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The First Woman's Church

And The InnerCircle Church of Graduate Christians

Candle Lighting Ceremony at First Woman's Churches

So what is this fire in our circle?  It is the most unique ritual which, if there are other Woman=s Churches, would give us distinction.  At least until others join in our vision to have candle lighting services everywhere in the world.  Women could be deeply blessed by such a ritual, especially if it were as plentiful as other American rituals in the world, such as chain hotels, chain stores, fast food chains, telecommunication systems, television and radio broadcasts, popular foot wear, soccer, basketball, football and baseball heroes and heroines, and so forth.  A simple ritual where we can be reminded that womanhood is sacred, holy and divine all the time.    It is a personalized ritual which makes us unique in our worship of the Goddess.  This Candle Lighting ritual honors the four phases of our womanhood.  It is designed to restore the sacredness, the beauty, and the commonality of ourselves as sisters by observing the affirmations of each candle and its symbolic nature of one of the four phases of womanhood.  It's elemental to Woman's Church.  This book is about that ritual...


The Candle Lighting Ritual To Honor the Four Phases of Womanhood As Celebrated at The FIRST Woman's Church in the City of the Angels 


Purpose:  to honor the four phases of womanhood passing through the cycles of virginity, menses, menopause and fertility.


When evidence of the FIRST Woman was discovered on the continent of Africa, in jest, "they" named her Lucy.  What they didn't know was the power contained within that name.  Lucy is a derivative of Lucina, one of the many names of the Goddess Juno.  When worshiped ( meaning to pay attention) as Juno Lucina, her qualities as the Mother of the Light come forth.  In this vibration, she rules the sun, moon and stars and also gives  " ... newborn creatures the "light" of their vision.  Her festival of lights at the winter solstice became the Christian feast of Saint Lucy, still celebrated in Sweden ... (as a) maiden wearing a crown of candles." ("Candles" from The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects by Barbara Walker, published by Harper San Francisco.)


The Candle Lighting Ritual at FIRST Woman's Church honors this FIRST Woman by changing the "light" of our vision from outdated mythology about the four phases of womanhood.  In the lighting of these candles we not only continue the winter solstice feast of Saint Lucy appropriates as the birth of the Sun comes over the horizon, we also acknowledge and recognize the transformative power of her candle light on a daily, weekly, monthly and life time basis.  In other words, we recognize and honor these four phases or cycles passing through our lives daily, weekly, monthly, annually and in our life time as the four seasons of summer, fall, winter and spring. 


"In Egyptian hieroglyphics, fire is related to the solar-symbolism of the flame and associated in particular with the concepts of life and health (deriving from the idea of body-heat) ... alchemists retain ... that it is the agent of transmutation, since all things derive from and return to, fire." ("fire" from The Dictionary of Symbols by Cirlot, published by the Philosophical Library, New York.)


The fire we use to light the candles is intentionally used to ignite new ideas about our four phases of womanhood that have to do with old and new "concepts of life and health deriving from the idea of body heat."  In the searing sound of the fire igniting the candle is a feeling and sense of transmutation, burning out that which no longer serves a useful purpose and burning in that which we choose as its replacement.  For example, burning up the idea that a woman loses her virginity when she has intercourse with a man ... and burning in the idea that there is with every woman a holy, sacred, divine space where the eternal virgin forever lives, moves and has her being.


"Fire/Flame - transformation; purification; the life giving and generative power of the sun; renewal of life; impregnation; power; strength; energy; the unseen energy in existence; sexual power; defense; protection; visibility; destruction; fusion; passion; immolation; change or passage from one state to another; the medium for conveying messages or offerings heavenward.  Fire manifested as flame symbolizes spiritual power and forces, transcendence and illumination, and is a manifestation of divinity or of the soul, the breath of life; it is also inspiration and enlightenment." ("Fire" from An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols by J. C. Cooper published by Thames and Hudson, Ltd, London)



That=s a mouthful if read as a single idea.  But take another look at the same message in smaller, bite size pieces:


Fire and Flame

·         Transformation

*                  purification

*                  the life giving and generative power of the sun


  • Fire and Flame:

*                  renewal of life

*                  impregnation

*                  power

*                  strength

*                  energy

*                  the unseen energy in existence



  • Fire and Flame:

*                  sexual power

*                  defense

*                  protection

*                  visibility

*                  destruction


  • Fire and flame:

*                  fusion

*                  passion

*                  immolation

*                  change or change or passage from one state to another;

*                  the medium for conveying messages or offerings heavenward. 


