ARE TANGIBLE GOODS
At Missionary Independent Spiritual Church we provide tangible goods. Our candle setting service is not "virtual" nor is it "intangible." The service we provide consists of many forms of work, from labelling, dressing, and praying over candles, to reading the results of its burn.
HOW WE PREPARE, FIX, LIGHT, AND READ CANDLES FOR YOU
There are five steps in the work of a candle service.
1. CREATING INVOICES AND PETITIONS
When our Pastors receive your order and payment -- whether in person, by postal mail or via our online shopping cart -- our first step is to create a numbered invoice in your client record and prepare printed paper petition(s) to be affixed to a glass-encased candle or a run of several candles in your name. We use large candles called vigil lights that typically burn for many days. If you have provided photographs -- in person, via postal mail, or as an attachment to an email -- we will print out a colour copy of a size appropriate to fit the candle and cut it out. The petition page contains many copies of the petition, in case you have ordered a run. The Pastor will cross out the petitions that are not to be used, leaving only 1, 3, 7, or 13 petitions, according to the number of candles you have ordered of each title. If you have ordered a run or sequential setting of candles -- say, 7 candles of the same title, to be lit at one-week intervals for 7 weeks -- the unused petitions will be marked with red dots, to remind us that this is a run and to return to it in order to set more lights by checking the dates stated on the invoice.
2. LABELLING THE CANDLE
After the invoice and petition-paper are printed for your order, one of our Candle Deacons will label plain glass candle(s) for you, unless you have requested that we burn unlabelled vigil lights at your candle service. The Deacons label an entire service setting of candles at one time, for you and all the other clients whose orders were placed on the same day. Once the label is on the candle, the Deacon will affix to it your petition and any photographs you have provided.
3. DRESSING AND BLESSING THE CANDLE
Next, a Deacon or Pastor will dress your candle, along with the others included in that day's orders. In dressing your candle -- also called fixing or preparing your vigil light -- holes will be made in the candle wax, and a scented oil will be drizzled in. There are nine blended formulas of scented oil used in the church, for conditions such as love, prosperity, healing, protection, and more. Once the fragrant oils have been added, herbs will be sprinkled onto the candle surface. There are nine blended herbal mixtures that correspond with the nine scented oils. As with the oils, these candle herb mixes have symbolic correspondences to the conditions for which the candles are set. Next, a dusting of glitter will sprinkled on the surface of the herbs. This is used to give off a reflective surface as the candle burns and to provide visual markings for the Candle Reader. While preparing your candle, the Deacon will look over your petition and bless or pray over the candle on your behalf. The candle will then be spiritually sealed or "knocked" (raised and lowered to the candle dressing station with an audible sound as if knocking on a door) to mark the close of the ceremony of preparation. If you would like to learn more about which herbs are used for which conditions in spiritual practices of this kind, you will find a great deal about the history of this work in the African American community by reading "Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic, A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure" by catherine yronwode.
4. SETTING THE LIGHT
The following morning, at our regular candle service, a Pastor or Deacon will light your candle with a second prayer on your behalf. It will be placed on one of our altars, where it will burn continually. This is called setting the light. We will tend to each candle 3 to 5 times per day to be sure it is burning properly, relighting it if necessary. The process of burning a glass-encased vigil candle takes from 5 to 7 days, but if frequent relightings are necessary, another day or two may be added to the burn time. Please do not call us and ask about the progress of your candle(s) during this time. We set and light 40-50 candles per day and have as many as 200 to 250 candles on our altars at any given time. They are hot, there are flames, and we cannot reach over and around the altars to see which of the many candles of the same type is yours or to report to you the condition of an in-progress candle. However, if you live in the area and wish to see your candle burning, our church is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm every day of the week and you are more than welcome to attend upon your own candle(s).
5. THE CANDLE READING
After your vigil light has finished burning, it will be pulled off of the altar at our next available morning service. It will be placed in a box of candles with similar invoice dates and physically carried down to our Reading Room. There a Candle Reader, one of our trained ministers, will examine the empty candle-glass and prepare a brief written report describing the visual appearance of the candle-glass after the wax had finished burning. Employing traditional symbolic meanings associated with the visual appearance of the glass (e.g. clear, smokey, sooty, patterns of glitter, etc.), the Candle Reader will provide you with a spiritual interpretation of the candle's burn, according to an old folkloric method called cero-capnomancy (wax and smoke reading). This written report can be emailed or postally mailed to you, as you prefer -- or, by previous arrangement, you may ask us to hold your candle-glasses for personal pick-up at the church, with or without a written report. If you would like to learn more about how candles are read, you can find a great deal about the history of cero-capnomancy in the African American spiritual community by reading "The Art of Hoodoo Candle Magic in Rootwork, Conjure, and Spiritual Church Services" by catherine yronwode.
