Tonight, in an effort to inspire an LJ friend who didn't know what to write about, I pulled an Observation Deck card.
It said, Observe a ritual.
Tonight while I was online, one friend paged me to say that she'd lost a family member just then, and within an hour another friend sent me an instant message that her father was dying, and that she'd found her favorite ferret dead in its cage. And I'm still grieving over the death of my best friend's dog, earlier this week.
“I'll light a candle for you,” I told the IM friend. “And you and yours will be in my thoughts.”
“You don't know how much that means to me,” was her response.
Well, maybe I don't know for sure how she feels, but I know that the act of lighting a candle, and watching the flame helps to center me, to warm me, and to give me strength.
I'm not a particularly religious person. Actually, I'm not religious at all, and while I do have a spiritual side, my beliefs are a mishmash of different elements of religion and spirituality that work for me. So, while I am quick to light candles, and spare a special thought for the person the candle represents, I don't say any specific prayers, or call on any deities.
I light a candle for a friend having a personal struggle, and visualize it's heat as the warmth of a hand being held, or a supportive hug.
I light a candle for the loss of a loved one, mine or someone else's, and visualize the flame as a beacon, leading everyone toward peace.
I light a candle in tribute to an animal who has gone to the rainbow bridge, and think of the unconditional love we pet-owners are priveliged to receive.
I light a candle in memory of a relative or friend, and see their face in my mind, and the flame warms me just as the memories warm my heart.
Tonight, I have three candles burning.