Dangerous Compassions

burying the significant wax


Ming and I did a ritual burying the significant wax.  The wax was from a candle I called the friendship candle.


One year I was very sad and hopeless.  Then this penpal I adore in the Pacific Northwest sent me a box of presents for my birthday.  It included lavender scented soap, lavender scented body butter, grape jam they canned themselves, a blue-gray star ornament they crocheted, maybe quinoa they grew in their garden, and a candle they made.

The birthday mail was pure care.  It included all these ways to be good to myself, with soothing herb smells and so much nurturing.  The birthday mail made me feel like I was going to be ok.  Love can arrive when I least expect it.  Kind people are in this world, and I’m not alone.  It helped me feel like I could keep living.

friendship candle

I burned the candle when I needed the light of friendship, and I used it as the candle in a few important rituals.  A love ritual with Ming, a forgiveness ritual.  I called it the friendship candle.

One day, the candle burned all the way down.  I was sorry to see it go.  But some wax was clinging to the side of the candleholder.  I took the wax and put it on my desk.

I wondered what to do with the wax.  It represented friendship and connection, that even when it seems like we’re alone, we’re held in flickering love.

It made sense to me to send a hunk of the wax to a friend elsewhere who I wanted to be connected to all my life.  Somehow it made sense to me, to mail part of the wax to him and ask him to bury it on his land.  I thought he really loved this land and would live on it all his life, and I hoped to visit him there one day.  It seemed a cool way to stay connected to my friend long term in a family way.


So I mailed the wax to my friend.  I sent him a ton of mail, so it was not too strange to send the wax.  I requested that he bury it on his land, or else he could throw it in the ocean, keep it on his altar, or whatever seemed right to him.  The ocean near him was the Atlantic, which I have never touched and would like to learn about first hand someday.

This wax sending was some powerful magic.  My friend said he understood and agreed.  I had complete confidence that this person was very good for me and someone I wanted to spend my life connected to.  He never told me what he did with the wax, and I trusted that he would do with it what made sense to him.

friendship weakness

If every two person friendship has two Achilles heels, one weakness for each friend, mine is almost always that I care too much.  I’m feeling my feelings at an 8 out of 10, and things mean a lot to me.  That can lead to me getting hurt easily and lack of balance, when most people are feeling at a 3 out of 10.  I’m INFJt–I connect deeply, and I’m the opposite of casual.  Being there for you means I want you to be there for me too.

But the friend I speak of, his Achilles heel of relationship is probably that he cares too little.  He definitely has feelings and can love in his own way.  But he’d just as well smoke weed, BBQ, make art, and go to karaoke on the beach.  The world is full of pleasures, and for the most part, he doesn’t need any one person.  He has a parade of friends, fans, relatives, homies, and acquaintances who will throw down for him.  He’s charming and seems full of potential.

Things fell apart last year when he came to visit me.  Well, they had already fallen apart.  But for whatever reason, the stars aligned and he paid us a visit, flying here on a plane.  We were trying out being family in person.  I took this very seriously, as I am wont to do.  And I was very hurt in the process.

burying the significant wax

Moving means leaving a home where many things happened, good and bad.  This is the house I lived in when my mom died.  She never visited this house.  But I talked to her from this house, loved her from this house, grieved her, lay in bed staring out the window for hours after I got the news of her death.  Losing this house as a place to live means losing her again, as I lose her over and over in so many ways.

I was cleaning out my favorite desk drawer, where I kept my pens and sharpies, among other things.  And I found the main hunk of wax from the friendship candle.

“Wow, what should I do with this?” I wondered.

I held the wax in my hand.  It felt weird–heavy, slightly soft.  It was ridged from the rivulets of wax that had dripped and solidified.

I searched my feelings.  Made sense intuitively, burying the significant wax.  I wanted to leave it here in the earth, leave also these seven years of my life, and my love for the man who seemed to want to be family with me and Ming, but who hurt me badly and caused way too much harm.


I told Ming my plan, and we made a ritual out of burying the significant wax.  We decided where in the courtyard, and Ming dug the hole.  I wanted the hole deeper.  He hit rock–maybe caliche?–and we decided that was a good depth.

We held each other, as Ming held the shovel, and I prayed quietly into his shoulder.

“Dear Mother God, thank you for our blessings.  Thank you for our seven years here, and all that we’ve done here.  Today we bury this wax, and I leave part of myself here at Bartlett.  I leave here my love for the man who had another part of this wax.  All the things that happened here were real, and they matter.  But thank you for blessing us as we move away to another part of our lives, without the wax.  Some parts of us will always be with us, but some parts we leave here.  Thank you for hearing this prayer and for helping us stay strong to do the work of love and let go of everything we need to let go of.”

Then we kissed, and Ming filled in the hole.  Does that even count as a ritual?  I think so because the wax doesn’t matter in and of itself.  It’s a multi-symbolic physical object, and the motion of burying it and leaving it here is symbolic also.

The prayer was simple and quick, but an easy ritual can be nice because it actually happens.  No need to wait for a certain opportunity or mood.

It’s time to go–let’s do the thing, saying goodbye.  Shedding what needs shedding.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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