The variously-named February cross-quarter festival draws near, and in covensteads all over Witchdom they're polishing up the candle-crowns.
Often called a Lucia Crown, from its association with the Swedish pre-Yule feast of St. Lucy, the candle-crown would seem to have its origins in the late Medieval period. At least one Byzantine emperor is said to have worn one during audiences. One guesses that the crown's haloing effect was not lost on envoys.
We next find the crown of lights in early modern (16th-17th century) Germany, where it is worn by the Christkindl. Protestant Reformers eager to dethrone the gift-giving St. Nicholas from his December 6 feast and the hearts of children, replaced him with a Christ Child figure who brought gifts on Christmas Eve. (The custom of Yule gifts goes back no further than this.) In folklore, the Christkindl became a fairy-like character, generally personified in real life by a young girl. Early illustrations often show her dressed in white, wearing a crown of candles, distributing gifts to children.
Since it's All Saint's Day, I thought I'd introduce you to one of my favorite saints--and the inspiration behind our Nurturer - Energy (aka Queen of Wands) card from our Snowland Deck. This is an excerpt from the Snowland Intuitive Workbook, which includes information about her legend, associated symbols (especially eyes), keywords, intuitive questions for journaling, wring prompts, affirmations and a "secret":
Description: Also known as Saint Lucy, Lucia stands at the center of several official stories and unofficial histories. Most of these say that Lucia was set to be wed in an arranged marriage, but because she didn’t want to, her eyes were gouged out— either by her own hand, or by others in torture. In all cases, her eyes were miraculously healed. Thus, Lucia is associated with healing and averting all eye disease. In fact, it’s reported that the poet Dante Alighieri credited Saint Lucy with healing his eyes that were damaged after crying when his beloved Beatrice died (Lucy appears in his masterpiece Inferno).