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Dressing Candles for the Ancestors

The ancestors, the well-wishing dead both known and unknown, are deeply important within my spirituality. I regularly dress vigil candles for the known and unknown ancestors. For me, dressing a vigil candle typically involves adding oils and herbs. To do this, I pierce narrow channels into the candle wax. For my unknown dead, I pierce three holes into a black vigil candle (using a metal kabob skewer or knitting needle). For my known dead, I do the same with a white candle. I then use an eyedropper to fill the channels. A few years ago, I crafted an ancestor oil blend for this purpose.


Ancestor Oil Recipe

25 milliliters of carrier oil

4 drops of Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) essential oil

2 drops of Clove (Syzguium aromaticum) Bud essential oil

4 drops of Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) essential oil

3 drops of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

1 grain of Myrrh ( Commiphora myrrha) resin

1 Snowflake Obsidian bead



The essential oils in my ancestor oil blend are common ingredients in two lustral waters that have a long history as Hoodoo offerings to the dead: Florida Water and Kananga Water. The snowflake obsidian bead is included for the practical purpose of helping to blend the oils. It also aids with spirit communication and I personally associate it with the Greek goddess Hekate, in her aspect as Anassa Eneroi (Queen of Those Below). The grain of myrrh is included for its long association with the dead as well. The myrrh tree as sacred to the ancient Egyptians who planted it all over the Valley of Kings.


After adding the ancestor oil blend to the candles, I top off each one with finely powdered mullein herb because of its association with the dead and facilitating contact with them. I use a small amount of the herb for each candle because mullein will ignite fairly quickly when exposed to flame.


Ancestor candles can facilitate connection with the well-wishing known and unknown dead of an ancestral line and make for a wonderful general offering to them. Happy candle dressing and ancestor connecting!

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