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A Circle is cast between the worlds. This space is filled by gentle candle light, and filled with the scent of fragrant herbs. Energy is raised, focused with purpose and then released with a sudden "whoosh." While there are many types of energy used in magic, you may be using Sunlight more often than you realize, since Sunlight is hidden deep within your herbs and candles.
Plants Store Energy:
Remember learning about photosynthesis? Photosynthesis is easy to understand. Warm, bright Sunlight rains down upon the Earth, while plants drink in its golden energy, nurturing themselves with it. In simple terms, "photo" means light and "synthesis" means building something, putting the pieces together. Plants use the Sun's energy, through photosynthesis, to bond together the raw materials found in the soil, making the fiber and oils and materials the plant needs to survive. These bonds are like tiny little rubber bands which the plant uses to tightly hold the soil's basic materials together, building itself from the Earth's nutrients. These chemical bonds turn stray atoms into well-organized molecules; they turn molecules into organic material, organic material into stems and roots and branches and flowers and seeds.
The energy in these bonds are the "glue" that holds the plant together. This is the secret to the energy released when wood or other plantlife is burned. Flame is actually the stored energy being suddenly released during combustion, like the violent snap of all those tiny rubber bands! So, the flame we see as we burn a piece of wood is actually the release of hidden Sunlight, locked away a tiny bit each day as the plant faces its leaves toward the Sun and uses photosynthesis as a means to build itself from the chemicals found in soil.
Perhaps that release of Sunlight explains the special sentiment we humans have about fire, whether its a cozy romantic fireplace, or the primal roar of dancing around a festival's bonfire, or even burning the Yule Log as a remembrance of the Winter Solstice.
The Sun's Energy in Herbs:
Many believe that certain herbs can be used as tools in magic. If burned as incense, these herbs are going through the same combustion release of stored Sunlight that we described earlier. But not ALL magical uses of herbs call for the herb to be burned. Whether burned or not, that same stored-up amount of Sunlight energy is still present within the structure of plant, like little solar batteries. This solar energy could effect the magical properties we believe the herbs hold. Perhaps when we use herbs in magic, we are focusing their energy and releasing it to fulfill the specific purpose of the spell. That energy could be the hidden solar energy locked away within bonds of the plant.
The Sun's Energy in Candles:
Most candles today are made of paraffin wax. And wax is a petroleum product made from oil. And where does oil come from? Oil comes from organic materials that once were plants, very old long-gone plants.
Picture a lush green forest, alive and thriving in the Sunlight. But like any living thing, a forest must eventually pass on and die. When conditions no longer allow the forest to continue, its trees fall one by one over time. They decay and decompose. Century after century, ion after ion, this decomposing plant-matter could possibly form into a thick, sludgy mixture which we call oil. Yes, one source of oil is the long-term decomposition of plantlife into petroleum.
The flame we love so dearly in a candle burning bright -- is that SAME flame we see burning in the warm summer sky. The Sun. Again, the fire from burning petroleum-based wax releases the energy stored away in the chemistry of plants as they utilize Sunlight during photosynthesis.
But with candles, the energy we release is somehow different. It's not like burning a stick of incense made from a herb that grew over one or two seasons. It's not like burning a campfire log, made from a tree that grew over a few decades. Candles are made from age-old oil which takes thousands of years to form from the dark sludgy mixtures deep within the Earth. The Sunlight we release from candles actually shone upon the land long, long ago. The light we see comes from a time long past, from a Old time when things were much different than they are today. Think of this as you light your prayerful votive candles, as you light the four candles of the elements, as you light the God and Goddess candles in Circle, or even as you blow out your festive birthday candles and make a wish!
The Sun's Energy in Everyday Life:
is all around us every day. True
believers of Kitchen Witchery will tell you that cooking or other daily events
can be very, very a magical. Just
visualize. See the Sunlight in the flame
of your stove using natural gas, which is formed often in the same fields as
oil. See the Sunlight in the glow of
your barbecue coals, remembering that they were once trees soaking up solar
nourishment. And as you travel, address
the combustion within the engine that makes your travel possible. Gasoline (a petroleum-based fuel), while not
very ecologically favorable, still burns itself by unlocking the Sunlight
stored away by long-gone forests of plantlife.
Remember it the next time you start your car and pray for safe
travel. You can even visualize that same
solar essence as you trace back the energy produced by power utilities, who
burn oil to run their turbines, making the electricity that cleans our clothes,
heats our homes or does any other job which may have seemed quite mundane UNTIL
you think of it as calling upon the power of the Sun to bless what you are doing.