Mother Earth Living

Fire and Ice: An Ice and Candle Centerpiece

Candles are hot for the holidays. Here’s a cool ritual to make the most of their symbolic beauty.
By Stephanie Rose Bird
November/December 2005
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Combine the elements of earth and air in this beautiful display.
Photo By Joe Coca

Content Tools

Combining the elements of earth and air, this beautiful display of fiery candles amid ice is elemental magic at its most basic. As you watch the flickering flames and ice melting, reflect on winter’s beauty and mystery—and share stories of what you most enjoy about the season.

1. Gather your favorite evergreens. Choose a few cuttings each of holly with berries, juniper with berries, cedar, spruce, and pine branches.

2. Pour water into a rectangular plastic container until it’s half full. Place 3 to 7 beeswax candles (about three to four inches tall and 2 to 4 inches wide) in the water.

3. Add the evergreens and berries in the container in a pleasing arrangement around the candles. Cover the greens with water so they’ll appear to float once frozen.

4. Place in the freezer a few hours (or outdoors if it’s cold enough) until frozen solid.

5. Slide out the rectangular block of ice, with greens frozen inside, onto a fireproof plate or old cookie sheet covered with foil.

6. Light the candles. Say a winter prayer, offer a blessing, and be thankful.

The Nose Knows

Make sure the fragrance your candles carry is naturally derived. Look for candles scented with essential oils extracted from berries, roots, leaves, stems, bark, or flowers. Pure essential oils have a venerable past and a tradition of healing for numerous cultures. Avoid synthetic fragrances, which smell strong, are petroleum derived, and contain suspected carcinogens.

Which Wick is Which?

Some wicks contain lead or metal alloys such as zinc or tin that contain lead, which may be unhealthy, particularly for children. Many U.S. candle makers have voluntarily agreed not to sell lead-wicked candles, reports the National Candle Association, but some candles—particularly those from China—-may still contain lead. If you’re suspicious about a candle’s content, test it for lead by rubbing a piece of clean white paper across the unburned wick. If there’s a trace of a metallic, grayish color on the paper, that wick contains lead.

Candle Resources

Aloha Bay(800) 994-3267
vegetable wax candles

Bear Creek Candle Company(303) 679-0096
beeswax candles

Bee Bright(831) 423-7185
hemp oil and beeswax candles

Fireplace Candle(310) 798-4919
soy candles

National Candle Associationtrends, safety tips, ideas

Pacifica Candles(866) 337-7100
soy and food-grade paraffin candles

Santa Fe Candle Company(505) 983-1548
beeswax candles

Wholesale Supplies Plus(800) 359-0944
candlemaking supplies

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