This is likely one of my more esoteric posts, but ghee candles, oil lamps, or butter lamps, however you want to refer to them, have become of the more meaningful parts of my alter and morning meditation practice. The way I make these ghee candles is a little different than the traditional way which is a small brass dish with a cotton wick and ghee placed inside to burn all day. They work either way, I chose a wooden wick for these because at the Indian store I shop at they didn't have cotton wicks quite long enough for the containers I have. But just know you can build your candle either way in a shallow dish with a cotton wick, or in a container with a longer wooden wick.
These little candles are common in both Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist temples, where you're likely to see a lot of them, lit by different people, burning for different reasons and while the meaning and reason you may choose to burn a ghee candle in your house may be unique and private to your life, your practice, and your ideology there is a generally accepted view of these candles as representing illumination, enlightenment, and personal awakening.
I like this definition from Ayurveda Sedona, "The light emanating from the ghee lamp removes darkness, ignorance and evil. The light or knowledge shows us the way out of our problems, fears, tensions, and unhappiness. The light of a ghee lamp is believed to bring in prosperity, as knowledge or wisdom is the greatest form of wealth."
Ghee at room temperature is usually a mix of liquid and solid, the picture above shows some ghee that's been sitting in the fridge, which takes on the texture of shea butter when its cold. The texture will soften significantly as it burns.
Here's what you'll need:
- 3/4 cup of ghee
- 2 wooden wicks or cotton wicks
- 2 small containers for ghee
- 1 teaspoon of beeswax - optional but it helps it to stay more solid at room temperature
- 1 small jar of attar - optional (ittar or attar are oils commonly used for meditation, applied to the temples and/or the third eye)
- Note: Most of these supplies can be easiest to find at an Indian food store.
- Melt your beeswax and ghee in a heat proof container on the stovetop, until the beeswax is melted completely.
- Stir lightly and add in ittar,
- Dip cotton or wooden wick entirely in oil, and add into candle
- Set aside to cool for 1-2 hours
- Light for morning meditations or daily intentions
- It's traditional to leave your candles burning all day, but obviously, this is at your own discretion.