Earlier this year I was asked to write more on how I use Epiphany water and blessed candles. This year, on Epiphany, we were able to have quite a few jars of water blessed, as well as salt and chalk. The chalk sort of collects around the house after it’s used to bless the doorways of our homes. I’ve heard that people would mix the ground chalk into tinctures to make them more healing – but I’ve never been sick enough to try it.
We do use Epiphany water and salt regularly though. I bake with the blessed salt and give it to sick animals. I’ve also used it in soap-making and will sprinkle it any place that feels off in the house.
Epiphany water also has a variety of uses. Both the water and the salt have special and specific exorcism prayers attached to them. I keep a jar of water near the bathtub and splash some in when I’m heating a bath for anyone in the family. I also pour a bit of epiphany water into my washing water when I’m scrubbing the floor or the walls of our little house.
A tiny house with two wood stoves can create a lot of dust and dirt. In the spring, when the big, black stove finally has a chance to rest during the day, I like to clean the walls behind the woodpile and stove extra-well. I use hot water and murphy’s oil soap or liquid castile soap. Adding Epiphany water to the mix just means that my little house is getting a spiritual scrub-down along with the physical.
While I’m washing, I like to listen to chant and burn incense, but too often I end up listening to big dogs playing or children singing. The background details don’t matter as much as the practice of washing with holy water and watching the grim of the past year melt away.
On Candlemas we had a few small pillars blessed, but most of our blessed candles have come to us as gifts from local priests. Blessed church candles are a joy to have at home because they give the whole house a soft, sanctuary scent.
We don’t save our blessed candles in anticipation of any future darkness. They come and go like all our holy things. I like to have them burning around me for the the little dangers that each day offers. They make the icons glow and light my hands as I make coffee in the early morning.
It’s such a joyful opportunity to have sacramentals be small and quotidian. Little, casual acts of faith in the midst of the mundane raise us all up into something greater. “For the creator there is no poverty,” as Rilke writes; and simple, quotidian sacramentals bring us closer to the place where the Creator makes all things new.