THE TANGIBLE RESULTS OF OUR WORK FOR YOU
At the conclusion of our service, three tangible items remain. These are:
1. THE PRINTED PAPERWORK IS AVAILABLE
The printed paperwork that remains after a candle service consists of the printed invoice to which is stapled an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper on which your name and invoice number appear in a rectangle at the upper left and your petition, desires, or prayers (as stated in the order) are repeated 13 times in rectangular boxes numbered 1 through 13, one instance having been cut out and affixed to a candle for each candle lit. If a single candle was ordered, rectangle #1 containing your petition will have been cut off the paper and will be found affixed to the burned candle. If a run of three candles was ordered, we will return to your invoice after 7 days and cut off the second copy of the petition. Then a second candle will be labelled, dressed, and blessed for you, lit, tended, removed from the altar, and read. After a run of three candles, three petitions (numbered #1, #2, and #3) will have been cut off and affixed to their respective candles; likewise, after a run of 7 or 13 candles, all 7 or 13 petitions will have been cut off the petition paper, which will remain stapled to your original invoice. When your single candle or run of candles is completely finished and every candle that you ordered has been read, the order is closed. The original invoices, with their cut petition papers, are filed in date-order in banker's boxes and kept as a record for three months as proof of service in case a payment dispute is initiated by a client. At the end of 3 months the papers are shredded and re-used as packing material, but digital copies of the original invoice and petition remain on file in our computer database archive.
2. THE FINISHED CANDLE-GLASS IS AVAILABLE
After your candle has been read, there will be a burned-out candle-glass with a petition (and possibly a photo) affixed to it. If you do not call for or claim these items in person or arrange for shipping to you of the spent candle-glasses with their affixed petitions, we will recycle the glass from the spent candle at our premises. We do this on a weekly basis. Recycling pick-up is on Monday morning. If, by prior arrangement, you wish to take possession of the burned-out candle-glass, we will gladly accommodate your wishes. We maintain boxes of burned-out candle-glasses for clients to physically pick up at our premises rather than have recycled. You will be provided with a box that will hold up to 12 candle-glasses and may inspect them in person and take them home. Furthermore, if you are willing to pay the postage, we will mail the empty candle-glasses to you for your own inspection. The fact that most of our clients do not wish to pay for empty candle-glasses to be mailed to them does not mean that the goods are intangible. We will gladly supply a digital photograph via email to the client if it is requested at the time of ordering and before the candle is placed in the recycling bin. We will not dig through the recycling bin to locate spent candle-glasses awaiting weekly pick-up.
3. THE CANDLE-READER'S REPORT IS AVAILABLE
The Candle Reader's report and interpretation on the traditional symbolism of the visual appearance of the candle-glass is available to you via postal mail or email at the conclusion of your service. Most of our clients prefer receipt of candle reports via email and we will send reports via email if no request is made for postal delivery. This does not mean that email delivery is the only way that reports are sent. Many clients place their orders in person or via postal mail, pay with cash or money orders, and receive postally mailed candle reports or come by in person to receive printed paper reports. A digital report is not intangible -- it can be printed out by the recipient.
OUR HISTORY OF SERVICE TO THE CLIENTS OF OUR CHURCH
Our service of setting lights for clients has been ongoing since 2001 and predates the current building of our physical church, which was dedicated in 2006 and opened to the public in 2007. Our Manual of Church Services was first published in 2007 and since 2013 it has been included in the book "The Art of Hoodoo Candle Magic in Rootwork, Conjure, and Spiritual Church Services" by catherine yronwode.
As of the year 2016 our Candle Ministry has grown to the extent that we now prepare, set, and light 40-50 candles per day, our Pastors and Candle Deacons tend to as many as 200 to 250 vigil lights on our altars daily, and our Candle Readers report on 40-50 candles per day. The candle services department of our church requires the attendance of 3 full-time employees.
We appreciate your confidence and trust in us, and we always attempt to do our best for you with love, dedication, and prayerful hearts.
If you wish to order a candle service from our church, please see a list of available candles at Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: Candle Services
If you wish to have prepared candles shipped to you for YOU to burn, please see prices at Lucky Mojo Catalogue: Magical and Religious Candles
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