I’ve lived large chucks of my life without electricity. Our bedroom is a separate structure from the rest of our house, and we deliberately didn’t put any electrical wiring in that room. I much prefer candles to oil lamps.
But one thing I can’t stand at all is fake candles—those pillar-shaped, LED bulb, fake candles are cheap plastic junk. You can quote me on this: “Fake candles have wretched feng shui.” The glory of a candle from a feng shui point of view is that it’s real fire, not just a representation of that element. That’s why gas stoves are preferred over electric stoves in kitchens.
Treat candles with respect—one little candle could destroy your home if it’s carelessly neglected. That lesson came home to me in the 1990s when I was living with my roommate, Mavine. She loved to take candle-lit soak baths, and one evening I walked by the bathroom and smelled something burning. Our cotton shower curtain had caught on fire from a candle! Mavine was famous for being a very responsible person, and I realized that if she could make that mistake, it must be a very easy mistake for people. Personally, I wouldn’t dream of putting a candle anywhere near fabric—it’s just ingrained in me from so many decades of having them as my only source of light.
A few other things about candles:
- Don’t use scented candles unless you are sure that it’s a natural scent, not a chemical scent. With a chemical scent, you are simple creating nice-smelling air pollution in your home. Sadly, a manufacturer can say “all natural” when it’s really all chemical. There is no legal definition of the word “natural,” so buyer beware. I only use unscented candles. (There is a legal definition of “organic,” so that’s a word you can trust if you see it as an ingredient.)
- Don’t put a candle on display in a room in a place where it could not be safely lit. That’s common sense if anything ever was!
- Watch out for soot-producing candles. If a wick is flickering, it’s either too breezy in its location, and you need a hurricane shade, or the wick is too long and should be trimmed. Candles in tall glass jars (such as many “religious” candles) are almost guaranteed to produce soot. The technical name for these candles is “filled candles.”
- Pillar candles usually need to have the excess wax trimmed off, so the wick remains visible. This is best done while the wax is still warm from burning. What I’ve found is that instead of trimming a pillar candle, I can bend the soft wax toward the center and avoid having the wick be too low. This makes the candles burn a lot longer because they burn all their wax.
- Votive candles (different from tea candles, which are shorter) can break their glass holder if the candle is put out and then relit later. The way a votive glass is meant to work safely is for the candles to burn all the way down to nothing in one go. The glass holder heats slowly and evenly and won’t crack or break. If a votive is relit, it won’t have heated the glass slowly enough by the time it gets to the bottom, and SNAP—there’s that sound of a votive holder cracking.
As far as placement in your home from a feng shui standpoint, candles are best anywhere you would add the fire element—your fame and reputation area, especially.