Oracular Arts and Crafts: Altar Candle Holders

April 15, 2017 | Filed Under Community Altar | No Comments

As one of my Patreon perks, I offer patrons a dedicated candle on my Community Altar each month. While I use regular taper candles for the dedicated candles, I use chime candles for the four directions. They take about a half hour to burn, which is the amount of time I like to spend meditating at my Community Altar, so it’s a decorative and non-intrusive way for me to track the time.

Finding nice holders for such small candles is a challenge, and I haven’t found any that I like that actually do a good job of holding the candle upright. (A candle falling over in the middle of meditation is not conducive to continued peaceful thoughts!) I’d been using some inexpensive metal holders as my most recent option, but the supports were too loose to hold the candles securely, causing the candles to tilt and spill wax all over the altar cloth. And that’s not a fun thing to clean up!

So, I picked up some more Prang Das clay (the clay I used to make my own extended set of runes at Winter Solstice in 2015), and made my own holders.

First, I made a pattern from one of the metal holders I was using:

Making the Pattern

Making the Pattern

Then, of course, the fun part—rolling out the clay and cutting the bases:

Playing with the clay

Playing with the clay

Creating the round bases was easy. Creating the small support to hold the candle in the center—not so much. I ended up rolling the strips around a pencil to shape them. Not elegant, but certainly effective!

The shaped holders, ready to start the drying process:

Ready to dry

Ready to dry

Das is an air-dry clay, unlike others which require heat. I left them alone for 24 hours, and they were perfectly ready for the next step. I used an emery board to smooth the edges and even out the bottom of each base so it would sit flat on the altar.

Then, the tricky part—how to decorate them? I won’t tell you how long it took me to come up with the final design.

The Finished Product!

The Finished Product!

Each holder has a bindrune inscribed on it, reflecting the qualities of the directions (clockwise from the top):

North: bindrune of Uruz and Ac, invoking strength of body and of spirit for the community.

East: bindrune of Mannaz and Gebo, expressing the gift of mutual respect between each member of the community.

South: bindrune of Mannaz and Mannaz sharing a common stave, signifying unity.

West: bindrune of Gebo and Wunjo, creating frith in the community.

Each holder has its designated quality written in runes around the support, and the direction on the underside of the base.

And here’s what they look like in use on the Community Altar:

Community Altar

Community Altar

The candles fit securely in the supports, and are easy to place and remove. The bases are stable and small enough to fit on the tiny table that is currently the Community Altar.

The working time was less than 90 minutes total; the longest part was waiting for the clay to dry. I did this project over the course of a few work days, and you could also easily do it in a weekend.

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