a pagan like me to find magical supplies.
They also expanded their selection of blank colored candles. They used to only have red, white, and blue, but now they’ve added more colors, including green, gold, and hot pink. It would be nice if one day these candles also came with German, Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, and other deities on them, but for now, the blank ones will have to do.
To make a Veladora for one of your own deities, all you have to do is pick out a blank candle of an appropriate color (such as red for Thor), or a white one will work for anybody. (I’m not sure which gods would like hot pink.) Then you have to do some searching online to find a picture of the deity you like, or I suppose you could even draw your own. Download the picture and crop it to the right size (about six inches tall), then print it out. Ordinary glue sticks seem to work just fine to glue it onto the candle.
It’s nice when the candle has burned down enough for the light to glow through the picture.
Yes, I do sometimes burn a candle for the Virgin of Guadalupe too, especially on her feast day in December. I see her as a very popular local goddess I should be on nice terms with. And when our cat was sick, my husband got a San Martin de Porres candle for her, and she did get better. I burned a Seven African Powers candle when the Haitian earthquake happened, and I burn a Chuparosa candle on Valentine’s Day.
Cultural appropriation? I don’t know. I mean, they are at the drug store.