  • Fire and flame:

*                  transcendence and illumination

*                  a manifestation of divinity

*                  a manifestation of the soul

*                  the breath of life

*                  inspiration and enlightenment.


Fire:   manifested as flame symbolizes spiritual power and forces,



These thoughts and ideas about fire are all incorporated and applicable in the candle lighting ritual.  Every act and every word in this ritual is intended to cause transformation,  serve as a ritual of purification, be a life giving experience, explode with the generative power of the sun, renew life, impregnate the mind and heart, express power, strength and energy ... etc, etc, and so forth. 


At  FIRST Woman's Church we have created our own ritual to celebrate womanhood.  It is designed to sanctify, make sacred and exalt a woman's spiritual, psychological, emotional and bodily functions . . . and her cycles.  Why?  If every woman observed her bodily functions as sacred and holy, we would all be experiencing greater mental, emotional and physical health and well being because we would be alive in a vessel thought of as sacred and holy. 


As above, so below.  As within so without.  One can not be an impure vessel with a pure heart.  We have come here as spiritual beings learning how to be humans being.  As we work on spiritualizing the physical so are we working on materializing the spiritual.


As contemporary women, sometimes we know more about the workings of our computers, favorite sports team, Wall Street and automobiles than we know about the workings of our own bodies. 


When our bodily functions are viewed as sacred and holy we pay attention to and have reverence for the way our body responds to our thoughts, the food we ingest and our emotions. 


When we pay attention to our body we notice how our heart and lungs work together.  We notice the way our liver is affected by toxins in our food.  We notice the way drinking clean water improves the performance of the body.  We notice how a heavy diet of dairy products, fried foods and meat excite fibroid tumors. 


Women who honor the messages of the body honor the messages of the earth and her cycles.  Women who understand their relationship to the whole can understand their relationship to any part of the whole and vice versa. These women will not try to grow bananas in New York in the winter ... will not try to make the pancreas act like the heart ... will not dump toxic waste into her mouth, or her children's mouths, or into the mouth of the earth ... because to these women, the wisdom in the body is sacred ... and its cycles are sacred.


There was a time in Life when all people honored the body ... then we forgot.  In Woman's Spirituality we remind ourselves of this ancient wisdom by lighting candles and speaking from the heart center the messages that are given us at that moment.  The Candle Lighting Ceremony is designed to empower the four phases of womanhood. 


Through the weekly lighting of a white, red, black, and green candle, we practice honoring at least four of our womanly cycles as represented by the cycles of virginity, menstruation, menopause and fertility.  In these phases, there is no "first" or "last" cycle, rather they are the continuation link in the cyclic circle which has no beginning and end  However, since we must start somewhere, we start at "A"  beginning with the white candle symbolic of the virgin and we end with the green candle symbolic of fertility pregnancy and manifestation.


Over the years, the candle lighting ritual has evolved to include a 5th  candle and 6th candle.  Both will be discussed as part of this material, but the candles elemental to this ritual are four in number and originally selected to represent the four phases of womanhood.



Facilitating a Candle Lighting Ceremony


In The FIRST Woman's Church services, the lighting of the candles is a ritual involving the community of the gathered women.  Women are invited to use this opportunity to write their own myths about these four phases - to make a statement of their own truth about these four phases - to change the formula of the mother's milk regarding these four phases.  We do this by having a Woman's Church Minister or member of the Spiritual Leadership Team first introduce the ritual and the meaning of each candle.  Then women in the congregation respond by coming forth to light the candles and speak their words of power.  


In every service conducted at a Woman's Church, the candle lighting ritual is thoroughly introduced.  It is important to keep the group's understanding of what they are doing as clear as the ritual itself.  It is important that the participants always know why we are doing what we do.  Tradition, or ritual, without understanding turns people into sheep and blind followers; it is not empowering.  Woman's Church is dedicated to the empowerment of women and therefore must keep the meaning and purpose of ritual on the minds and hearts of its members.  However, there must also be room for creativity from the respondents who participate in the ceremony.